November 29th 2022.
Next club meeting Monday 5th December 2022.
The activities will be as follows:
1. The main feature will be a mini coin fair for members to bring along items for sale.
2. A coin quiz, be sure to bring along a pen!
3. Members to bring along one or two items that for some reason are considered special (e.g. recent acquisition, a long sought after piece, an unusual find, an oddity etc.).
A brief written explanation as to why the piece is special to you.
4. Christmas buffet!
Meetings are held at the Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square, commencing at 7.00 p.m.
· Please continue thinking about Short Talks for January, and Auction lots for March
Our November talk was by Ross Farmer and was entitled ‘Antique Advertising’. Apologies were received from Tony Martin, Gavin Scott, Henry Stanbrook and Stuart Pope, the train strike really didn’t help.
Ross Farmer was welcomed back to the Club on 7 November to talk about his collection of antique advertisements and promotional material, common in shops up to the 1960s. Every collector starts somewhere. In his case, it was the discovery of old glass bottles thrown into ditches, sometimes 100 years ago, which he unearthed in the South-east years ago. These can still be found in good condition and many have a distinctive shape and carry the content’s description and manufacturer’s name – ginger beer from Dorking started the whole thing off, together with an enamelled sign.
In the mid-1880s, as literacy improved (and disposable income), traders sought to press home brands and benefits by providing retailers with a range of advertising gimmicks to support them, and to supplement the rapidly developing national and local press. To complement this, sellers used many symbols and/ or colours to make their products instantly recognisable, and this innovation continues today.
The range of these antique advertisements was very wide. The common external one was the enamelled signs, now much sought after, but when you got inside the shop or pub, the scope seemed unlimited. First the products themselves were sold in bottles, tins, carboard and wooden boxes; the shipping container itself was decorated to give the same branding, and miniature ‘giveaways’ were available on counters and bars, in case you had forgotten. These miniatures are particularly well-constructed, designed to attract the customers interest before a sale. By and large, this practice continued up to the Second World War, during and following which, austerity and shortages meant more constrained advertising, and also, eventually, a switch to television as the major advertising vehicle.
The range of products advertised was vast: Spratt’s, Buchanan’s Whisky, Fry’s, Grimwood’s ceramic rolling pin, with adverts, Jacob’s biscuits, Mazda, Cherry Blossom. Some now have their place in history – but we still have the Co-op
Ross illustrated his talk with examples from his collection. The care with which some of the examples were designed was impressive, but they also revealed a past rather different from now. Apart from the major household products, the attention given to smoking and drinking was huge. In those times adverts could be found – ‘smoking improves your health’, or Bovril cures anything, and included in a range of claims which were familiar to Club members.
Ross was warmly thanks for his talk and for allowing members to handle his collection of rare antique advertisements.