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Collectibles Worldwide

Gretzky's NHL rookie card auctioned for $94,163

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 10:54
Wayne Gretzky rookie card auctioned by SCP Auctions, Inc. for $94,163. Image courtesy of SCP Auctions, Inc.

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) - The Great One is still setting records.

Wayne Gretzky's NHL rookie card earned $94,163 at an online sports memorabilia auction Sunday. SCP Auctions says that's the highest price ever paid for a hockey card.

While a Gretzky rookie card is easy enough to find on eBay, it is rare to find one free of small flaws or imperfections. The card sold Sunday was graded 10, or mint condition, by Professional Sports Authenticator.

SCP calls it "arguably the most valuable modern trading card in existence.''

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-02-11 1510GMT

Wayne Gretzky rookie card auctioned by SCP Auctions, Inc. for $94,163. Image courtesy of SCP Auctions, Inc. Wayne Gretzky rookie card auctioned by SCP Auctions, Inc. for $94,163. Image courtesy of SCP Auctions, Inc.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 12:57

University of Akron auctioning train collection

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Written by CAROL BILICZKY, Akron Beacon Journal   
Friday, 29 April 2011 14:21
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - When the University of Akron bought Quaker Square in 2007, a valuable hoard of railroad memorabilia came with it.

Now collectors will have a chance to get their hands on some of it.

UA will auction off tens of thousands of items divided into more than 1,300 lots Saturday at the former shopping and entertainment complex in downtown Akron.

The train collection once was the heart of the complex that opened as a tourist mecca in 1975. The shops, restaurants and bars in the former oats factory were decorated with model trains and actual train equipment, plus memorabilia.

"When people come here, that's the first thing they ask: 'What happened to the trains?'" said Mike Szczukowski, the UA materials handling director who is overseeing the sale.

UA already has held two tag sales of Quaker Square hotel furniture, decorations and memorabilia, the last of which in June generated about $40,000, he said.

Saturday's sale offers such one-of-a-kind items that UA decided to hold an auction.

Auctioneer Paul Wingard will sell off the items from Quaker Square's basement via camera. As many as 1,000 bidders will watch the proceedings from first-floor cameras, Szczukowski said.

The highlight probably will be the miniature railroad buildings, people and scenery made in the 1940s and 1950s by train enthusiast Mack Lowry, who moved his Railways of America Museum on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls to Quaker Square in 1976. His collection was billed as the largest model train display in the world.

The collection was so vast that about half of it immediately went into storage in the 400,000-square-foot complex and never emerged.

Lowry's widow eventually sold the collection to Quaker Square owner Jay Nusbaum, who in turn handed it over to UA.

The sale also will include towel bars, pipe holders and storage racks from actual trains; six real-size luggage carts, some of them loaded with old suitcases; 20 leather-backed chairs from dining cars; round brass tables from dining cars; train artwork, magazines and advertising memorabilia; two mailbags; and old railroad tools.

The auction will feature more than trains.

Wingard also will auction off models and props handmade for a miniature circus, plus two big-top tents, amusement rides and a wide variety of miscellany.

Akron rubber worker Robert W. Harned created the Greatest Little Show on Earth in the basement of his home starting in the mid-1920s, displayed it at stores and sold it to Lowry, who in turn moved it to Quaker Square.

The auction won't spell the end of trains or the circus at Quaker Square. The university is maintaining displays of both in the museum next to the gift shop on the main floor. The auction pieces are all extra.

Nor is this the end of the UA sales. In coming months, the university will spotlight a trove of other Quaker Square memorabilia, from airplanes to stained glass to car parts, as it edges closer to turning the facility into classrooms. Part of the hotel already has been turned into a residence hall for students.

For now, the focus is on clearing out the train and circus memorabilia. Interested bidders can preview the items for two hours beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday.

Like items that will be sold as groups will be bundled together in clear plastic bags or displayed together on tables.


Information from: Akron Beacon Journal,

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

AP-WF-04-26-11 0150GMT


Last Updated on Monday, 09 May 2011 09:45

Museum's Coca-Cola auctions promise to be ‘delicious & refreshing’

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Written by TOM HOEPF, Auction Central News International and Outside PR Source   
Friday, 29 April 2011 14:19
Like most early Coca-Cola posters, this one issued circa 1895 featured an attractive woman. It is the only one like it known to exist and is estimated to sell for $30,000. Image courtesy of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Collectibles. ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (ACNI) – The biggest and arguably the best privately held collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia will be sold over a two-year period, much of it at public auctions starting as soon as mid-September.

Owners of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia in Elizabethtown have decided to disperse the collection of more than 80,000 items, which is estimated to be worth as much as $10 million.

“The response has been overwhelming. We’re just telling collectors to get signed up for updates and notices about the auctions,” said Larry Schmidt, who represents the fourth generation of the Schmidt family to be active in the Coca-Cola bottling business. He has been involved in the museum since its founding in 1977 and was president of the family owned Coca-Cola franchise in the 1990s.

Unlike his parents who assembled the Coca-Cola collection, Larry Schmidt said he is not a collector and will hold nothing back.

“Everything will be sold,” he said. “It’s a premier collection.”

“A big portion of our life has gone into collecting these wonderful, artistic pieces,” said Jan Schmidt, who, along with her late husband Bill, started the collection in 1972 when they went to an antique advertising show in Indianapolis and came home with a carload of vintage Coca-Cola memorabilia.

“That was the 1970s at the start of the Coca-Cola advertising craze. At that first show there was a huge amount of marvelous things at low prices,” said Larry Schmidt.

The Schmidt collection consists of one-of-a-kind posters, rare serving trays, early bottles, lighted signs, advertising clocks, antique delivery trucks, even the side of a barn emblazoned with “Drink Coca-Cola in Bottles.”

“With 80,000 items it will be necessary to sell some things in larger lots, but we don’t want to do anything that will harm the value. We want to sell the collection in a slow, controlled fashion that will protect the market and collectors,” said Schmidt.

“This collection is the best of the best,” said Allan Petretti, author of Petretti’s Coca-Cola Collectibles Price Guide, who is appraising the collection and helping the family market it. “The Schmidts defined collecting. The depth and breadth of their collection is beyond incredible. They have the rarest of rare pieces. They have things from every era and from every category. You name it, and they have it,” said Petretti.

Richard Opfer Auctioneering Inc., Timonium, Md., will conduct the auctions, which will be held on-site at the museum at 100 Buffalo Creek Drive in Elizabethtown, 50 miles south of Louisville.

The museum has been closed to catalog the items and prepare for the sales.

Items of greatest interest will be sold at the live auctions. Many items with lower value will be sold through the museum’s website beginning in mid-June, said Schmidt.

Coca-Cola runs deep in the Schmidt family heritage. In 1901, Frederick Schmidt became only the fifth Coca-Cola bottler in the nation when he opened a plant in Louisville, Ky. In 1920, the franchise, which covered much of Kentucky and parts of Southern Indiana, was split into three areas with Luke Schmidt, Bill’s father, taking over the Elizabethtown operations. Larry Schmidt, Bill’s son, became the fourth-generation president when he took over in the mid-1990s. The Schmidts later sold the franchise while the museum has remained.

“It’s a historic collection and an amazing legacy my parents have created,” said Schmidt. “It’s been a part of the fabric of Elizabethtown, so this has been a difficult decision but it’s the right one. It creates an opportunity for others to own a piece of history and it allows us to give back to the community.”

The Schmidt family intends to establish a foundation where much of the funds from the sales will be used for charitable purposes.

For details and updates about the sales visit the museum website at

Copyright 2011 Auction Central News International. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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In the video below, Larry Schmidt comments on the contents of the museum.


Like most early Coca-Cola posters, this one issued circa 1895 featured an attractive woman. It is the only one like it known to exist and is estimated to sell for $30,000. Image courtesy of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Collectibles. The Schmidt museum has the only known complete collection of more than 200 styles of Coca-Cola serving trays. This is the hardest to find, dating from 1897. Image courtesy of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Collectibles. Larry Schmidt represents the fourth generation of his family to work in the Coca-Cola bottling business. In the background is a side of a barn painted with the Coca-Cola logo. Image courtesy of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Collectibles. Bill and Jan Schmidt posed for this photo in 1983. The soda fountain, which was part of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, will be sold at the first auction. Image courtesy of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Collectibles. The paper label indicates this 1920s wooden barrel of Coca-Cola syrup was delivered to a wholesale grocer in Junction City, Kans. Image courtesy of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Collectibles. Baird Clock Co. produced one of its many advertising wall clocks for Coca-Cola in 1893. Image courtesy of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Collectibles.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 April 2011 15:26

Grey Flannel Auctions inks deal with Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 16:19
Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, Baltimore, where Grey Flannel's free sports memorabilia appraisal fair will be held on June 4, 2011. Photo by Andrew Horne.

WESTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Officials at Grey Flannel Auctions announced today that they have entered into a multi-year marketing and promotional deal with the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation Inc. The foundation is an independent, not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to perpetuating the historic legacy of Babe Ruth, Baltimore's Orioles and Colts; and local and regional sports.

As part of the new arrangement, Grey Flannel will conduct two annual events at the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, located adjacent to Baltimore’s Oriole Park. The first of this year’s jointly sponsored events will be an appraisal fair conducted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, 2011, in the Sports Legends Museum’s theater.

Grey Flannel’s team of experts will be on hand to accept consignments to future auctions and provide free appraisals on game-worn apparel, equipment, vintage collector cards, autographed items and any other professional sports memorabilia.

“It’s a great honor for us to be associated with the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation. Their exhibits and programs at the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum and Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards instill a very positive and lasting impression on youngsters, while at the same time honoring Baltimore’s titans of professional sports,” said Grey Flannel Auctions’ president, Richard E. Russek.

The appraisal fair will take place on the same day as an Orioles home game at Camden Yards (start time: 7:05 p.m.). “It’s a perfect way to spend the day – visiting the Sports Legends Museum, meeting the Grey Flannel team at the free appraisal fair, and topping it off with an evening in Baltimore’s beautiful Oriole Park, watching the O’s play the Blue Jays,” Russek said.

Additional information about the appraisal fair will be available soon at and

# # #



Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, Baltimore, where Grey Flannel's free sports memorabilia appraisal fair will be held on June 4, 2011. Photo by Andrew Horne.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 18:09

Fans promote comic books as reading aid

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Written by BILLY WATKINS, The Clarion-Ledger   
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 09:24
The Amazing Spider-Man No. 23 (April 1965), featuring the Green Goblin. Cover art by co-creator Steve Ditko. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Spider-Man All Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 1965 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved. JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Shayla Patton isn't bothered by her husband's collection of 55,000 comic books stored in a makeshift office at their home in Florence, Miss.

“I read some of them, too,” she said, laughing. “But, seriously, I'm glad Charles has them to come home to. He works in the emergency room at (the University of Mississippi Medical Center). These comic books are a good stress reliever. They help get his mind off things he has to witness every day that most people don't have to deal with.”

And there is another reason she doesn't complain: The Pattons are certain that reading comic books has increased their two daughters' vocabulary, comprehension and love of books.

“I remember when (11-year-old) Amiyah was in third or fourth grade, and she brought home these vocabulary tests she had taken,” Shayla Patton says. “One of the words she had defined correctly was ‘comrade.’ I was pretty impressed. I said, ‘How did you know that?’ She said, ‘I remember seeing that word in a Batman comic book and asking Daddy what it meant. He explained that Batman and Robin were comrades.’ There is no doubt comic books have opened up the world of reading for them.”

Jay Long, owner of Heroes and Dreams: Comics and Collectibles in Flowood, Miss., says he frequently hears similar stories.

“Comic books offer one of the best ways for a child to learn to read because one half of the brain grabs the artwork and the other half grabs the words and story. It's a full reading experience.”

Flowood library includes graphic novels – a series of stories from previously published comic books – and Japanese-style comic books in its children's section.

“It makes reading fun for a lot of youngsters who have never liked to read before,” said Antoinette Giamalva, children's service librarian in Flowood. “And the teenagers really like the Japanese comics that are read back to front and from right to left.”

Comic books, which first appeared in the 1930s, remain a hot collectible.

“Our clientele includes kids who are in elementary school all the way up to people who are retired and have been collecting all their lives,” Long said. “Many of them are in here every Wednesday to pick up the new releases.”

“The movies have really helped,” said Van Peeples, owner of Van's Comics and Cards in Ridgeland, Miss. “People will see a Batman movie or a Spider-Man movie, and then want to come check out the comic books about them.”

Prices are still reasonable from the two largest publishers – $2.99 for new single copies by DC, and $3.99 for those issued by Marvel.

Visually, comic books have come a long way over the past few decades.

“They used to be printed in four-color on paper that was much like a newspaper,” Long said. “Today, the art quality is just incredible. They use multi-colors and the pages are slick. And the art really draws the reader in.”

Some things haven't changed: Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men and Wonder Woman are among the top sellers.

“But DC and Marvel will come out with something special for the summer,” Long said. “This year, DC has The War of the Green Lanterns, because there is a Green Lantern movie coming out. DC also has The Return of Doomsday, the character who killed Superman in 1992.”

Have no fear – Superman is alive and well.

“Death doesn't seem to be a big sticking point in comic books,” said Clark Lee, 38, a media specialist at Mississippi Public Broadcasting and an avid collector, particularly of Batman and X-Men. “They even killed Batman off in a way ... sent him back to the beginning of time. But they always find a way of reviving them. And it makes for some pretty good collectibles.''

Like most hobbies, collecting can be as expensive as one wants to make it.

“The most I've ever paid for one was $370,” Lee said. “It was The Incredible Hulk, No. 181. I bought it because it was the first full comic appearance of Wolverine. I got that in 1999.''

Giamalva, 24, has been collecting about two years.

“We were setting up for a comic day here at the library and I picked one up and started reading,” she said. “I found it really interesting. Now, I'm into mostly the graphic novels of Lois Lane, Batman, Mockingbird, Hawkeye, Black Canary and Green Arrow. I'm buying something every month.”

Everyone collects differently, Long said.

“When people ask me how to get started, I encourage people to read what they like,” he said. “So many people back in the 1990s were buying comic books on a speculative basis, trying to figure out what comics would gain value and be worth a lot of money about the time their kids were starting college. That's a pretty unrealistic way to look at it.

“So I suggest people find a character that touches them, that they love reading about and if it becomes worth a lot of money one day, great. If not, they still have something they love.”

And, in some cases, a guide to life lessons.

“Our oldest daughter, MiKayla, is 12 and nearly 6 feet tall,” Shayla Patton said. “She doesn't like being in the spotlight, but it's sort of hard for her to walk around and not be noticed. So we always tell her, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ She first heard that when we were reading her a Spider-Man comic book. And that's a saying we use throughout this house today.”


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger,

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

AP-WF-04-25-11 1818GMT


Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 12:26

Police recover rare Superman comic stolen from Nicolas Cage

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Written by ANTHONY McCARTNEY, AP Entertainment Writer   
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 16:38
Action Comics No. 1 features the first appearance of Superman. Very few examples are known to exist. This one sold for $1 million in a private transaction brokered by on Feb. 22, 2010. Image courtesy

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A valuable comic featuring the debut of Superman has re-surfaced in a storage locker, and police said Monday that it appears to be the same one stolen from Nicolas Cage more than a decade ago.

The mint copy of Action Comics No. 1 was in police custody after being found last week in a San Fernando Valley storage locker. An investigation into its theft and recovery is under way.

The comic was authenticated and appears to be the one stolen from Cage in 2000, said Detective Don Hrycyk with the Los Angeles Police Department's Art Theft Detail.

It is unclear whether the 1938 comic will be returned to the Oscar-winning actor. Hrycyk said Cage accepted an insurance payout after its theft and will have to work out the details with the company.

The actor made clear in a statement that he would like it back. "It is divine providence that the comic was found and I am hopeful that the heirloom will be returned to my family," Cage said in a statement released by his publicist.

Cage is an avid comic collector, and the Action Comics issue is one of the highest-coveted books in superhero history. A copy of the issue was sold in March 2010 for $1.5 million. It was originally sold for 10 cents.

The recovery of Cage's comic was first reported Sunday by the Ventura County Star. The paper said it was found in a storage locker in the San Fernando Valley last week and that a comic collector who originally sold the book to Cage verified its authenticity.

Hrycyk said his investigation is in its early stages and he is checking out all the stories about how the comic was found.

The detective said a number of false leads on the comic were generated over the years, including a tip in 2002 that the issue was in a safe deposit box in Tennessee. Police searched the box, but found a replica of the comic's cover, which depicts Superman hoisting a car over his head, wrapped around a woman's lingerie catalog.

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

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 16:42

Pacific nation's William and Kate stamps raise eyebrows

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 08 April 2011 17:33
The commemorative postage stamps from the Pacific-island nation of Niue that have WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - The Pacific nation of Niue has printed unusual commemorative stamps for Britain's royal wedding: an image of Prince William and Kate Middleton with perforations that split the couple down the middle.

The general manager of stamps and coins at New Zealand Post, which designed and printed the stamps, told TV3 on Tuesday that the design had been approved Queen Elizabeth II.

Ivor Masters described the design as innovative. He said the stamps were collectors items so it was very unlikely they would be torn apart for postage.

The item features a single image of Kate and William standing side by side on two stamps of different values. Ripping along the stamps' perforations would tear the royal couple apart.

New Zealand and Niue are Commonwealth nations.

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

AP-WF-04-05-11 1026GMT


Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 08:10

Ex-hockey stars cashing in on private troves

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Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 04 April 2011 12:00
Formerly with the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins, the now-retired NHL center Bryan Trottier played with the All-Star Legends 2008 in Toronto. Image taken by Horge, Nov. 9, 2008. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. MONTREAL (AP) - Stained clothing, chipped vulcanized rubber and even false teeth.

Whatever the item, if it comes from the personal trove of a retired hockey star it can mean big money. Former pros are reaping cash returns by auctioning gear from their private collections.

Collectors and fans are shelling out more and more for pieces of hockey history - stirring up excitement that has ex-players digging into their own stashes to get in on the action.

This week, dozens of items belonging to Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier, including a pair of Stanley Cup rings, sold for a total of more than $60,000 through a Montreal-area auction house.

In the same sale, Classic Auctions also unloaded personal articles for former NHL all-star Vincent Damphousse and Czech hockey legend Vaclav Nedomansky - earning them around $25,000 each.

But what exactly inspires old pros to unload so much stuff? Some insist it's simply about reclaiming their homes from the mountains of mementoes.

"I had a freaking garage full - I'm talking like a three-car garage,'' Hall of Fame winger Luc Robitaille told The Canadian Press, referring to sports items he's accumulated over the years. "So it was crazy.''

Robitaille hopes to sell part of his personal collection - including jerseys, pucks and a full-size hockey net - in June with the help of Classic Auctions.

He said he will put the money he raises into his foundation for troubled youth in Los Angeles.

Three-time Stanley Cup winner Rogie Vachon, who recently made about $75,000 for selling more than 30 items, had a similar storage dilemma.

"The problem is we have so many things that we keep over the years and every time you move to another house . . . things (the mementos) get broken or you lose stuff,'' Vachon said in an interview from his home in Los Angeles.

Vachon, who sold the Stanley Cup ring he won in 1967-68 with the Montreal Canadiens, figures he'll probably keep the cash for his grandchildren.

He said he was no longer attached to the artifacts and hopes someone else will get some use out of them.

"After a while, it's just sitting there and you figure 'Well, maybe somebody will enjoy having it in their little trophy room,''' he said.

Classic Auctions president Marc Juteau said former players often have the financial returns in mind, whether it's for themselves, their families or charity.

"They've had (the items) with them for their entire careers, so for them it probably doesn't mean as much as to some of the collectors,'' said Juteau, whose packed warehouse holds everything from a vintage Bobby Orr doll to graffiti-covered wooden doors from Muhammad Ali's old gym.

"If you won seven Stanley Cups, to sell two (rings) is not the end of the world - you still have five.''

And these days aficionados will snap up the strangest things.

In November, the auctioneer sold game-worn, fake teeth from Canadiens great Yvan Cournoyer for nearly $1,400.

"I don't want to say that more players want to sell their stuff, but I think the memorabilia market is definitely picking up,'' said Juteau, who's been selling sports collectibles since the 1980s. "I think it's a hot trend right now and there's more people looking to invest.''

Business has also been good for collectors looking to sell high on hockey treasures they picked up years ago. This week, the auction house brought in more than $55,000 for the puck Wayne Gretzky used in 1989 to notch career point No. 1,851 and pass Gordie Howe as the all-time NHL points leader.

Juteau's company made nearly $1.3 million last year for the jersey Paul Henderson wore when he scored the 1972 Summit Series winner.

But it's the personal collections of retired hockey players that have drawn much interest in recent years, particularly Stanley Cup rings. Trottier's two rings sold this week for about $20,000 each, while Vachon's made him about $15,000.

"It's very special for some people to own an actual Stanley Cup ring that once belonged to an NHL player,'' Juteau said.

In 2005, Habs great Jean Beliveau was one of the first hockey legends to auction pieces from his private vault. He made nearly $1 million for nearly 200 items, including the $69,045 he received for his 1958-59 Stanley Cup ring.

At the time, Beliveau said he would share the money with his family, including his daughter and two granddaughters.

But the 45-year-old Robitaille, who played in the era of multimillion-dollar salaries, doubts that former players from the days of lower wages are selling their stuff because they're short of cash.

"I don't think there's that much money in it,'' said Robitaille, who retired after the 2005-06 season and sits 10th all-time in NHL goals scored with 668. "I don't think it's something for guys where it makes a difference in their lives, to tell you the truth.''

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

AP-WF-04-01-11 1820GMT


Formerly with the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins, the now-retired NHL center Bryan Trottier played with the All-Star Legends 2008 in Toronto. Image taken by Horge, Nov. 9, 2008. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 April 2011 12:35

Wills and Kate Royal Wedding stamps available soon

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Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 16:50
The British Royal Mail's new stamps featuring the official engagement portraits taken by world-renowned photographer Mario Testino.

LONDON (AP) - Britain's Royal Mail is celebrating Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding with a new set of stamps that feature their official engagement portraits.

Two pictures of the couple taken by fashion and celebrity photographer Mario Testino will be printed on the set of commemorative stamps, which can be ordered beginning April 7.

The Royal Mail said Tuesday the collectibles have been approved by William and will be released on April 21, the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.

William has been featured on stamps twice before - to mark the Queen Mother's 100th birthday on August 4, 2000, and three years later to mark his 21st birthday.

Meanwhile, Transport for London said Tuesday that William and his bride-to-be will also grace special commemorative transit cards.



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

AP-WF-03-29-11 1038GMT


Last Updated on Thursday, 31 March 2011 09:01

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
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