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.

(4) 1876-1899 STATIONARY ENGINE Company ephemera letters, ORIGINALS
(4) 1876-1899 STATIONARY ENGINE Company ephemera letters, ORIGINALS
$9.99 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 4d 19h 59m
Lot  Red Bank Shrewsbury Keyport Monmouth County NJ billheads receipts ephemera
Lot Red Bank Shrewsbury Keyport Monmouth County NJ billheads receipts ephemera
$25.00
Time Remaining: 28d 13h 8m
Buy It Now for only: $25.00
ANTIQUE 1800'S VICTORIAN SCRAP CARD EPHEMERA MIDDLE EASTERN LADY
ANTIQUE 1800'S VICTORIAN SCRAP CARD EPHEMERA MIDDLE EASTERN LADY
$0.19 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 5d 18h 1m
Victorian Die Cut Native Indian with Hatchet
Victorian Die Cut Native Indian with Hatchet
$14.99
Time Remaining: 27d 15h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $14.99
Hudson Massachusetts 1879 Handwritten Diary, Trade Cards - Jeweler, Watch Repair
Hudson Massachusetts 1879 Handwritten Diary, Trade Cards - Jeweler, Watch Repair
$9.50 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 18h 14m
ANTIQUE DIE-CUT CHRISTMAS SCRAP ~ VICTORIAN SNOW ANGEL, RED HAT, GLOWING CANDLE
ANTIQUE DIE-CUT CHRISTMAS SCRAP ~ VICTORIAN SNOW ANGEL, RED HAT, GLOWING CANDLE
$8.00
Time Remaining: 9d 16h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $8.00
1853 Autograph Book Young Girl,H F Seminary,Hartford,Conn.HC,Leather,Gold Edge
1853 Autograph Book Young Girl,H F Seminary,Hartford,Conn.HC,Leather,Gold Edge
$12.99
Time Remaining: 29d 15h 55m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Lot Early 1900's - 1960 Ephemera Lot 300 pcs  Arcade Cards Holiday Pamphlets etc
Lot Early 1900's - 1960 Ephemera Lot 300 pcs Arcade Cards Holiday Pamphlets etc
$14.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 4d 18h 44m
ANTIQUE DIE-CUT SHAKESPEARE SCRAP ~ VICTORIAN HAMLET, SILVER CAPE, SWORD, DUEL
ANTIQUE DIE-CUT SHAKESPEARE SCRAP ~ VICTORIAN HAMLET, SILVER CAPE, SWORD, DUEL
$8.00
Time Remaining: 9d 16h 16m
Buy It Now for only: $8.00



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