Antiques & Collectibles: Calendars & Paper Advertising

Daryle Lambert’s 31 Club:  

Antique & Collectible Treasure Hunter’s

Example of Maxfield Parrish’s Work

Sometimes we try too hard searching for antique and collectible vintage treasures when they might actually be right under our noses. At sales I attend, I watch people running to and fro, their eyes focused only on the pieces prominently exhibited to draw attention. The truth is, the items displayed in the most prominent places are the ones most likely to be overpriced. I have found more treasures tucked away in closets or left in the basement than I can shake a stick at.

$25,000 Worth of Collectible Paper Items Found in Dumpster After the Sale.

At a house or estate sale, very few of the buyers go searching for paper items. Usually, paper items are found in boxes or spread on the floor of the basement or garage. Often, this is where I’ll spend most time at a sale. Remember the dumpster diving story where I found $25,000 worth of paper items in a dumpster after everything in the house had been picked over? Among the valuable items I pulled out of the dumpster, after having been given permission to do so, were Winchester Rifle and Ammunition Posters. Right there in the dumpster!

If you know what’s a valuable paper collectible, you can cash in while others are fighting for overpriced items.

I found a Maxfield Parrish Calendar priced at $350 at a house sale. The owners agreed to sell it to me for $250, and even back then, I was able to sell it for over $1,500. Maxfield Parrish was a popular illustrator from the early 1900’s, during the Golden Age of Illustration. This period of time is noted as having excellence in book and magazine illustration, and Parrish was tops. Parrish had been a student of Howard Pyle, along with other top illustrators of the day; N.C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover and Edwin Austin Abbey.

Parrish was commissioned to do work for popular magazines in the 1910’s and 1920’s such as “Life” and Heart’s Collier’s. His illustrations were made into posters and calendars, so it’s wise to become familiar with his work. Do a little research and capture his style in your mind, so when you see something that looks like one of his works, you’ll know to check it out.

Many of Parrish’s original prints, calendars and posters can still be found for very little money, in mint condition, and in their original shipping tubes, if the seller hasn’t taken the time to look into the tubes. They often don’t. Kovel’s Price Guide lists several Maxfield Parrish Calendars, some approaching $5,000.

The Right Advertising Calendars Can Be Valuable. Know What to Look For

Other types of Calendars are also quite valuable, and they don’t have to be large for you to return a fantastic profit. Small calendars with the right advertising can fetch over $2,500, even if they are as small as 4×8 inches, as did the Coca Cola calendar I found many years ago.

As a general rule, the most valuable pieces are dated before 1950, but there are exceptions. A Dr. Pepper piece from 1953 is listed at $412, but in today’s market I truly believe it can command a higher price. Age alone shouldn’t be the basis for valuing these items. There are many other calendars out there from the 1800’s still selling for under $100.

Sporting Calendars and Hunting Calendars are advertising pieces also highly sought after. Examples of these are hunting equipment calendars with guns and dogs in the scene, fishing equipment calendars or prints of fishing scenes will help fatten your wallet. Calendars with pictures by well known artists, like Parrish, will command top prices. Many of these will be from the 1920’s – 1950’s.

Soft Drink or Soap Calendars with beautiful graphics are a cinch to bring big bucks. So can Calendars advertising Ice Cream Shops or Drug Stores, Men’s Clothing Stores or Women’s Dress Shops. When I’m looking through boxes or closets, I’m looking for big dollars, while to most others, it appears I’m wasting my time.

Our 31 Club Member, Cecil, taught me the value of paper collectibles when he showed me Travel Posters worth up to $5,000. These, along with a Maxfield Parrish Calendar, were practically given to him. Thank you Cecil. I have now passed your knowledge on to others so it will help them, as you helped me.

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31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles