Ephemera articles and stories that will
educate, inspire, and delight!


We Are All One

by Richard Sheaff
To make a personal long long story very very short, I was a stamp collector before I was an ephemera collector. But the more 19th-century stamps on envelopes I saw, the more I began finding my eyes roving to the left, finding myself less interested in the postage stamp at…

A Towering Eyeful

by Richard Sheaff
The Eiffel Tower in Paris celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2014. Built in 1889, the Eiffel Tower served as the entryway arch and, at over 1,000 feet tall, the centerpiece of the 1889 World’s Fair. It remains to this day an immensely popular tourist attraction. The Liebig company put out…

Whale Washing

by Richard Sheaff
Today as I write, this large, reverse-painted-on-glass nineteenth-century advertising sign is to be auctioned by Morphy’s. The image of a whale being cleaned by Soapine is one of those truly classic vintage images, and variations on the theme are popular collectibles. (For that matter, any item of 19th-century ephemera featuring…

Yankee Peddler

by Richard Sheaff
In an earlier blog, I made the point that the “separate hobbies” of collecting paper, stamps, postal history, prints, and antique objects are often—perhaps always—part of the same historical trail, one encompassing hobby. Some folks chose to focus in one or another aspect, others collect a bit of everything. The…

Scratching the Surface

by Richard Sheaff
So many kinds of interesting ephemera, so little time. I find match scratchers, a useful thing to have on hand back in the day of ubiquitous wooden matches, to be pretty interesting. There are all sorts of ceramic and other pottery match scratchers (also called match strikers) out there; those…