Collecting Pinup Travel Decals


It is always interesting to remember what trig­gered a collecting interest. Mine began in 1954 when my family took a road trip from Burbank, Cali­fornia to Frankfort, Kentucky to visit my grandpar­ents. As a family, we made that trip every summer from 1954 to 1959 when we finally moved to Ken­tucky permanently.
Much of our road trip was on Route 66 and with 4 kids in the car we made frequent stops at gas sta­tions, (my mother insisted that we stop only at ones that had a “clean restrooms” sign out front), diners for lunch and always an early stop for the night at a motel. It seemed at every stop there was a small gift shop and n every gift shop there was a rack of travel decals for sale for 10 to 15 cents. I guess it was nat­ural for a boy of 10 to be attracted to the beautiful pinup decals and I began adding them to my collec­tion each year as we traveled. Fortunately my parents didn’t want me putting them on the windows of the car so they survived over the years and unlike my baseball cards, they didn’t get thrown out.
Over the years they were stored away nicely as my life was filled with school and grown up things. In 1991, I picked up a copy of Coast to Coast, The Best of Travel Decal Art by Rod Dyer & Brad Benedict. Each page brought back a flood of memories of those road trips and the travel decals I collected.
With this renewed interest I got my decals out of their resting place and began determining what I had and what I would need to complete my collection. I quickly determined that there were 5 sets I wanted to collect. Here are the great series.

MISS AMERICA SERIES – This beautiful set begins with Alabama #MD-419 and ends with Wyoming #MD-466.  In addition I have found one very rare decal marked as a Miss America Series for the Indianapolis 500 and reorder #MD-573.

I am missing 4 decals from completing my Miss American set:  #1 Miss Connecticut (#MD-424); #2 Miss Delaware (#MD-425); #3 Miss New Hampshire (#MMD-445) and #4 Miss Rhode Island (#MD-455).


This set of pinup decals is equally as nice as the MD Series.

It also contains a picture of the state pinup along with a cute phrase.

This series starts with Alabama and ends with Wyoming.  Back of each

Decal is a record #beginning with WN-7221 for Alabama.


This is a very rare set of pinup decals depicting various pinups in GI related poses.

Among the decals are:  Flying High, G.I. Bundle, Fleets In and Semper Fidelis.

Each of the Armed Service Builders decals had on the back “Armed Services Moral Builders”

Along with instructions for applying as well as a reorder #.  The reorder # for Semper Fideli Is #MD-589.


This is also a very rare set of pinup decals depicting major league baseball teams of the time.

Each decal shows a pinup in a baseball uniform with the name of the team she represents.

Back of decal is (“Major League Baseball Cuties” and after the instructions for applying there is a
reorder#. Boston is reorder #MD-7201)

There are 16 de­cals in this set.


This is by far the largest set of pinup decals. There are really 3 different categories for these decals.

The first category contains road signs with beauti­ful pinup girls. The first one says “Danger Curves Ahead” and has a picture of a pinup girl. Each decal on the reverse says “Glamour Girl Series” and after application instructions, reorder # for this decal is MD-7000. There are 12 decals in this subset.

The second subset is a series of Glamour Girl de­cals that each pictures a pinup with a suggestive pose and comment. The first in this series if Girth Control. On the reverse side is “Glamour Girl Se­ries” and after application instructions is reorder #Girth Control is MD-7025. There are 12 decals in this subset.

The third subset consists of only 6 decals and each features a pinup and the name of an adult beverage. Hot Toddy is an example. The back says (“Glamour Girl Series”) with application in­structions and reorder # “Hot Toddy is reorder #MD- 7050.

Finally there is a West­ern subset consisting of 9 decals. Each of these decals has a Western theme such as the Go West Young Man decal. Again, on the reverse side is “Glamour Girls Series” and application instructions and reorder # The Go West decal is #MD-7155.

Lindgren-Tumer and others produced some won­derful pinup decals but the Miss America Series, William E. Noble, Moral Builders, Baseball Cuties and Glamour Girls decals are easy for collectors to identify and list because of the reorder numbers. These are fun to collect and perhaps you too, will have memories of them.

Always looking for travel decals – Contact me at: Bill Stone  –

What Souvenirs are Hidden in Your Home?


What souvenirs are hidden in your household drawers at home?

Very early souvenirs were just a relic from a place and often just trinkets to visitors. As more and more people travelled popular souvenirs such as etched spoons and postcards were the go to for mementos. When the middle class started to travel small souvenir businesses opened, which were close to major tourist destinations or stops along the way.
So, let’s get back to what may be hiding in the back of your household drawers. Might it be a postcard, a pennant from a ball game, matchbooks, scarfs or salt and pepper shakers?

In fact about 60 years ago friends who traveled would bring me a set of salt and pepper shakers from the places they traveled. They were fun and different, so I fell in love with them and looked forward to them.

Today, the souvenir industry is still a multi-billion dollar industry and a huge part of tourism. Memories are a part of what connects us to the past and where we have been and what we have seen. Souvenirs are now very collectible and prices span from a couple of dollars to thousands of dollars. Collecting souvenirs has lots of options, as you could collect automobile tag toppers, fast food toys, souvenir plates, or posters and maps! You can collect a certain souvenir or all souvenirs from a particular place, the possibilities are really endless!

Enjoy some of these souvenirs from the past which have been offered for sale on

What to give someone who has everything.


Is your mail box full of catalogs, flyers and sale papers offering great gifts for friends and relatives? I don’t know about your mail box, but mine has been full of catalogues for the last several weeks… and we are still a couple of weeks away from Christmas. If you have special people in your life and you don’t know what size or color, we have some ideas to help.


Several years ago, I wanted to give our grown son something besides the normal clothes.  I finally came up with a gift no one else could give him.  Something that he would keep and enjoy for years to come.  It was something that Christmas is all about,…memories.  Ah ha, a book of picture memories.

Those boxes of pictures that are in the closet now were something that had meaning and something that would be treasured for years to come. 

In my case, several years ago, I had regular developed pictures and I scanned each picture and arranged in the kids age.  Perhaps you have pictures of relatives that have already passed away and you want your kids to see them.  Or maybe you have pictures on your phone, that would have memories for your family. 

I planned for 2 books, one for our son and one for my husband. For our son, I pulled baby pictures of the kids, past holiday pictures of the kids and put them in their growing order.  For my husband I did one of our memories of our marriage and the grandchildren.

Now is the time to get out those boxes of memories.  If you cannot afford or don’t have the time to do things on line, first go to your local craft some and get some of those black corners to hold photos in with.  Then get some paper and put together your memories.  Take to any office supply store or UPS / FED EX store and they will scan the pages for you and put together in a spiral bound book or other options.  Make as many copies as you want for gifts.   

There are also many companies on line, who have templates and you can upload your pictures from your camera and put into hard bound books.


A box full of things that they remember,  will bring laughs and smiles.  Here at we are full of memories.  Here are just a few ideas which will bring back memories to your friends and family.  Gift ideas:  a calendar of the year they were born, a vintage Santa, a tiny vintage Christmas stocking, just big enough for a gift card, a record that they remember from childhood, a toy or doll they remember playing with.  How about a postcard from the town or city they grew up in or a tradecard from a business that was in that town. 

With over 17,000 vintage items on and things starting at $5, how can you go wrong?  These are gifts you can’t find in any catalog or department  store. Something that is special from you!

Bathing Beauties


At the turn of the 20th century, there was a great cultural and societal shift.  As the Victorian era ended in 1901, the Edwardian era of King Edward VII and Art Nouveau, ushered in a new era for women.  Sharon Hope Weintraub, the author of ‘Bawdy Bisques & Naughty Novelties’ is quoted in a 2008 article saying, “I was fascinated by the wide variety of figurines and the creativity and workmanship that went into their manufacture. I was also intrigued with the way the bathing beauties reflected the loosening of moral, cultural, and sartorial restrictions on women between the 1890s and the 1920s.” 

Art Nouveau was a reaction to the academic art of the 19th century.  It took inspiration from natural forms and structures, particularly the curved lines of plants and flowers.  This trend was reflected in the fashions of the time as well.  Corsets were being discarded.  In this atmosphere of Art Nouveau, where nature is celebrated, so too was the human form celebrated.

Social and political change also brought more freedom for women.  WW1 saw more single women working as men were on the battlefield.  Bicycles gave women a new level of transportation independence.  In 1920, women won the right to vote. 

Free moving clothing allowed for more athletic endeavors.  Changing fashion also meant more relaxed dress of bathers in this period; less clothing that covered a woman’s shape also allowed for swimming.  A new appreciation of the female form gave birth to the bathing beauty.

 These little bisque pieces of art also represented the growing appreciation of vacationing by the sea.  What began in the 1890’s as a naughty item, soon became souvenirs of fun times spent on the beach, or at countless other summer vacation sites.  They were purchased by a new generation of adults who rejected the stiff rules and mores of Victorian etiquette.  This period lasted until the 1930’s.   

Bathing beauties are all bisque figures that have a bathing suit either painted on or are made of fabric.  The fabric used was a light netting or lace that often has disappeared over the decades.  That is why many bathing beauties are naked.  However, these women wear bathing caps and matching ballet type bathing slippers, indicating they also once wore a fabric bathing suit. 

The first example is a somewhat rare example.  Galluba and Hoffman was a leading manufacturer of these ladies. These figures have a dome head and wear a mohair wig.  It is very hard to find the wigs still intact. They are most likely to be reclining and have no base.  The poses are more complex, with limbs extended away from the body.  A makers mark may be incised on a part of the figure that was covered by the fabric suit.  The example shown was most likely manufactured about 1915.

Most of the beauties in my collection have painted swim suits, and painted hair with a bathing cap and matching bathing shoes.  The factory of Hertwig & Co., was one of the biggest manufacturers of bathing beauties of this type.  They are the most common beauties to be found.  Pink pre-colored bisque would be poured into a mold. Hertwig would use one basic mold to make different size ladies, with  added or subtracted materials.    So, these figures are found with wigs, and a multitude of different bathing suit colors and styles.  Some have suits made of the rough “snow” material similar to snow babies.  Arms were molded separately, and legs were often manipulated so that they could be sold in several different poses. Some bathers appear standing on a base, often with the name of the vacation spot printed on it.  Most of these figures are part of the 5000 series mold mark, and were mostly made in the late 20’s into the early 30’s.

Some of the most difficult bathing beauties to find are ladies emerging from sea shells, or laying on top of a turtle.  Most often, they ended up at the bottom of an aquarium, where they languished until the aquarium was thrown out or given away.  Many of these are from the 1930’s and were cold painted.  This means the paint was added after firing, and the paint easily wore off.  Care should be taken when cleaning them.  You may inadvertently wipe the paint off along with the dirt.

Other souvenirs incorporated the bathing beauty into a utilitarian souvenir for vacationers to buy.  They are found as pin cushions, lamp bases, vases, match holders; or posing on top of candy boxes, pin dishes, powder and trinket boxes.  The pictures shows a Bathing beauty created by atop a cushion that creates a porcelain powder box, with the Sitzendorf Porcelain Factory makers mark. Desirability is based on scarcity and quality of the piece.  The quality of facial painting is very important.  Like pin cushion dolls, the more limbs extended away from the body and the more complicated the pose; means that it required multiple separate molded parts.  They are more likely to be broken and damaged. 

Thanks to our guest blogger: Miriam (Mickie) Feiden. Check out her web store:

How Collectors Decorate their Homes and Men Caves


As a collector myself, I know what it means to feel comfortable in a home (note I did not say a house). Our home is decorated with things I love and feel comfortable with. I live with history and things that remind me of a simpler time and memories. The great thing about collectors is that they are a community of people who have the same passion. A passion to collect and live with their collections.

It does not matter what you collector or how you display it or even if it is in a box, your collection is personal and cannot be found in a big box store. I have been very honored to have been invited into many collectors homes to share their passion. These collectors enjoy showing their collection and letting me take photos. I hope you enjoy these collection’s pictures as well as give you some ideas on how to display and enjoy collecting. No matter if you like country, a theme or have a formal home…home is where the heart is!

Toy Trains Through the Years


Many books have been written about toy trains, but I will confine my article to the most popular 0 Gauge which measure 1 1/4″ between the inside of the rails. Other gauges include the smaller HO and S (American Flyer), and the larger Number 1 and 2, Standard and G (Garden or Grubbe).

Toy trains were developed in the U.S. back before the Civil War by George Brown. They were windup clockwork as electricity was many decades ahead. In Germany, Marklin became the first company to make toy trains with actual tracks. Their early 20th century trains and accessories are some of the best quality ever made and often sell well into the five figures.

Lionel Trains, the most popular of all makers, started in 1901 by Joshua Lionel Cowen.

In 1915, he introduced the 0 Gauge and set the standard for electric train sets as more and more homes had electricity. The decade from 1910 – 1919 was a booming growth time for Lionel. In 1926, he bought Ives Trains, an excellent toy train manufacturer that came with the reversing unit that allowed trains to change direction. The company suffered during the depression in the 1930s but came back strong after WWII. The pre WWII locomotives are still highly desirable and hard to find in very good condition.

Lionel 225E with 2235T pre War 2-6-2 steam locomotive and tender

In 1946, Lionel introduced smoke for the steam engines. By the early 1950s, Lionel was at its peak, but Television started to grab everyone’s interests.

The 1960s were a period of social changes in America and interest in toy trains was dying. Cowen died in 1965 and the company filed for bankruptcy in 1967. By 1973, the company became part of the General Mills Fun Group.

Lionel Gulf Tank Car and Louisville & Nashville Searchlight Car

The 1960s were a period of social changes in America and interest in toy trains was dying. Cowen died in 1965 and the company filed for bankruptcy in 1967. By 1973, the company became part of the General Mills Fun Group.

In 1985, General Mills sold Lionel off to Kenner Toys and a year later, Richard Kughn of Detroit bought Lionel Trains. In 1992, Neil Young bought into the company and helped rejuvenate the line with the Trainmaster Control system. Kughn sold out in 1995. In 2006, Lionel bought K-Line and started manufacturing their trains. The company moved its headquarters to Concord, NC.

Some Terminology:
Box Car – an enclosed railroad car that carried commodities
Couplers – hardware that joins the cars of a train
Flat Car – a freight car that is not enclosed
Gauge – the distance between the rails
Rolling Stock – freight, passenger, or maintenance cars
Reefer – a refrigerator car

Identifying Lionel trains, e.g. 2-6-4 means that the locomotive has one axle and 2 wheels up front, 6 wheels on 3 axles that drive the engine, and 4 wheels on 2 axles that support the firebox.

Of course, there are other fine trains that can be bought in today’s auctions and online, including Marx, American Flyer, MTH, and K-Line. Personally, I really enjoy the post WWII models as they as rugged and well built, and if taken care of, will last a long time. Some of the modern locomotives by Lionel and MTH can be found for over $1000 and they are very well made and realistic.   

Model trains have maintained their prices well over the past 10 – 15 years in comparison to some of the pressed steel and windup toys that have gone down in value. When I go to auctions, I always check the condition of the trains, especially the locomotives. Look for any wear and tear on the sides, broken parts such as wheels and lights, and make sure that all the parts are there. I always check out the engines on my own track and transformers when I get home. In the past 5 years, I only bought 2 or 3 engines that did not run well. Some of the rolling stock can be quite expensive and Lionel made some outstanding accessories such as the coal loader, automatic gateman, icing station, and light up stations.

Lionel Commemorative Rolling Stock #9431

The thing I like best about buying and selling toy trains is that does remind me of the many hours that I spent back in the 1950s and 1960s playing with my Lionel and American Flyer trains. The joy of making new layouts for my trains or going with my mother (usually) to the local department store and buying a new accessory is Lionel 225E with 2235T pre War 2-6-2 steam locomotive and tender long winters so much of my time was spent indoors. Of course we did not have computers and TV started in the late afternoon. You really had to use your imagination back then.

For more information, check out the Train Collectors Association. Steve Soltan, our guest blogger and his trains that he has for sale can be found at


Illuminating The World

Imagine your only light source in the black of night being a candle or oil-burning lamp? For centuries that was the source available to most people. Brilliantly, in 1896 Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb (created in 1879) and George Leclanche’s battery (created in 1866) were put to use in a portable, hand held devise known as the FLASHLIGHT.

The name FLASHLIGHT originates from the early weak carbon filament and weak batteries these devises held. Early lights would only “flash” light briefly and only had a ring or tab switch which had to be pressed against the metal to make the electrical connection. Later, flashlights would see improvements in the batteries and bulbs and could illuminate for up to two straight hours.

Assortment of Early Winchester Flashlights

Assortment of Early Winchester Flashlights

The American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company was one of the first and most successful companies to make these early flashlights. A large part of their success came from the realization that they could not just make the flashlight as a stand-alone product, therefore, they invested heavily in making their own batteries. Flashlight batteries would have to constantly be replaced which generated impressive sales for the company. These high sales rocketed the company, now known as EVEREADY, to the most successful flashlight company in the world.

Everready Display

My passion for collecting these illuminating beauties may have sprouted during my youth growing up in the north woods of Michigan…no street lights, no yard lights. Of course, my father had several flashlights for us to use when we would venture out into the darkness. They were not the best flashlights, however, as a kid I would have fun using them to cut a bright hole into the darkness and find my way. My father and I would often go hunting, fishing and camping. For all of these journeys our trusty flashlights were right by our side.

Since those early childhood days, I have become an addicted antique collector. My focus has been antique soda advertising, early bottles, vintage perfume bottles, antique oak furniture and Winchester items.

Approximately two years ago, I purchased my first Winchester flashlight and as any addiction goes, I have been trying to amass a first class flashlight collection since. Those fun childhood memories of cutting through the darkness with a trusty flashlight came flooding back. The older and more unique the flashlight…the better for me. I have been fortunate to acquire some of the earliest flashlights ever made. I have also been lucky enough to find early electric candlesticks. These were the perfect devise to help people transition from carrying candles to utilizing this new, much safer technology.

A wagon full of Winchester Flashlights and other Winchester Collectibles.

After acquiring a large and varied collection of flashlights, I’ve now decided to focus on early Winchester and Eveready items. Pictured is a portion of my flashlight collection. One of the most fascinating things about collecting flashlights is the incredible variety of different designs that have been created such as bicycle lights, vest lights, table top lights, penlights, projector lights, mini lanterns, toy gun lights, purse lights, and the list goes on and on. There is a light for every need in every size.

Assortment of Different Early Flashlights
Case full of solid Copper, brass and bronze Winchester Flashlights

Equally enticing is the incredible amount of flashlight advertising, which is extremely collectable and beautiful. Even the old batteries are now collectable and can be worth quite a bit of money.

It has been a fun and illuminating experience searching out these useful and often beautiful pieces of history. There is nothing like holding a solid copper flashlight in the palm of your hand, flipping the switch and having it brighten the room. They just don’t make them like they used to. Antique flashlights are truly little works of functional art.

Thanks to guest blogger – Kevin Kissel