Ephemera Collecting: Finding the Extraordinary Through the Usual

Collecting ephemera is an activity that requires more than the usual amount of care when handling each item. That’s because most of these collectibles are made of paper. For example photographs, postcards, ticket stubs, newspapers, and lobby cards are just a few of the many types. Simply put, ephemera are items that are usually designed to be important and practically useful for a certain period of time. A concert ticket, for example, can only be useful only up to the time that a person uses it to enter the venue. Then, it’s being kept because of the memory it produced and the dreams that have been attached to it.
In order for something to be considered to be ephemera it is:

• Originally produced to be used for immediate and practical purpose, without the original intention that it would be preserved, giving it an “ephemeral existence”.
• It falls between the areas of traditional collecting and librarianship. This means that they are not literature, “art” in the strictest sense, and antiques.
• Because of its amazing diversity, the collection is able to document the everyday ordinary lives of people, perhaps even more effective as compared to the usual collectibles.

Basically then on many levels, everything that was previously considered of very little value can turn out to be a treasure. Today, the Ephemera Society of America has been in existence for 3 decades, and has featured numerous extraordinary shows that feature the seemingly ordinary materials of people. Just like other facets of the collector’s world, each piece of document tells a story of the recent or far past. As a matter of fact, what makes these things valuable is the ability by which they were able to document a snapshot of yesterday. A showroom that featured newspaper clippings about the advertisements in the 1950s, for example, showed the inherently patriarchal nature of capitalism during that time. Products that aimed to advertise to male customers either portrayed women as the weaker gender, or people who do not have their own stances in life. Today, these clippings are the biggest proofs to the struggles of the feminist movement, and the reminder of the journey that they still have to go through.
In the end, it is safe to say that collecting ephemera can be both easy and complicated to do. There are a lot of possible materials out there, but they all run the risk of being perceived to be, well, just ordinary things. The best way, then, is to find a story behind these ordinary things and make society understand them through the collection.

75 blue pieces vintage ephemera paper pack variety lot tickets stamps labels x
75 blue pieces vintage ephemera paper pack variety lot tickets stamps labels x
$10.00
Time Remaining: 8d 17h 41m
Buy It Now for only: $10.00
Lot of 43 old Victorian Paper-Valentines, Trade Cards-Ephemera-Scraps, etc.-j42
Lot of 43 old Victorian Paper-Valentines, Trade Cards-Ephemera-Scraps, etc.-j42
$19.95
Time Remaining: 27d 19h 40m
Buy It Now for only: $19.95
75 pc vintage ephemera paper variety box lot tickets stamps tan neutral pieces R
75 pc vintage ephemera paper variety box lot tickets stamps tan neutral pieces R
$10.00
Time Remaining: 18d 21h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $10.00
42 Antique Warranty Quit Claim & Mortgage Deeds 1836-1880s Vermont Ephemera Lot
42 Antique Warranty Quit Claim & Mortgage Deeds 1836-1880s Vermont Ephemera Lot
$31.00 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 49m
vintage ephemera paper pack variety lot tickets stamps labels purple 75 pc
vintage ephemera paper pack variety lot tickets stamps labels purple 75 pc
$11.00
Time Remaining: 18d 21h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $11.00
100 Vintage Fortune tickets from Swami Carnival Machine paper ephemera lot
100 Vintage Fortune tickets from Swami Carnival Machine paper ephemera lot
$10.00
Time Remaining: 24d 16h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $10.00
150 pc vintage ephemera paper pack variety lot tickets stamps labels game R
150 pc vintage ephemera paper pack variety lot tickets stamps labels game R
$11.99
Time Remaining: 29d 29m
Buy It Now for only: $11.99
Antique Ephemera 1890s Receipt Cincinnati College of Music Vintage school
Antique Ephemera 1890s Receipt Cincinnati College of Music Vintage school
$4.00
Time Remaining: 26d 14h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $4.00
1893 Antique Victorian Die Cuts Handwritten Autograph Book Ephemera
1893 Antique Victorian Die Cuts Handwritten Autograph Book Ephemera
$29.69
Time Remaining: 2d 48m



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