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I’ve Never Been There, But It Looks Nice: Collecting Travel Ephemera

A day without kids, just $20 to spend — what should we do? Well, there’s an auction in town…

For just $5 of that $20 I get me a nice old box of ephemera. The stuff of other people’s travels, everything from travel books & maps to unsent souvenir postcards and — believe it or not — table toppers proclaiming the drink minimums, but not the location.

Retro Drink Minimum Table Topper

Retro Drink Minimum Table Topper

These people saved everything, and I love them for it.

Here are a few of my favorite finds so far — I’m sure there will be even better gems once I slow down and really look at everything. (You can keep up with my sorting by watching my collection here.)

Unsent postcards from Harrah’s in Reno, publicity for TV’s “F Troop” in the Headliner Room:

F Troop Postcard

F Troop Postcard

The airline flight instruction card from TWA’s Convair 880 jet:

TWA Laminated Flight Card

TWA Laminated Flight Card

There were many copies of a brochure for Cleveland’s Terminal Tower Observatory — I dig this one for the arrow, presumably to illustrate to friends just how high they went in the tower:

Terminal Tower Observatory Brochure Marked With Arrow

Terminal Tower Observatory Brochure Marked With Arrow

The daily dinner menu from the Prince of Wales Hotel, 1962. Mmmm, the cold buffet features Ox Tongue.

1962 Prince Of Wales Hotel Menu

1962 Prince Of Wales Hotel Menu

Even if I could to afford to travel like these people, I’d never see what they saw. The places, logos and times have changed. In some cases they’re long gone. But since they saved all this ephemera, I can see it just as it was. It’s almost like traveling in a way… Of course, this way I don’t need to watch other people eat cold ox tongue. That’s a bonus.


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