In this article, I answer WHERE you can find vintage ephemera to start your collection. I will take you through a step-by-step process to help you with this tedious endeavor you are about to take on. We will start out by reviewing the basics followed by places where you can find and collect vintage memorabilia.
Where can I find Ephemera?
When I was younger, walking into our garage or attic felt like entering a treasure trove of memories. These stacks of boxes filled with journals, birthday cards, and other memorabilia are usually forgotten for years – that is until it is time to move. While packing up these memory-filled boxes we offer odes of remembrance; “Do you remember this?” and “I forgot about that!” After serving their purpose of transporting us to the past, every journal, birthday card, picture, and doily are gently placed back into a battered box and thrown into another garage or attic only to be forgotten until the next move.
We hold onto these objects as if letting go of them erases the memory tied to it when in reality the memorabilia could become a new-found hobby or a source of profit – given that you take the time to find out how. You might be asking, “How can my old boxes contain anything worth even a penny when everything is so sentimental?” Now that you are asking this question, keep reading – I have the answer!
First, let’s review the basics. According to Rare Book Buyer,“…items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity,” are known as ephemera.
Curious about what is considered to be ephemera? Ephemera Catalog has a list of items that qualify, such as: postcards, cookbooks, sheet music, and travel brochures. Surely, you will find something with worth!
Within ephemera there exist sub-topics such as; ephemera art, video, and audio ephemera, and vintage ephemera. This article will focus on vintage ephemera, mainly because collecting this type of ephemera can be both an interesting hobby and a lucrative venture. For more information on what ephemera is, go to So You Want to Know More About Ephemera.
We live in a world filled with technology where everything is being converted to a digital format. One can only imagine that the price of any ephemera, vintage or not, will increase in value as the years pass. With this in mind, start saving movie tickets and brochures now! Just like investing, only the passing of time will tell how valuable these memorabilia will be one day.
Finding Vintage Ephemera
Second, think of possible places where you can find and collect unique vintage ephemera. Whether you’re looking to collect or to sell, you’ll have to start by collecting items. We’ve researched and created a list below that mentions some places that you might find to bring you success! Bear in mind, that collecting a large amount of valuable ephemera could take years, so be patient.
- Go through your old boxes and determine if you might have anything worthy of being ephemera. Did you find any postcards, stamps, old cookbooks, or advertisements? If so, add it to your collection! Don’t allow it to take up any more garage or attic space. After all, if that garage or attic space can be turned into extra spending money or a fun hobby, what’s stopping you?
- Don’t be afraid to ask grandma and grandpa if you can search through their boxes. That is – if you aren’t having any luck finding vintage ephemera in your own boxes. I will extend a *word of caution* if you should pursue this option; make sure you are honest with grandma and grandpa – not only in asking for permission to take what belongs to them but in what you will be doing with it. Let them know that it could bring cash value instead of sitting in the garage to rot.
- Ephemera events actually happen! Who knew! Click here on Our First Ephemera show to learn about our friends experience going to an ephemera show in Phoenix, Arizona. She even includes the inside scoop and for any rookies to the hobby of ephemera. We also found this webpage called Book & Paper Fairs – Top book and ephemera fairs in the Northeast U.S. I definitely encourage you to check out this website to see if any of these fairs are close to you!
- eBay is a website where a plethora of vintage ephemera can be found and purchased. Search “ephemera” and over 10 pages of results show up. It can also be a pretty cheap place to start your collection of vintage ephemera.
- Etsy is another website most of us online shoppers are familiar with, but did you know that there are shops on Etsy that sell vintage ephemera? The prices start as low as two dollars! Go check it out for yourself.
- Rare Book Buyer is a website that offers free evaluations on old books which can lead to cash offers. If you’re looking to sell some old books, this is the website for you! Turns out, there are companies that invest in and are currently searching for vintage ephemera.
- Ephemera Catalog sells and buys vintage ephemera. They even sell their own line of products for the protection and care of ephemera as it can become fragile over time.
- Local Auctions can be a surprising way to find vintage ephemera. There exist auctions that are specific to ephemera, so keep that in mind when searching for a local auction. You wouldn’t want to make the mistake of showing up to a car auction!
- Antique Stores might strike you as an odd idea when most antiques are objects instead of printed material. When dealing with ephemera, you have to search high and low!
- Libraries are another place to find vintage ephemera if you’re interested in books. Believe it or not, libraries are often looking to get rid of books! With such a fast-paced world, more and more contributing information to different subjects results in books with outdated information. Stop at your local library and ask if you can look through those books. Who knows, you might find some priceless books! Once you have the books in your possession don’t forget to have them appraised. Having an appraisal could open doors to a pretty penny.
- Yard/garage sales can be a jewel in finding vintage ephemera. Dedicate a couple weekends and drive around to find yard sales close to you. Grandma and grandpa might not mind you asking to go through their boxes, but your neighbors might! Yard sales are a perfect way of going through your neighbors “boxes” without getting a weird look. Just think of the boxes and bins the seller has sorted through, deciding what is trash and what should be kept. Many times they will not realize they are getting rid of a prized piece of ephemera. Once again, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Comment below if you have had luck finding vintage ephemera in any other places not listed above. We would love to hear about what you’ve discovered in your journey of collecting vintage ephemera!