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Vivid World War II posters stir up deep emotions 70 years later

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Written by CLIFF RADEL, The Cincinnati Enquirer   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 09:11
Dec. 7, 1941, was the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, plunging the United States into World War II. The Office of War Information issued this poster in 1942. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. CINCINNATI (AP) – The war has long been over. GIs who fought it are a vanishing breed.

Somehow, 346 flimsy World War II propaganda posters that sat in a box for 66 years still look brand new.

“They've never seen the light of day,” said Vernon Rader. The posters from the 86-year-old retired Procter & Gamble art director's recently downsized collection are on display, for sale and up for auction at Humler & Nolan auction house in Cincinnati.

“These posters were folded before they left the printing plant, laid flat in a box and never displayed,” Rader added. “That's why their colors look so vivid.”

The word “vivid” also describes the posters' graphic images and messages. They contain:

Warnings about loose lips sinking ships. A sailor's lifeless body washes up on shore as a ship sinks on the horizon on a poster declaring: “a careless word . . . A NEEDLESS LOSS.”

Subtle sales pitches to buy war bonds. A Renoir-esque rendering of a farmer in a field of wheat near the words: “Our Good Earth . . . Keep It Ours, BUY WAR BONDS.”

Recycling hints. The mantra “use it up – wear it out – make it do'' headlines a scene of a woman patching a pair of pants.

Reminders of revenge. A huge fist shakes above “Avenge December 7” as the words loom over the outline of the battleship USS Arizona exploding at Pearl Harbor.

Demonic depictions of the enemy, which in today's sensitive light appear politically incorrect. Beneath the words, “Factory FIRES help the JAPS,” a burning plant sends up fiendish flames bearing a strong resemblance to the face of Japan's vile Prime Minister Hideki Tojo.

Scenes of war's aftermath. A sailor leans on his crutches to say: “Take it from me, brother – WE'VE STILL GOT A BIG JOB TO DO!” The sailor has but one leg.

“The government made these posters to be hung in public places,” Rader said. “I remember seeing them in post offices and barber shops and on factory bulletin boards in my little home town in North Carolina before I went off to war.”

Rader, of Mount Auburn, served during World War II in the Army's Transportation Corps. He saw action during “20 overseas crossings.” He made it back in one piece, enrolled in the University of Cincinnati's industrial design department and spent 40 years at P&G.

He came across the posters early in his career with the hometown industrial giant. A salesman, Rader recalled, came into his office and “noticed the stuff I had collected on my shelves.”

The salesman told the art director he knew someone “back East” with a huge collection of old World War II posters. Was he interested?

Rader was. A deal was struck. The posters, all 346 of them, arrived in one box. Rader initially offered to pay $30. But when he saw how much postage the guy had spent to ship the box, he wrote a check for $45.

“That was good money for those kind of posters in the early ’60s,” Rader said.

Today, these posters are garnering even better money.

“World War II posters in good shape can be priced from $200 to $3,000,” said Carol Leadenham, an archivist at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. The institution possesses 100,000 propaganda posters, the largest holding of its kind in the world.

“Finding these kind of posters in good condition is not common,” she said. “Finding this many posters in good condition is rare.”

Fifty years ago, when Rader bought 346 posters for $45, “not many people were collecting these old things,” Leadenham noted.

“Museums were throwing them out. They were printed on thin, cheap paper, a cut above newsprint. They weren't designed to last more than a month and then they were supposed to be thrown away, replaced by the next poster. Many institutions considered these works to be beneath them.”

One institution's trash, however, is the Hoover's treasure. “We've been holding onto paper ephemera since 1919,” Leadenham said.

Most of Rader's 346 posters were produced by the Office of War Information. All of them were printed between 1942 and 1945.

“The office commissioned many of the most famous commercial artists of the day,” Leadenham said. Names on the posters have lost much of their fame, except for Norman Rockwell.

“These posters were designed to have an effect on people,” Leadenham said, “to make them do something – Buy War Bonds! – or think bad thoughts about the enemy or remember our values.”

The Office of War Information placed its posters into five categories, the five Ns: The nature of our Allies. The nature of our enemy. The need to work. The need to sacrifice. The need to fight.

All five categories are represented in the holdings of the Hoover Institution and Rader's collection.

Both have Rockwell's famous Four Freedoms – “Freedom of Speech,” “Freedom of Worship,” “Freedom from Fear” and, the much-parodied Thanksgiving dinner table scene accompanying “Freedom from Want.” A set of four, original, 28-by-40-inch posters can be had on eBay for $3,000.

At Humler & Nolan's June 4 auction, other Rockwells are estimated to fetch as much as $1,800 each.

Examples from the Office of War Information's “This is the Enemy” series cross the line of political correctness.

One dark-toned and dark-themed “This is the Enemy” poster features a Nazi's hand clutching a dagger stabbing a Bible. Others feature Japanese soldiers “whose features make them look like bugs,” Leadenham said.

“You have to put these posters into context,” she added.

“This is not to say the images are nice. But you have to understand what was going on back then. We were at war. American troops were being tortured. And killed. These posters reflected emotions the country felt.”

Rader recalled the emotions the posters stirred in him.

“They got you worked up,” he said. “Those posters reminded you what we were fighting for. They made you want to buy war bonds.”

He paused.

“I wonder why we don't have posters like this today,” he said. “They might help us pay for those wars we are waging overseas.”


Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer,

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-ES-03-26-11 1704EDT



Dec. 7, 1941, was the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, plunging the United States into World War II. The Office of War Information issued this poster in 1942. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.v Anton Otto Fischer created this poster for the U.S. Office of War Information in 1943. It warned against the inadvertent disclosure of war-related information. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 16:22

Davenport, Iowa, was once cigar capital of the Midwest

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Written by ALMA GAUL, Quad-City Times   
Monday, 28 March 2011 11:32
Made in Germany, this chromolithographed cigar tip tray advertised the Markert Cigar Co. in Davenport, Iowa. It is 4 1/4 inches in diameter. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Cowan’s Auctions Inc. DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) – If you listed your occupation as “stripper” in the early 1900s, it didn't necessarily mean you peeled your clothes off for pay.

In Davenport anyway, it likely meant that you were employed by one of the city's various cigar manufacturers and that your job was to strip out the center stem from the big tobacco leaves and tear the leaf into smaller pieces that would then be used to roll cigars.

That's one of the interesting bits of information inveterate collector and Davenport history buff Merle Vastine has learned in gathering memorabilia related to the city's cigar industry.

A portion of his collection, including 90 cigar boxes, plus various box openers, lighters and trimmers, is on display now through May at the German American Heritage Center in Davenport.

At one time, Davenport was a cigar capital of the Midwest; at its high watermark in 1910, there were 34 manufacturers easily employing more than 1,000 people, Vastine said.

Cigars got their start here before the Civil War with entrepreneurs – mostly German immigrants – bringing tobacco in by rail in bales, boxes and barrels from southern Illinois, Wisconsin and Kentucky, he said.

Once here, the big leaves were torn into strips that were wrapped around other pieces of tobacco and placed moist into molds that were pressed and dried to give the cigar its uniform shape. The cigars were then packed into colorful boxes and shipped across the country.

The early boxes were wood, usually covered in paper with lithograph pictures along with the manufacturer's name. Among the pictures in Vastine's collection are one for WOC, the communications company, and another for the I&I, a trolley that ran between Clinton, Davenport and Muscatine, Iowa.

“Anything to personalize it,” Vastine explained.

By 1945, there were just two manufacturers left, and the last one, F.C. Gremmel Co. at 908 W. Second St., closed in 1961, he said.

“They couldn't compete with the big national cigar manufacturers,” Vastine said. Also, as cigarettes became more popular, demand for cigars decreased.

Two of the bigger manufacturers were the Ferd Haak Co., located in what is now Tri-City Equipment, a big redstone building at 527 W. Fourth St., and the Peter N. Jacobsen Cigar Co., located in a building at the southwest corner of Fourth and Harrison streets.

Another manufacturer whose building still stands was M. Raphael & Sons., now the site of Raphael's Emporium antiques, 628 Harrison St.

In addition to boxes, openers, lighters and trimmers, the display includes carriers, clippers, sample pipes (so you could test your tobacco before buying), ashtrays and advertising giveaways such as calendars and a ruler.

Vastine has been amassing his collection for years, buying mostly at flea markets and from other collectors who, knowing of his interest, give him a call when they find something.

At one point, Vastine sold his collection of boxes to the late Dan Nagle, who put them on display at Pioneer Village in Scott County Park, Long Grove, Iowa. “But I have a passion for it and I got into it again,” Vastine said.

He is a Davenport native who retired from the former Iowa-Illinois Gas & Electric Co. and now works part-time as an auction clerk – and as a collector, of course.


Information from: Quad-City Times,

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-03-25-11 2228EDT


2967 …

Made in Germany, this chromolithographed cigar tip tray advertised the Markert Cigar Co. in Davenport, Iowa. It is 4 1/4 inches in diameter. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Cowan’s Auctions Inc. The cigar box on the right is held Speckled Trout brand cigars made by Ferd Hack Co. in Davenport, Iowa. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Rich Penn Auctions.
Last Updated on Monday, 28 March 2011 11:54

Wisconsin family makes bumper crop of parts for antique tractors

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Written by MOLLY NEWMAN, Marshfield News-Herald   
Monday, 28 March 2011 10:29
Detwiler Tractor Parts supplies many John Deere parts including steel spoke wheels like those mounted on this Model A tractor. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Dennis Polk & Associates. MARSHFIELD, Wis. (AP) – Tom Detwiler turned his hobby into a career with his Spencer business, Detwiler Tractor Parts.

“We make new parts for old tractors,” he said. “These tractors are so old that a lot of the parts have not been available for many years.”

Detwiler started making and supplying parts to antique tractor restoration hobbyists in 1985. Now, with more than 400 parts available online and by catalog, Detwiler's son Robert has expanded the business to W9450 Apple Ave. in Medford. Tom still sells some parts at the original store, S3266 Highway 13, in Spencer.

The Detwilers specialize in John Deere tractors made before 1960. The style of the company's tractors changed in 1961 and all machinery used to make them was scrapped, Robert said.

As a result, the Detwilers must build their own equipment to produce old parts such as fenders and hoods themselves or have them made by local machine shops and foundries.

“You've got to start from scratch again – there's no original tooling left over from John Deere,” he said.

Detwiler is probably the only antique parts supplier that makes new steel spoked wheels, because it's an expensive process, Robert said.

“There's several salvage yards around the country that specialize in John Deere parts, but nobody goes after the new stuff like we do,” Robert said.

Detwiler focuses on the John Deere brand because the antique varieties often are rare and unusual, sometimes selling for more than $100,000. The company also still allows hobbyists to archive their historical tractors.

“There's a unique sound to them because they only have two cylinders (in the engine),'' Robert said.

Tom attends several tractor shows during the summer months to display the company's products.

“If you attend shows, the John Deere people seem to take a lot more pride in ownership and restoration of old farm equipment,” he said.


Information from: Marshfield News-Herald,

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-03-26-11 0101EDT


Detwiler Tractor Parts supplies many John Deere parts including steel spoke wheels like those mounted on this Model A tractor. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Dennis Polk & Associates.
Last Updated on Monday, 28 March 2011 11:18

Matchbooks spark Massachusetts man's love of collectibles

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Written by BRONISLAUS B. KUSH, The Telegram & Gazette   
Monday, 28 March 2011 09:24
Buick sponsored the radio broadcast of the Joe Lewis vs. Max Schmeling heavyweight championship boxing match on June 18, 1936. This matchbook promoting the fight sold at auction for $25 in 2005. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Clars Auction Gallery WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) – Paul Vigneault is not, and has never been, a smoker.

So, it would be logical to think there are not many, if any, matchbooks squirreled away in his kitchen drawer. Well, maybe one or two to fire up the barbecue grill for a couple of steaks or to light a candle during a blackout.

Not so.

Walk into his modest Cape-style home and you'll find them everywhere.

They hang in neatly framed displays on the walls of almost every room, and they meticulously sit in dust-free arrangements on pieces of furniture.

There are also about 5,000 of them jammed into large paper leaf collection bags in the basement.

“What can I say? I'm a collector,” the 65-year-old retiree said.

And matchbooks aren't the only things Vigneault collects. The former Kom Tek Inc. employee has doll, baseball card, stamp, coin, magazine, die-cast car, movie memorabilia and other collections.

“I like to collect a lot of things, but I'd say matchbooks are my favorite,” he said.

The matchbook, or matchbook cover, was patented in the 1890s by John Pusey, a Pennsylvania lawyer. It was a tremendous advertising and marketing tool, especially used by hotels, restaurants and bars. Historically, matchbooks reflected the artistic and cultural sensibilities of the day, and many people soon began collecting them.

There are collecting clubs around the country and the hobby is popular enough to sustain websites, magazines and other periodicals for interested individuals.

The Boston Public Library even has a collection that features matchbooks from Hub hotels.

Matchbooks were produced in tremendous quantities until the introduction of inexpensive, disposable lighters. The demand dipped further in the 1960s, as more people stopped smoking because of health concerns.

Vigneault said he began collecting matchbooks when he was about 19 years old. He was walking down a street in Main South – the neighborhood he grew up in – when he spotted an unusual one discarded in the roadway. Vigneault said he doesn't remember what particularly struck him about the matchbook, but he took it home and showed it to his mother, Rita Vigneault, who encouraged him to begin collecting them.

Some of his sets have won prizes at conventions. His favorites include a series on the 1964-65 World Fair in New York City, and a rare collection of Navy, Army and Marine Corps matchbooks issued at the close of World War II.

Vigneault said he picks up his collectibles at yard and estate sales, secondhand stores and conventions, among other places.

Some people who know about his collection very often send him matchbooks. During a recent visit by a Telegram & Gazette reporter, Vigneault received in the mail some matchbooks recently issued by a Las Vegas hotel.

"Well, will you look at these," he said, while going through the envelope.

Vigneault said he used to inventory his treasures, but stopped doing so years ago.

“That's not to say that I don't know where everything is,” he added, with a chuckle.

After years of collecting, he said, he's beginning to give away some of his cherished possessions.

“It's time. I'm not getting any younger,” he said.


Information from:

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-ES-03-27-11 0004EDT


Buick sponsored the radio broadcast of the Joe Lewis vs. Max Schmeling heavyweight championship boxing match on June 18, 1936. This matchbook promoting the fight sold at auction for $25 in 2005. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Clars Auction Gallery
Last Updated on Monday, 28 March 2011 11:22

License plate barn remains unofficial southern Indiana landmark

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Written by GARRET MATHEWS, Evansville Courier & Press   
Friday, 25 March 2011 10:03
None of the license plates on Adams' barn is as old as this set of 1913 Indiana porcelain-enameled plates. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Cowan's Auctions Inc. MIDWAY, Ind. (AP) – Mark Adams looks up and down at the “license plate barn,” as it's known, which serves as the reckoning point for directions in this tiny Spencer County community on Indiana 161, about 20 miles east of Evansville.

“You just say, ‘Go to the place with all the auto tags, and make a left or a right or a whatever.’ Everybody knows,” says the 56-year-old man who has lived in Midway most of his life.

Louie “Doc”'' Magee, a former county commissioner, decorated the barn, his mechanics' shed and two corn cribs with more than 8,000 unsold license plates, many dated 1961 and 1962.

“Doc was known as an off-the-wall individual who worked as a self-employed carpenter,” Adams says. “He had access to the plates that didn't sell and used them to put Midway on the map. He banged them in with roofing nails.”

Adams' parents, Mari Lena and Alvin, moved here in 1960 and bought the barn after Magee died in the early 1970s.

“The shop and corn cribs on the other side of the road got bulldozed down,” says Adams, “and with that went a ton of old tags. What's left now is only a drop in the bucket.”

Mark Adams has boxes of unused license plates, courtesy of his brother, Gary, who also served a multi-year stint on the Spencer County Commission.

“I want to carry on the tradition with the barn, but it's tough. When I screw one new plate in, lots of times three old ones fall off.”

It's commonplace for Adams to see strangers pull up next to the beat-up barn and take pictures.

“I come out and answer their questions because I always want to be neighborly. A lot of them want to know how old the barn is. I tell them 100 years doesn't begin to cut it.”

Never, Adams says, has the place been vandalized.

“The license plate barn is definitely a rural thing. People around here treasure the memories that the building represents. In a city, the old tags would get destroyed.”

Adams pulls regular maintenance.

“I don't want the thing to fall down on my watch. I've jacked it up and put in concrete pillars. I even put in a garage door. It's as stable now as it's ever been.”

Adams keeps two vintage trucks inside the barn, including one he bought in 1975.

“Rumor has it that the license plate barn was once a post office, but I don't know about that. It's definitely home base for a bunch of cats, though. They make themselves home in the hay and the stalls where the animals used to be.”

He's never considering having the place declared a landmark.

“To me, it's just a thing to talk about. Yeah, the license plates are on the outside, but mules used to live inside the stable. There's nothing historical about that.”


Information from: Evansville Courier & Press,

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-03-20-11 0103EDT


Last Updated on Friday, 25 March 2011 10:25

$125,871 paid for Kate Middleton's see-through dress

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Written by AARON EDWARDS, Associated Press   
Friday, 18 March 2011 14:59

LONDON (AP) - A revealing piece of royal history was sold Thursday for 78,000 pounds ($125,871) when an unidentified buyer bought the infamous see-through dress Kate Middleton wore back in 2002 when she and Prince William were university friends.

Some reports maintain that the sight of Middleton in the transparent dress as she walked down the catwalk at a charity fashion show helped convince William that she was someone he wanted to get to know better.

Whether or not the see-through black dress was a major factor, they soon became boyfriend and girlfriend, starting a long-term romance that will bring them to the altar of Westminster Abbey on April 29.

The dress was supposed to be a skirt, but Middleton wore it as a dress showing her black underwear beneath.

It was bought by an unidentified male British buyer at a London auction Thursday for 65,000 pounds ($104,948) and an additional 13,000 pounds ($20,989) of buyer's premium.

"He thinks it's an iconic piece,'' said an unnamed man who represented the buyer at the auction. "He's very happy.''

About three to four bidders competed for the dress in the packed room, while some also bid by phone. Gasps rang around the room when the bidding drove the price up to 65,000 pounds ($104,948).

No one would mistake the dress for high fashion. It was put up for sale by designer Charlotte Todd, who did not go into fashion but works in an aquarium.

"I'm completely shocked, I need to sit down and get my head round it,'' Todd, 31, said. "I didn't like to get my hopes up, I was thinking it might not sell. I wasn't thinking of a sum of money in my head.''

Bidder Carole Lieberman said the garment shows that Middleton was willing to use hardball tactics in pursuit of the University of St. Andrew's' most eligible bachelor.

Lieberman, a U.S. talk show host and psychiatrist, said before the auction that she had planned to bid aggressively on the dress after buying other items, including nightdresses that belonged to Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee who lured King Edward VIII from the throne. Lieberman was outbid by the mystery buyer.

She said she wanted to purchase Middleton's dress because Middleton was ``the quintessential good girl who used bad girl secrets to catch her prince."

Earlier Thursday, an item of lingerie from Simpson's wardrobe - a scarlet chiffon nightdress with a cape - sold for more than 6,500 pounds ($10,500) at auction. Also under the hammer were garments worn by Princess Diana, including a Catherine Walker white lace evening gown worn during a visit to France in 1988 that sold for 36,000 pounds.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-03-17-11 1706EDT



Alum selling T206 baseball card to raise money for his old school

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 15 March 2011 07:47
Vive Lindaman’s photograph is on this 1909 Ramly baseball card, which is not the card being sold. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa school district is raising money by auctioning a 105-year-old baseball card featuring alumnus Vive Lindaman.

Charles City school superintendent Andy Pattee told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that the 1906 card was put up for sale on eBay. The 10-day auction closes Thursday. As of Tuesday, the T206 card had 40 bids and was going for at least $305.

Lindaman graduated from the Charles City school system in 1895. He played major league baseball for the Boston Beaneaters and the Boston Doves, teams that evolved into the Atlanta Braves. Lindaman was a left-handed pitcher, who posted a 36-59 record in four season in the majors. He reportedly kept in shape by walking 17 miles a day working as a mail carriers. Lindaman died in 1927 at the age of 49.

The card is currently owned by another Charles City alum, Bill Burge of St. Louis. He says a similar card auction last year raised $230.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier,

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-03-13-11 1850EDT


Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 13:13

Spider-Man's debut comic book sells for $1.1 million

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Written by MATT MOORE, Associated Press   
Thursday, 10 March 2011 09:36
Marvel introduced Spider-Man on the cover of ‘Amazing Fantasy' No. 15 dated August 1962. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Spider-Man All Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 1962 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved. PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A comic collector has been caught in Spider-Man's web, paying $1.1 million for a near-mint copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 that features the wall-crawler's debut.

The issue, first published in 1962, was sold Monday by a private seller to a private buyer, chief executive Stephen Fishler told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

It's not the highest price ever paid for a comic book, an honor that goes to Action Comics No. 1 with Superman on the cover, which went for $1.5 million.

But Fishler says the price paid is the most for a book from the Silver Age, the mid-1950s to about 1970.

“The fact that a 1962 comic has sold for $1.1 million is a bit of a record-shattering event,” he said. “That something that recent can sell for that much and be that valuable is awe-inspiring.”

Usually, it has been comics from the Golden Age – typically from the late 1930s to the early 1950s – that draw seven-figure sums.

In March 2010, a copy of the 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1 sold for $1.5 million on ComicConnect's website. That issue features the debut of Superman and originally sold for 10 cents.

In February 2010, Heritage Auctions in Dallas sold a rare copy of Detective Comics No. 27, which featured the debut of Batman, for $1,075,500. Fishler said the same issue had initially sold for just $2,500 in 1985 and for $140,000 in 2000.

“Over the last decade it has become a rather legendary copy because it was in the hands of a collector and no one thought he would sell,” Fishler said. “The owner came up with a figure that he didn't think anyone would pay, and it was paid.”

Amazing Fantasy No. 15 has long been prized by collectors because of Spider-Man's debut. It has been reprinted and made available as a hardcover, too.

The cover, drawn by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, shows Spider-Man clutching a villain in one arm and swinging from his web with the other. It originally sold for 12 cents.

Writer Stan Lee and Ditko co-created the web-slinger and his alter ego, the awkward but educationally gifted Peter Parker, who was bitten by a radioactive spider.

“Spider-Man is one of Marvel's flagship characters so, yeah, I'd say Amazing Fantasy is very important,” said Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Axel Alonso. “Funny thing is, the series – which was formerly titled Amazing Adult Fantasy – was scheduled for cancellation before issue Amazing Fantasy No. 15 hit stands. It ended up being one of Marvel's highest sellers at the time, and paving the road for the Amazing Spider-Man series that's run monthly ever since.''

It also helped pave the way for Spider-Man adventures on the radio, television and the movie screen.

Lee worked for Marvel for decades, eventually becoming its editor-in-chief, and then starting other businesses, including most recently POW! Entertainment.

He said, given the price paid for the issue, “I wish had saved my old Spider-Man books.”

Back in the early 1960s, there was never any thought of saving extra issues or the original artwork that made up comics because there was no space to store the artwork or books sent back by the printer.

“So if someone came to deliver our lunch or sandwiches or something, before he'd left we'd say ‘Hey, fella! You want to take these books with you or this artwork with you?’” Lee said. “We were giving all that stuff away. Nobody thought to save these books.”

Lee said there is more to the price tag than just money.

“I think it's just wonderful that these old books are now considered, in some way, ancient treasures and are thought of so highly that people would give so much money for them,” he said. “I would never have believed it, but I am very impressed.”



Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


AP-ES-03-08-11 1651EST



Last Updated on Thursday, 10 March 2011 09:51

Kate vs. Catherine; rating the royal name dilemma

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Written by SHAWN POGATCHNIK and GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 12:39
Royal Worcester avoided the name dilemma on its Royal Wedding tray. Image courtesy of UK Gift Co. BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) – Call her Kate, at least for now.

It may be years before Kate Middleton becomes queen, but questions are already being raised about the princess-to-be's preferred moniker: Queen Kate or Queen Catherine?

Ever since her engagement became official in November, palace officials – and her fiance, Prince William – have taken to calling her Catherine, the name used on the official, gold-embossed invitations to their nuptials at Westminster Abbey on April 29.

“Catherine” sounds more formal, regal and fitting for a future queen, experts say.

But Middleton herself may not embrace the change just yet. During a joint visit Tuesday with Prince William to Northern Ireland, Middleton mentioned casually that she thinks of herself primarily as Kate.

“I'm still very much Kate,” said Middleton, when a woman outside Belfast City Hall asked what name she preferred.

The “Kate” versus “Catherine” debate has emerged in recent weeks because of William's switch in using it and because “Catherine” or the initial “C” is being imprinted on official wedding memorabilia and commemorative china.

“I think that Catherine does have a more historic feel to it; there have been several queen consorts called Catherine in British history,” said Charles Kidd, editor of the blue-blood bible Debrett's Peerage. “So Queen Catherine does sound quite familiar. It has a historic ring to it.”

He said Kate also sounds pleasant but reminds him of the feisty character in Kiss Me Kate, a Cole Porter musical that features William Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew.

“I imagine she'll be known as Catherine but the tabloids and majority of the press will continue to call her Kate, so in the general sense she'll be known as Kate,” he said.

According to the official royal wedding website, which has already received more than 2 million visits since it started up last week, Middleton does not prefer one name over the other. It says Middleton used the name “Catherine” when she was growing up with her family but tends to use the more casual “Kate” in her professional life.

“Miss Middleton uses both names equally, and she has never expressed a preference for either Catherine or Kate since her engagement,” the website states.

Most of the British media still calls her “Kate,” and headline writers are not expected to change.

A spokeswoman for Prince Charles, who declined to be named according to palace protocol, would not comment Tuesday on Middleton's statement in Belfast. But she noted that Middleton's family and friends call her “Catherine” and that is her real name.

The late Princess Diana, William's mother, also had an informal nickname –“Lady Di” – that was too casual for formal court affairs, where she was called Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales. After her death, she became known as “The People's Princess,” a phrase coined by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair.

No matter what she is called, Middleton and her beau showed true star power in Belfast, delighting an enthusiastic crowd on their first official visit to Northern Ireland. Police kept watch from the rooftops as the center of Belfast was brought to a standstill.

William and Middleton were cheered outside Belfast City Hall as they took turns flipping a pancake, the traditional treat eaten on Shrove Tuesday, the day before the Catholic season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

“My little heart is beating 90 to the dozen after meeting Kate,” said Gloria Lowry, from Carrickfergus. “She is absolutely beautiful and William so handsome. They make a perfect couple.”

It was their third public outing in recent weeks, completing a circuit that has taken them to all parts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Last month, the couple traveled to Wales and to Scotland.

On Monday night, Middleton, William and Charles made a private visit to Westminster Abbey to hear a full orchestra and a choir perform music that is being considered for the wedding ceremony.

In Belfast, Middleton wore a double-breasted cream-colored belted coat with a ruffle hem, black tights and black high-heeled shoes. The prince wore a navy suit.

Rebecca Fletcher, 11, who took the day off school, called “Katie!” and offered a bouquet of daffodils.

“You're a very lucky lady. I'm so jealous,” the girl said.

“I am lucky,” Middleton said. “He's a very nice man and I'm looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him.”

Heather Lindsay, whose daughter Laura Ann is also getting married this year, brought “bride” and “groom” caps in the hope of getting William to wear one.

“He politely declined. He said his mother would not appreciate him wearing the hat,” said Lindsay, from Killyleagh.

“I told Kate I am also planning for a big wedding as well. I told her not to lose any more weight. She laughed and said it was all part of the wedding planning,” Lindsay added.

William and Middleton also toured Greenmount Agricultural College in Antrim outside of Belfast, where they were shown a herd of 30 prize Holstein dairy cows and taught how to rate cows.

William drew laughs by comparing the qualities judges look for in cows to a dating website.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-ES-03-08-11 1309EST


Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 14:24

Vinyl record fans still picking up good vibrations

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Written by JOSH STOCKINGER, The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald   
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 09:04
John Lennon-signed ‘The Beatles Again’ album, which was released in 1970. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Philip Weiss Auctions. WESTMONT, Ill. (AP) – Not long after Hank Shurba went into business selling records in 1983, the Elmhurst man started to hear buzz of a new media form destined to change music forever.

They were called CDs.

“I opened up and that very first week I heard about them,” Shurba, 66, recalls. “I thought, ‘Oh, my God. What do I do now?’”

Twenty-eight years later, Shurba says Remember When Records in Westmont probably would be out of business if it relied on compact disc sales.

Instead, he says, vinyl records are once again where it's at among younger audiences and serious music collectors.

“I don't know how it started,” Shurba confesses. “I was shocked. I never thought it would come back to records at all.”

For Shurba, the experience of buying a freshly pressed vinyl record and putting it on a turntable is all too familiar.

Growing up on Chicago's West Side, he used to ride his bike to Sears every weekend in the late 1950s to pick up the latest singles and LPs.

His love of music was further encouraged by his father, who played guitar, and eight siblings, who stayed current with music trends.

“I listened to everything,” Shurba says. “I searched all over my Zenith portable radio and would always find the black stations. You heard stuff there you couldn't hear anywhere else.”

After high school, Shurba was drafted into the Army and later became a union sheet metal worker. It wasn't until a flood destroyed his entire record collection in 1972 that he began to tinker with the idea of opening his own store.

In the years following the flood, Shurba says he turned to estate sales, garage sales and record shows to rebuild his collection.

He saw others buying and selling records for a living and realized, “I can do this.”

“One thing led to another,” he says with a chuckle. “It was like an old horror picture. Don't put water on it – it grows.”

Shurba and his wife, Julie, opened Remember When Records in 1983 and would go on to occupy three different locations in Downers Grove before eventually finding a permanent home at 309 W. Ogden Ave. in Westmont. Today, it remains one of the few independently owned record stores in the suburbs to offer both new and used vinyl.

Shurba estimates the store carries more than 50,000 CDs and records, which fill up two floors' worth of space. He also has had in-store performances by Chicago-area acts such as the Ides of March and Jamestown Massacre, and carries movies and rock ’n’ roll collectibles.

In addition, Remember When Records is one of about 1,200 annual participants in Record Store Day, an international event that aims to support independent music stores through outreach, marketing and special promotions.

Record Store Day co-founder Eric Levin said the store is not alone in thriving on vinyl once again.

“The vinyl revolution has just saved us all on a certain level,” says Levin, who also owns Criminal Records in Atlanta, Ga. “We're outselling vinyl-to-CDs three-to-one. We are definitely seeing CDs plateau.”

At the same time, Shurba says, Remember When Records has not been immune to the dwindling value of CDs, or the popularity of digital downloads among consumers.

But a few things never change, he says – the Beatles are still his top seller, and vinyl is still fun.

“It's a little tougher nowadays. There have been times I thought, ‘Why do I do this?’” Shurba says. “But whether you have good weeks or bad weeks, you have to stick to it.”

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-03-08-11 0503EST


John Lennon-signed ‘The Beatles Again’ album, which was released in 1970. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Philip Weiss Auctions.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 14:26

Eric Clapton guitars slated for New York City charity auction

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Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 07 March 2011 12:13
Eric Clapton performing in Munich in June. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. NEW YORK (AP) -- Eric Clapton is parting with dozens of guitars and amps at a New York City auction to benefit an alcohol and drug treatment center he founded in Antigua.

Bonhams New York will offer the 70 guitars and 70 amps next Wednesday.

Among the highlights is a custom-made black Fender "Eric Clapton" signature Stratocaster, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. It was used during the “Cream Reunion Shows” in New York and London in 2005.

A pair of 1970 Marshall vintage basket weave speaker cabinets are expected to fetch $8,000-$10,000.

The 65-year-old rock Hall of Famer is a recovered addict who established the nonprofit Crossroads Centre in West Indies in 1998.

The British artist's famous love song Layla was released in 1970 when he appeared with blues-rock band Derek and the Dominos.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-ES-03-04-11 1111EST


Eric Clapton performing in Munich in June. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Monday, 07 March 2011 14:08
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