Ephemera – Howard Reede-Pelling

This post is part of a series of short writings by a small writer on particular topics and stories named Howard Reede-Pelling, he lives in Victoria, Australia and is in his older age now. Here, he has written about ephemera.

Euphemera! What is it you may well ask? Fair enough! Euphemera is paperwork and the art of collecting it. Such as old tickets, newspapers, photographs, cuttings, programmes, posters postcards, in fact anything of historical value of our past in paper form. There are clubs and associations dedicated to it and indeed they hold exhibitions, displays, buy and swap stalls etcetera. Take for instance the 1956 Olympic Edition of the newspapers. A copy of the newspaper in mint condition is worth $100 – $1000. A boarding ticket for the Titanic (if one still existed) would possibly be in excess of thousands. A Ballroom Ladies Card for the Trocadero (now well demolished) would set one back hundreds of dollars. This is just a small sample of what euphemera collecting is all about.

A search through any drawer could well reward one with many items forgotten about in every home. People do not put much stock in such things and are very liable to pass them by as unworthy, not worth the effort; I must clear that drawer out some day! Be very careful, what you may regard as just a mundane scrap of paper, could be worth many dollars to a collector of trivia. It may pay you well, if when you do clean out that drawer, that you look up the appropriate clubs in the yellow pages and have an expert determine what is collectable and what is to be thrown out. Look before you leap is a well-known saying, never has it been truer than when clearing out rubbish.

Everyone knows how valuable those old tobacco cards are, they are euphemera! Look in any Antique Shop or a Second Hand Shop and you will see dozens of items of euphemera. They would not be there if there was not a quid to be gained by having them. It does seem to be a pity that not a great deal of interest has been engendered in the very real and profitable art of collecting euphemera.

It is one of those easily overlooked hobbies that so many people just ignore, until they realise the money-making potential! In the wonderful world of collecting euphemera, the collecting of cards is just one of a plethora of diversities. There are people who collect only newspapers for example, or magazines. (I had a valuable collection of T. V. Weeks, from Vol. 1 No. 1 up to ten years without missing an issue) which,
when disposed of, it brought more than the face value. I can recall a friend who has a similar story to tell of his collection of playing cards. Some of them dated back to the seventeenth century.
Have you the makings of a collection of Euphemera?

Howard Reede-Pelling.

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