Indy Antique Advertising Show

March 15th, 2013

Ron and Bridget Fugate of Middletown, Ohio, who are retiring from the antiques business, were setting up at their last Indy Antique Advertising Show. The painted wood Burma Shave sign behind them was tagged $150, while the embossed metal Professional Barbers Association sign cost $195.

Pepsi-Cola and Hires double soda fountain cooler in aluminum, $1100 from Rick and Jay Davis of Ugly Rick’s, Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Homemade wooden locomotive with metal bands, about 29" long, $3000 from Richard C. Norton of Noblesville, Indiana. It was an attic find from Anderson, Indiana, and acquired two weeks before the show.

William Morford of Cazenovia, New York, asked $24,000 for the porcelain-over-steel Spalding flange sign and $9000 for the Buster Brown Shoes flange sign.

Indianapolis, Indiana

The old saying is true. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure—at least during the Indy Antique Advertising Show, held March 15 and 16 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dealers Mike and Anita Brown of Shoeless Mike Antiques and Estate Revivals, Crestwood, Kentucky, offered several anatomical charts that had been destined for a Kentucky landfill. Three large roll-down canvas panels showing nearly life-size human figures filled the back wall of their booth. From the Denoyer-Geppert Anatomy Series and dated 1917, the educational artwork depicted organ, skeletal, and muscular systems. Priced at $395 each, they had been rescued from a dumpster at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, according to Mike Brown.

The anatomical charts are one example of the variety of merchandise available at this show. The spring edition featured items as diverse as crime scene photographs and Dr. Seuss model kits. Pat and Judy Holohan of Kankakee, Illinois, had a booth specializing in firefighting equipment, and Mark L. Bennett of Roscoe, Pennsylvania, displayed coin-operated machines, including an 1893 Investor trade stimulator tagged at $10,000.

Advertising continued to get top billing at the event. Among the best items on the floor was a porcelain-over-steel flange sign for Spalding athletic goods, having a baseball design. William Morford of Cazenovia, New York, priced it at $24,000.

Bruce Weir, who runs the show with his wife, Donna, said 93 dealers from 23 states set up at the show, including seven first-time dealers, compared to about 100 dealers in March 2012.

It continues to be a changing marketplace. Several dealers who have long been staples at the show were conspicuous by their absence. Soon to join the ranks of the missing were retiring dealers Ron and Bridget Fugate of Middletown, Ohio, who for decades have offered a varied mix of affordable smalls.

The one constant at the show continues to be quality, whether the item is a tobacco tin or a soda thermometer. Price also continues to play a significant role, not only in determining what’s likely to sell, but influencing when the customers come through the doors.

The Weirs have adjusted the price of the early-buying privileges they initiated last year. Buyers willing to pay a premium can still get onto the floor to shop on Friday, but now at a lower cost—$25 for advanced tickets and $40 at the door, compared to $40 and $50, respectively, at recent shows.

Weir said he was pleased with the merchandise available. “The guys stepped it up, and there’s some really killer stuff.” Attendance was up from the March 2012 installment. “I’m very pleased with the crowd,” he said well into the Saturday session.

The Indy Antique Advertising Show returns to the fairgrounds on September 27 and 28. For more information, phone (217) 821-1294 or visit (

Matted and framed 1903 advertising calendar for McCormick farm equipment, lithographed paper, $800 from Terry Hankins of Fountaintown, Indiana.

The 1917 Denoyer-Geppert Anatomy Series medical posters, lithograph on canvas pull-down rolls, about 6' x 3', were $395 each from Mike and Anita Brown of Shoeless Mike Antiques and Estate Revivals, Crestwood, Kentucky. The classroom charts had been rescued from a college dumpster.

Try Moses’ Celebrated Cough Drops, the lithographed tin containers by Comer Bros., 1888-95, $2000 the set from the personal collection of Sandy Rosnick of Manchester, Massachusetts. It took Rosnick 20 years to find all four sizes.

From left: brass Safety fire extinguisher, $295; hand-painted EGFD chaplain’s fire helmet, department unknown, $395; and brass Queen fire extinguisher, $295—all from Pat and Judy Holohan of Kankakee, Illinois.

Originally published in the June 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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