Searching Here In Allentown- At The Book & Paper Show With Postcards, Antique Advertising & A Real Black Bear

Things You Will Find At The Allentown Book & Paper Show

On a cloudless Saturday at eight forty in the morning, a line of about 200 eager men and women snaked its way around Agricultural Hall at the Allentown Fairgrounds in Allentown, PA.

They were anxiously awaiting the April 21 opening of the two day Allentown Book and Paper Show, an all encompassing smorgasbord of anything and everything collectible that has a relationship to paper.

On  the show floor a few minutes before 9:00 am,, show promoter Sean Klutinoty announced to the 170 dealers over the public address system, that the anxious crowd would soon be admitted. This was the cue for the dealers to return to their tables. They had set up their stalls the day before but quite a few dealers were scurrying about making some last minute purchases from one  another.

Searching through hundreds of thousands of postcards

At nine sharp, customers started filing in. Like bees who fly precise routes to pollinate flowers, the mad dash began for people to get to their favorite dealer. For those who do not have a special dealer to go to, there is a rush to visit each booth methodically row by row.

Each patron is searching for something particular and they ask dealers if they possess whatever special item they seek, before the competition, real or imagined, swoops in and beats them to it.

Another aisle of postcard row

If it made of paper and you cannot find it in Allentown that is the exception.

Unlike a book show where you have books and some ephemera, at a paper show there is literally no limit on what antiquity or modern collectible you may find.

!930s True Story magazines

Movie posters, photographs, stereoviews, advertising signs, magazines, books, broadsides, political memorabilia, records, sports cards, railroad timetables, comic books, brochures, manuscripts, letters, autographs, programs, matchbook covers, tens of thousands of postcards were among the dizzying array of items for sale.

Interesting books & ephemera from, Another End Books and The Montgomery Book Exchange

“I’m looking for views of local auto dealerships,” one enthusiastic postcard collector announced to a postcard dealer.”

“I believe we have some. Start looking in this box here,” came the reply.

Customers could spend a dollar or a thousand and walk away satisfied they had gotten a good deal.

Life Magazines, hundreds of them for $4 each.

I found some vintage National Lampoon magazines for less than a couple of bucks apiece, 100 New York postcards and a couple of old New York City tour books. Total cost, under $45.

Here are a few of the things that were at the show, some of them a bit unusual.

1950s original sex symbol records & album sleeves

While you may not think of phonograph records or vinyl as paper, the covers definitely qualify. And when you have Anita Ekberg, Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe or Bettie Page on the cover there are definitely going to be collectors who are interested.

Not that many people collect 100 year old underwear, but they do collect boxes that have eye-catching graphic advertising art on the covers.

Speaking of eye-catching, movie posters are abundant here, but you don’t see too many X-rated film posters. I haven’t heard of or seen French Kittens. As offensive as the art work for French Kittens might be considered today, the movie itself is probably rather tame compared to what is available online today.

I’m not quite sure why old telephones or a typewriter were here, but they were for sale and  ultra-retro cool.

Santa Claus and the bear

Finally, this was the one thing I don’t think anyone expected- the dealer who had a Santa poster next to a full sized stuffed black bear. How wonderfully strange.

The next Allentown Book and Paper Show takes place October 6 & 7, 2018.

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-Spam Quiz: