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Ephemera scans

Ephemera finds

Thought I’d share these scans of some of the vintage ephemera I’ve picked up from various markets recently. More in my growing Ephemera Flickr set, and if you fancy picking up some of your own, the next London Ephemera Society fair is rolling into town this Sunday, June 19th, in Bloomsbury.

Ephemera: alphabet book
Ephemera: alphabet book
Ephemera: alphabet book
Ephemera: alphabet book
Ephemera: alphabet book

A cute book of alphabets ‘for Ornamental Penman’. Some of these look quite strikingly modern giving the age of the book. My favourite part is the hand-calligraphed name in the front, and a child has scrawled an alphabet on the back page, so it’s obviously been well-loved over the years.

Ephemera: newspaper ads
Ephemera: newspaper ads

Some newspaper advertisement pages from the early 20th century. The copywriting on most of these is hysterical – makes modern advertising seem subtle and understated!

Ephemera: Wonder atlas
Ephemera: Wonder atlasEphemera: Wonder atlas

My favourite, a fabulously brash Fifties ‘Wonder Atlas’. The map colours are brilliantly vibrant inside, not yet faded down to pretty pastels like some of the time-bleached single pages I collect.

Ephemera: playing cards
some odd vintage playing cards — these would make nice greeting cards…

Ephemera: reproduction
I’ve also been having a go at recreating the vintage advertising typography style in Photoshop. All in the name of research for a new poster design I’m planning for my shop.. sign up to my e-newsletter (in the side column) to be the first to see it pretty soon.

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  1. Cap'n NikNak

    Wow, these are truly unique finds :) And such lovely photography! All the best for the new poster design :) xoxo

  2. Melanie K

    Beautiful, I love the colours on the Atlas pages.

  3. James

    The alphabets book is just lovely, how old is it, 20's or 30's perhaps? And I'm being a rather cheeky here, but if you could possibly scan and upload the Ray Cycles poster that you got earlier, I'd love to have closer look at it.

    Thank you anyway for sharing all these other treasures.

  4. grania

    gorgeous! i'm mentally framing that cod liver oil piece as we speak. as well as window-shopping for a bigger flat and more wallspace :(

  5. Molly

    Wow you have a very nice collection of things there! I liked the book of alphabets the best, my typography textbook I use for school is a lot like that.

    The copy was so funny in old advertisements! Reminds me of a Spam 'n Pancakes ad I found in an old life magazine:

    Thanks for sharing your ephemera!

  6. katie

    James, finally got that detail shot for you!

    There's no date on the alphabet book but I'd estimate 20s-30s too.

  7. Hello Katie,

    I am a collector of ephemera and I want to begin scanning my collection primarily for my own use. I need to inventory my collection as it is growing and it is not organized. Your scans are nice and I am curious as to what type of scanner you use and if you can offer any tips about scanning. Most of my collection consists of paper, from small labels to posters. I can’t afford a professional scanner, but I would like something that can take at least a format of 11 x 17. Any suggestions? I would appreciate any information you could offer. Thank you.
    Richard from across the pond

    • Katie

      Hi Richard,
      Most of these I actually photographed with my digital camera rather than scanning! They aren’t brilliantly high-res and I can’t really recommend a large flatbed scanner as I don’t have any experience of them. Good luck in your search…

  8. Nick Brienza

    Hi Katie! Don’t know if you still have them or any interest in them, but I think I’ve identified those vintage playing cards! They’re from a British card game from the interwar era, named “Lexicon”:

    Thanks for bringing this game to my attention!

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