The Northeastern United States has always been a hotbed for political collectibles shows. And the key to that area is the Keystone State of Pennsylvania.
The American Political Items Collectors (APIC) sponsors many of the political shows across the country, but only holds what the group calls its APIC National show every other year. This show rotates to different regions of the country. But every year, the two biggest shows are held in Harrisburg and Langhorne, in the south-central and southeastern parts of Pennsylvania respectively.
Next week, the Harrisburg 2012 show convenes. While this show can sometimes be slightly smaller on a year when the APIC National is in the Northeast or Midwest, the excitement of an election year should make up the difference. The show schedule includes:
Wednesday, June 27: All day room hopping
Thursday, June 28: All day room hopping, 5-7 p.m. hospitality suite for APIC members.
Friday, June 29: 8:30-9 a.m. dealer setup, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. bourse open to public, noon-4 p.m. members auction items on display, noon-2 p.m. silent auction, 6:30-7:30 p.m. members auction preview, 7:30 p.m.-end members auction.
Saturday, June 30: 6:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m. silent auction, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. bourse open to public, 2-3 p.m., dealer packup.
Room hopping is something you’ll find at nearly all APIC shows, and might be used in other hobby shows as well. Basically, dealers set out their sales stock in their rooms at the show hotel and collectors and other dealers come by to buy, sell and trade. Open rooms for selling are identifiable by room doors propped open with a political poster of some sort leaning against the door frame into the hallway. Some great items can be found by those who get their early, but not all dealers will be set up for room hopping, and sometimes there are more deals on items as the show itself progresses.
Harrisburg offers two types of auctions: the members auction on Friday night where dealers put in items to be sold in a traditional auction, and two silent auctions where anyone can consign items and bids are taken in writing as any silent auction.
The Best Western Premier Central Hotel and Conference Center, 800 East Park Drive, Harrisburg is the site of the show (exit 48, Union Deposit Road off I-83). Rates for show week are $93 a night for single or double rooms and can be made by calling 717-561-2800. There is also a free airport shuttle and continental breakfast. Questions about the show can be answered by emailing PolBandWgn@aol.com. The show also offers free appraisals of political items brought in by the general public, and a chance to have them auctioned off to the highest bidder if desired.
You don’t have to be strictly a political collector to enjoy this show. Advertising for the show notes that other categories of collectibles available will include patriotic, Civil War, World Wars, Vietnam, antique advertising, various pinbacks, comic character items, Disneyana, sports related (not cards) and other popular culture collectibles.
The Harrisburg show was previously held for many years in Hagerstown, Md., and in Carlisle, Pa. before that. The move to Harrisburg a few years back did nothing to dissuade collectors. Harrisburg again this year will be one of the top shows of the year. If you’re anywhere near south-central Pennsylvania next week, don’t miss this great show.