Great Exhibition 1851 Tea Token

I have a new “Oldest Worlds Fair Memorabilia” in my collection. It is a token handed out by J. Healey a Tea Dealer & Grocer on Deansgate in Bolton.  Here is the side with that engraved.

1851 Crystal Palace Token

Some research on these tokens reveal they date back several centuries in England and the coffee house culture. There was a shortage of small coins in the realm so they created tokens for tea and other beverages. Not sure if in 1850s this was still the practice but one has to wonder. My guess is they either were an exhibitor and this was a hand out or they were a concessionaire.

The back has an engraving of the famous Crystal Palace and the date of the Exhibition.

Token of Exhibition Hall – 1851 London Worlds Fair

I found this little treasure on Ebay while doing research on the first World’s Fairs. It is my first Worlds Fair item I bought online.

It was a rainy day and I pulled out an old guide-book I have on the 1883 Columbian Exposition of 1893.

This book has a story of its own. Last year at the last estate sale of the year I ran into this gentleman that I have seen many times at sales since he is a re-seller of old books.  He was actually working the sale as a helper in the basement area. When he saw me he said I have something for you. He rummaged around in the back of his pickup truck and came up with this old book. What a random act of kindness that to this day makes me smile.

1893 Guide to Columbian Exposition Chicago

Guess he could not sell it since it is fairly bad shape. The  hint is it is held together with a small bungee cord.

Old Chicago 1893 Worlds Fair Book held together with bungee cord

In this book the second chapter was about prior exhibitions. It contains a wealth of knowledge about them starting with the 1851 Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations held in London. Seemed like all the exhibitions tried to compete with this one including a Crystal Palace duplicate in New York in 1853. The Chicago event used information from London to staff, plan and design their event.

So, here I was on that gloomy December day reading my old book and researching online about each of the old world’s fairs. I have always been fascinated by the Crystal Palace and on a whim did an Ebay search.  Bam!!!  I found this little token at a nominal price from a fabulous seller.

I leave you with the engraving of the Crystal Palace in my book that sparked this find. May your days of treasure hunting and researching history be as fulfilling as mine have been.

Crystal Palace – Exhibition Hall London 1851

Memories Found – San Francisco Panama-Pacific 1915 Int’l Exposition

Life has been really busy for me and my search for Worlds Fair items has slowly over the year gone somewhat dry. Not that I am attending fewer sales but it seems that what I used to find weekly is now becoming monthly or even many months apart.

Part of this is because I have quite a large collection and the common items have no interest for me. I do continue to look for different items and not necessarily from the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair (that I attended when 9 years old).

Before we go into the thrill of finding new items one loves to collect I want to share with you what few things I have from this World’s Fair that happened in San Francisco only a few years after the 1906 earthquake. It was a big deal for them and the West Coast of the USA. Here is an overview of what it looked like in relation to the rest of the city.

SF Pan-Pac 1915 overview of site

An envelope & stationary are the first items I found on the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. Not surprising it was the Washington State Building.

Washington State Building – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

front of envelope WA state building -1915 Pan-Pac Expo

WA State Building Stationary – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Oh I can’t forget this little booklet of photos of the Exhibition that came my way over the years too.

Miniature View Book – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Yesterday a little dam broke and I found something very special. This house was full of high-end items but deep in a closet was a box of old paper scraps. A lot was travel brochures, tickets, maps and other debris. Some of this I buy in my quest to save quality ephemera from the trash bin and resell.  This supports my own collection and has opened a new world of history to me.

In this box I found a pile of older postcards. There is a difference you can visually see, the newer ones are often glossy and the older ones are softly colored on quality paper that stands out in a mixed postcard pile. Here is a card I already have of 1915 to show you what I mean.

Palace of Horticulture – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo – Postcard I found years earlier

To my delight I saw one with old style Worlds Fair buildings on it. It was from 100 years ago – the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco. In the end I found 10 postcards and a like-new brochure called “Souvenir Canadian Pavilion”. This is a great addition to the few things I already have  from 1915 San Francisco.

Here is a new postcard of the Palace of Fine Arts building I found yesterday. This is the feature photo of an 8″x 10″ print I found years ago. By the way this is the only building really left standing.  You might find this Now & Then article I found of interest by Rebecca O’Connell on Mental Floss

Palace of Fine Arts – the remaining building – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

What is rather odd is only last weekend on November 11, 2018 we celebrated the 100 year date of World War I Armistice.  I had read an article about it that focused on barbed wire. How we are reeling out more of it on our border with Mexico along how it was the newest thing in warfare 100 years ago in the trenches of Europe.

This brought to me an emotional reaction that I don’t know how to explain. I was not alive then but I felt that anguish in my soul. Is it possible that my soul retains the memory of this while my brain that was born in 1953 does not. Could that be why I want to save the history I find? That is a deep thought for those of us that are drawn to things of the past, however, I am not going to dwell on this unknown today.

So, here we go with more postcards and the Canadian Brochure.

The brochure is in perfect condition for being 100 years old. It looks like it was put away by this person’s parents and not touched very often since then. The part I like the best is how it has pictures of the exhibition rooms. Usually we get stylized pictures that zero in on a specific piece of the exhibit area. This shows some more global views of how things were done 100 years ago.

Canadian Pavilion Brochure front cover – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Main Corridor with mineral exhibit -Canadian Exhibit interior – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

The first postcard that caught my attention was this one produced by Carnation Milk of the Exhibit Palace where they had the Carnation Milk Condensery. My research found this reference to Carnation ( California Historical Society )

 “The Pacific Coast Condensed Milk Company kept a herd of 125 “contented” Holstein cows in the Fair’s livestock area. Milk from these cows was sent to a condensery near the Palace of Fine Arts, where Carnation produced 6,000 cans of evaporated milk daily.”

Exhibit Palace – Carnation Milk Condensery – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Back of Exhibit Palace – Carnation Milk Post Card

Then my eyes saw this interior shot of the New Jersey Building. Wonder if the family was from New Jersey and this was a big trip by train to see the Panama Pacific Exhibition.

Lobby of New Jersey Building – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

And of course the exterior shot was next to this interior one.  Check out how this temporary building is really a huge thing.

Exterior New Jersey Building – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Then a small pile of postcards all still together were in my grasp. Funny how they and the brochure were just put in a box and kind of forgotten till I found them. Their color is so sharp and they were never mailed. That they were never mailed actually makes them less valuable but they are much more pristine this way.  First I want you to see the back of all of them.

Back of Postcards from 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Isn’t this very Victorian looking? It is done in cursive style, has the logo and is compliments of the Palace Hotel.  Must be where our family stayed or they just visited that grand old dame of a hotel.  Here is a little history on this hotel from Wikipedia.

The Palace Hotel is a landmark historic hotel in San Francisco, California, located at the southwest corner of Market and New Montgomery streets. The hotel is also referred to as the “New” Palace Hotel to distinguish it from the original 1875 Palace Hotel, which had been demolished after being gutted by the fire caused by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The present structure opened on December 19, 1909, on the same site as its predecessor. The hotel was closed from January 1989 to April 1991 to undergo a two-year renovation and seismic retrofit. Occupying most of a city block, the now century-old nine-story hotel stands immediately adjacent to both the BART Montgomery Street Station and the Monadnock Building, and across Market Street from Lotta’s Fountain.

The Palace Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The cards are numbered so in spirit of that I am displaying them in that order.  Enjoy!

South view of Court of Palms – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Court of the Sun & Stars – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Spring – in the Court of the Four Seasons – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Court of Palms – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Court of the Sun and Stars – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Arch of the Rising Sun – Court of Sun and Stars – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Machinery Hall – North view – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

When the World Was Fair booming statistics

This humble blog about Worlds Fairs has seen a huge jump in visitors.  In December 2015 I had about 4 visitors a day. This December it has jumped to about 20 a day. I was shocked to see that just in November and December I have had over 1,150 visitors … compare this to all of 2015 at 950.

What is up with this? Is there that much nostalgia for World’s Fairs? Or is there is something else afoot?

Could it be the name of the blog? “When the World was Fair” and anther clue is that most folks that have touched this site are predominately from the USA.

Then it hit me!! It is all the discourse in our nation. People are landing here because they are looking for something that is missing.

I hope my Worlds Fair Memorabilia blog will give you a little smile. That you came here to find something to sooth your feeling of justice lost. Not that I am the best at political dialog but if you wish to say a few words on why you got here, I would be most appreciative.

And while you are here, stop and look around.  You might find my main blog even more interesting.  It is all about Crows, Nature, my rambling around Seattle and some historical articles on things like Longacres Ruins.  Crows of Arroyos

Thanx for visiting & come back soon.

Jr Airline Flight Bag – Seattle Worlds Fair

A new treasure to share with everyone. This is a small child size airline flight bag with Seattle Worlds Fair logo and graphics on it. That dates this around 1961 or 1962.

I am not sure if this was a give away at the fair or by an airline.  It seems a bit expensive to be free so perhaps it was purchased in Seattle during the fair.

Here are more views of what it looks like.  Do let me know if you have any information on this little flash from the past.

Jr Airline Flight Bag bottom

Top of Jr Flightbag

Side view Jr Flightbag

Seattle Worlds Fair Jr Flight Bag

Alaska Yukon Pacific 1909 Mason Badge

Every day at the AYP was a special day for an organization or group. On June 15, 1909 it was designated the Order of Eastern Star, Grand Lodge Free Day and Accepted Mason Day.

One has to imagine that the gentleman who owned this badge attended the fair on that day.

AYP Mason Badge 1909

Part of finding Worlds Fair memorabilia requires detective skills. This badge came to me while I was looking through silver spoons for a Seattle Worlds Fair spoon.  The Estate Sale lady said she thought one was in the case. So, they let me rummage around in the 30 or so spoons. While I was doing that I saw this badge.

AYP struck me right between the eyes. They didn’t know that it was from the first Seattle World’s Fair.  Just that it was a mason badge and had some value. Boy did it stand out to me. I forgot the spoon search and snagged it up.

I won’t go into what the symbols on it mean except the R&SM stands for Royal & Select Master.

It isn’t too large but it is made of a heavy metal. Rather sturdy in its pin. Made to last.

Slightly shy of 3 inches – Mason AYP Medal

The back even has engraving on it. Plus a glimpse of the pin.

back of AYP Mason Badge

Collecting World’s Fair items can make me go into a time warp. Makes one ponder how much the world has changed in 108 years since the Mason who wore this to the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exhibition. He would be lost in our world and we in his.

 

Seattle World’s Fair – Official Medal Collection

How about a higher end memorabilia item? Nothing says spending a bit more to remember an occasion than the official medals of an exposition.

The hunt for my Mini Museum is as much the fun of it as actually possessing the items. When I find something so very different I get pretty dang excited.

This is how the medal find came down. The last weekend of estate sales was the weekend before Christmas. I went to two of them. The first was nice and I bought an eclectic set of things – a metal spatula, a WWII Rand McNally map and a small Space Needle Tie Tack (missing the back end and kind of degraded in general).

The second one was at a site where estate sale companies hold their events when the person does not want it in the house or they have excess items to dispose of. This one was a mixture of several sales. It had lots of jewelry, expensive art, collectables and a huge NASCAR cast cars collection.

While browsing the jewelry I told the lady I collected Worlds Fair items. She perked up and grabbed an item I had totally missed. The Official bronze Medals bound in a little book made specifically for them.  Just like a fancy coin collection should be.

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It was a good price but still expensive. However, now that I have collected all the glasses, plates and small items I can find, these more top shelf items are very enticing. I asked the main guy to give me a deal and he did.  I left it at the check out table and went browsing the rest of the sale. As I wandered around he came back to me and said the magic words… everything is half off now and the deal just got really reasonable for me.

Ok – enough of the hunt story and my bargain.  Here are the Commemorative Medals book pages in greater detail.

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This set is the bronze version. They were made in gold, silver and bronze. According to the Seattle World’s Fair Collectors site (62worldsfair.com) they made only 4 sets of the gold, 15,000 silver and 40,000 bronze. They were the high relief type and came in a 9 coin set. The Gold were not for sale and one is in the Smithsonian. Silver was $112.50 and the Bronze was $28.50. I paid slightly more than the original price for my set and they are listed between $225 to $120 when I researched them.

If you want to learn more here is the link to the collectors site – World’s Fair Collectors – Medals

My favorite is the star coin “the Space Medal” minted at the US Mint and designed by the famous designer & sculptor George Tsutakawa. This was to commemorate the first “Space Age World’s Fair”.

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Century 21 Bronze High Relief Medal front face- 1962

The reverse is even better. The front commemorates the fair with the logo and space needle on top of the Washington State Pavilion (aka Coliseum or Key Arena). The reverse is the artists expression of outer space. It is timeless art in how he crafted the design. The book highlights it with cosmic illustrations and mankind’s adventure into the unknown far away from his home on earth.

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George Tsutakawa quote – Seattle Worlds Fair Space Medal

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Space depicted in Seattle Worlds Fair Medal by Tsutakawa

As a child of the 1960s, I am still fascinated by man’s exploration into space. Man walked on the moon not too many years after I visited the Century 21 Exposition. The medal collection brings back all the memories of black and white televisions wheeled into the classroom to watch a space launch.

The rest of the collection highlights all the key exhibitions and sights of the fair with their reverse showing the Century 21 logo (top feature photo).

The Space Needle and Monorail are at the top of the arrangement.

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Next comes the middle tier with the Million Dollar Display (where these medals were sold) along with a huge coin collection, the World of Century 21 (the Washington State Pavilion) and the World of Science (the US Science Pavilion now the Pacific Science Center).

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US Science Pavilion – Seattle WF – designed by Minoru Yamasaki

The bottom row is World of Commerce, World of Entertainment and World of Art. They are all stylized views of large areas of the fair grounds.

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Thank you for visiting my Worlds Fair Blog. Hope you enjoy my rambling around the Seattle area in search of all things that are World’s Fairs Memorabilia.

Brochure Backstage USA “Peep” – my holy grail find

Many do not know that the Seattle Worlds Fair had an adult entertainment area in the northeast dead-end corner of the fair. Ironically the PBC affiliate KCTS for Seattle now has its facility on this piece of land.

For years I have coveted and sought the pink brochure from the Backstage USA exhibition. It had a very distinct poodle logo on it that draws my attention as a collector of Worlds Fair memorabilia. It had slipped thru my hands at least two times.

First when a private estate sale family member told me they had it and told me to come back later. When I returned another family member pretty much told me that her sister had no right to sell it and made me get off the porch.

My other time was an on-line auction. This piece often sells for over 100 dollars. That is a little steep for my blood so I went for a low ball bid. The seller and I went back and forth once more but my bid was still too low.  Dang… foiled again.

To my surprise this week my friend who collects and attends estate sales like I do to collect, came to my office. We had agreed he would buy for me a frosted Seattle Worlds Fair glass that he had seen at an Antique Mall. I did not have the one he saw and it was a vivid blue scene of the whole fair with Mt. Rainier in the background. A great visual piece.

When he came in to deliver the glass he held out this paper bag.  In it was my holy grail… the pink poodle brochure. I had that collector jolt of adrenaline and jumped up and down. This is what makes long-term collecting should be! And he got it for even less than I tried to bid on the one on-line.

So.. on to what this treasure looks like. Here is a full set of photos of my treasure. It has bare breast nudity. To those sensitive to this that view my blog I have covered those areas.  Hope you don’t mind my hot pink block outs.

First the cover is pink, has a poodle logo and is stylized like most burlesque or Las Vegas type girl shows brochures look.

front of Backstage USA Brochure

front of Backstage USA Brochure

Open up the brochure and this lovely in white feathers very reminiscent of French burlesque dancers is on the first page.

Peep show girl posing - this photo is used in many articles about Show Street - Seattle WF

Peep show girl posing – this photo is used in many articles about Show Street – Seattle WF

Turn the page and you will see all the acts, credits, who the girls/ladies are and more of the pink poodle logo. This also a common presentation.  I have a brochure from the Stardust in Las Vegas which is a few years before the Seattle World’s Fair. This page is very similar.

Peep Presented by Jack D Matlack playbill - 1962

Peep Presented by Jack D Matlack playbill – 1962

Next we are treated by artful photos of the most beautiful girls in the show. These are in color and again the poodle logo is there posed in both male and female stances.  Here I have covered the bare bosoms.

Girls in the Backstage USA - Seattle WF 1962

Girls in the Backstage USA – Seattle WF 1962

The next pages tell the story of how they auditioned their dancers and found the gorgeous ladies.

Brochure pages on real photos of auditions for the girls

Brochure pages on real photos of auditions for the girls

Brochure pages on real photos of auditions for the girls at Backstage USA - Seattle 1962 WF

Brochure pages on real photos of auditions for the girls at Backstage USA – Seattle 1962 WF

It is center fold time next. Here the ladies are posed with Greek columns in an assortment of lovely costumes. I have done a little coverage here too.

Centerfold of the Peep Show brochure - Seattle Worlds Fair 1962

Centerfold of the Peep Show brochure – Seattle Worlds Fair 1962

More of the story of how they built the exhibition is on the next two pages. They use the words vast and lavish. It tells us the facade of the building was 20′ tall and 70 feet long. Twenty artist worked on the designs and the blueprints (yes real paper) weighed 50 pounds and made a 3 foot high stack.

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Backstage USA brochure explains how it was designed to be lavish and vast

More girls posed Playboy like are on the next two pages. More modest pink paper strips on the bare parts.

Pinup girls at the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair Backstage USA show

Pinup girls at the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair Backstage USA show

Partial nude girls in the Peep show - Seattle WF 1962

Partial nude girls in the Peep show – Seattle WF 1962

The brochure now shows us how they show the attendee the backstage experience.

"Most beautiful girls in orbit" at the Seattle Worlds Fair 1962

“Most beautiful girls in orbit” at the Seattle Worlds Fair 1962

Backstage USA photos of how the attendees can see behind the scenes

Backstage USA photos of how the attendees can see behind the scenes

The last page tucked in the back because it is not full of naked girls and ladies is an artist rendering of the building facade.

Seattle World's Fair Backstage USA Peep Building - 1962

Seattle World’s Fair Backstage USA Peep Building – 1962

The back of the brochure has the poodle and the Space Needle.  That is the first photo in the article that I used as a teaser.

There you have it. My great find due to a little kindness. Yes collecting is an adventure aided by others niceness to each other. Not only is there the thrill of the hunt but there is an interaction between participants both sellers and buyers.

This reinforces my main blog’s tag line – “Rambling Free of Technology”.  By being engaged with others and putting down our phones we learn and find great things in this life. If you are unfamiliar with my nature and history blog you can find it at “Crows of Arroyos” or Batgurrl.net.