Website JournalJanuary 29, 2011 Updating my website only once a year is somewhat embarrassing, but I guess it's better than nothing! I'm still actively buying, trading, and selling pinbacks, but finding time to document my collection is a real challenge. With that said, I am constantly amazed how many people visit the site, contact me with questions, and voice their interest in this relatively obscure corner of the collectibles world. If and when my schedule permits monthly updates again, rest assured that I have years of backlogged material to add to my website...
For this update, I am returning to my favorite set of comic pinbacks: the Yellow Kid Admiral Cigarettes series. I have been working on this series of 154 pinbacks for more than 15 years, and I am happy (relieved?) to say that the end is in sight (I only need 6 more buttons to complete the run: 83, 86, 101, 127, 133, 137. Anyone? Anyone?). Of course, to make things as hard as possible, I also collect the variations of the series, including the pinbacks with blue copyright text (which indicate the initial production run) and the variations that have a standing easel frame.
As always, happy collecting!
January 15, 2010 One year later, I'm surfacing for air with another update to my pinback website. I did add some new features to the site, including a "Recent Updates" branch that shows the previous 12 pages of updates that I made to the site. I also changed the page layouts to show 4 pinbacks per row, a design decision that reflects the larger monitor sizes of modern computer displays.
I am adding ten new pinbacks to the website this month (ok, ok, this YEAR). Hopalong Cassidy, Krazy Kat, Joe Palooka, Tarza, and Mickey Mouse are all well-represented.
On a related note, I do want to offer my thanks to everyone who has written and wished me success with my new software business. The business is doing well - we build software that helps people connect, query, and visualize their data - and I consider myself quite fortunate to be doing something that I enjoy so much.
January 12, 2009 My four-year run of monthly website updates has unfortunately come to an end. I started a software business that is taking more and more of my time, and something had to give. I will continue to keep the website available as a free reference tool, and I do intend to update the content going forward, but monthly updates are certainly not going to happen for the foreseeable future. This decision was tough and in no way reflects on my enthusiasm for the hobby. In fact, it is accurate to say that I am currently adding more pinbacks to my collection than ever before.
In this update, I included an odds-and-ends assortment of characters, including Rocky Jones, Andy Gump, Popeye, and Harold Teen. I also finished the Newark Star-Eagle series with the addition of color and size variations for Etta Kett and Tailspin Tommy.
July 4, 2008 With the addition of 18 more pinbacks to my website, I have now finished documenting the Western Theatre series. To see all 50 buttons in the set, click here: Western Theatre pinbacks. Next month, I will turn my attention to some odds and ends that have accumulated in recent months. Until then, happy collecting!
June 16, 2008 Part two of the Western Theatre pinback series was added this month. There are some great comic characters represented here, including Popeye, Ella Cinders, Andy Gump, Jiggs and Maggie, Betty Boop, and the Katzenjammer Kids. I should note that Western Theatre buttons can also be found with variation in size (7/8" and 13/16") and color (red and red with yellow). The examples that I am listing on my website appear to be the most common variety.
May 12, 2008 This month, I'm adding the first 16 buttons of the Western Theatre series. I assume these pinbacks were given away during some kind of movie theatre promotion, and like the Kellogg's Pep pins, these buttons are lithographed and tough to find in nice condition. I've been patiently collecting the series for years, carefully upgrading whenever better examples appeared on the market. I only needed about 10 more pinbacks to finish the set when I chanced upon a complete set on ebay. Trading cash for a nice collection of pinbacks always makes me feel like I'm getting the better part of a deal. If you're a collector, you understand.
April 19, 2008 I'm still working on the transition to a new web hosting service, so if my website suddenly goes dark, please be patient. For the third month in a row, I am adding more Hassan/Tokio cigarette premium buttons, bringing the count to 46 examples documented on my website. Next month, I will start scanning the Western Theatre pinback series, which should be much easier to accomplish now that I actually completed the set. I'll certainly return to the Hassan/Tokio series in future updates, so keep watching my website if you need a fix for more child-tobacco-enticement memorabilia from the early 1900s. As always, happy collecting!
March 15, 2008 I added more Hassan/Tokio pinbacks to my website this month. I am also in the process of changing web hosting companies, which is the Internet-equivalent of hernia surgery. Wish me luck!
February 24, 2008 Starting this month, I will begin documenting the comic pinbacks that were given away with Hassan and Tokio cigarettes. This is an enormous series with hundreds of different examples and variations, and going forward for the next several months, I will concentrate on adding a nice selection of these multi-color buttons. I can't imagine why tobacco companies of the early 1900s would distribute premiums that appeal to children, but I'm sure they had their reasons...
Check out my Recent Additions page for 15 of these Hassan/Tokio cigarette buttons. Happy collecting!
January 26, 2008 I'm starting 2008 by adding a dozen new Yellow Kid pinbacks to my website. In a fit of organization, I also typed in the text for the 83 Yellow Kid buttons already on my site. Let's just say that the Kid's grammar, so eloquently splayed on his night shirt, is not the easiest thing to translate. Who knows? Maybe someone will find it useful to see the slang, sentence fragments, and language torture, as expressed by a late 19th-century street urchin...
In other news, Tom Gordon, editor of Scoop, was kind enough to interview me this month for his weekly collector newsletter. This is the second interview in as many months concerning my collecting habits, and I've now officially said everything I can say about pinback collecting. Here is the short version: comic pinbacks are a challenging and interesting branch of comic memorabilia to collect. If you want the long version, you can read it here: Scoop interview.
One of my goals in 2008 is to start documenting the Hassan/Tokio cigarette buttons from the early 1900s. I have started down this path with Rube Goldberg's I'm The Guy series, but there are literally hundreds of additional buttons that, as far as I know, have never been scanned and documented. Keep watching my website as I delve into this interesting corner of comic pinbacks...
December 25, 2007 Happy holidays! In keeping with tradition, I have added some really nice Christmas-themed pinbacks to the website this month, featuring everyone's favorite denizen of the North Pole. There are 18 new Santa Claus pinbacks on my Recent Additions page, including some stunning examples from the early 1900s. As evidenced by fierce bidding and ever higher prices, Santa Claus buttons continue to be one of the most popular themes in pinback collecting.
Next month will feature more pinbacks with my favorite yellow-shirted comic character. Until then, I wish everyone success and happiness with their collecting in 2008!
November 28, 2007 November was a busy month. First off, The Collectors Weekly added my website to its hall of fame, calling it one of the best collectors sites on the web. I want to thank Dave Margulius, editor of The Collectors Weekly, for this honor. Then, Marty Weil from the Ephemera website published an interview with me about (what else?) pinback collecting. Marty runs a great website that covers lots of interesting corners in the collecting world. And finally, I found time to list many new pinbacks on my For Sale page - just in time for Christmas!
November's new pinbacks include complete sets of Shmoo and Ralston Straight Shooters pinbacks. Rounding out the update were examples from Rube Goldberg's I'm The Guy series, a nice Andy Gump for President imprint, and a very yellow Little Beaver button from Red Ryder fame. Check out my Recent Additions pages for the latest updates. Next month, I will turn attention to my annual December update, where I will showcase some beautiful Santa Claus buttons. Until then, happy collecting!
October 25, 2007 Another eclectic list of pinbacks were added to my website this month. Andy Gump, Barney Google, Buster Brown, and Mickey Mouse pinbacks all made the list, as well as a rare Spirit pinback and a very nice Tom Mix button. I also added new keywords for airplane, jungle, space, and superhero categories. You can see the new material on my Recent Additions page. As always, happy collecting!
September 28, 2007 I added 10 pinbacks from the golden age of Fawcett comics this month. Featuring characters like Captain Marvel, Nyoka, and Golden Arrow, these pinbacks represent a tough series to complete in high grade. You can see the new buttons on my Recent Additions page.
August 25, 2007 The keyword project that I discussed in May is now finished. Each pinback on my website has a new keywords label with links to topics like Disney, Bread, Movies, and Western. There are a total of 31 different keywords, a number that will certainly grow as I add more classifications to the website.
The 15 new pinbacks for my August update include an eclectic mix of characters like Andy Gump, Buster Brown, Mickey Mouse, The Phantom, and Steve Canyon. Two noteworthy examples are the Mickey Mouse Gloves and Mittens button and the beautiful Phantom Club pinback from Australia. You can see all the new buttons on my Recent Additions page.
Next month, I will turn my attention to the set of Fawcett pinbacks from the 1940s, spotlighting some great comic characters like Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Nyoka the Jungle Girl. Until then, happy collecting!
July 20, 2007 This month celebrates the 3rd anniversary of my pinback website. For those readers who like statistics, I have now documented 849 pinbacks that represent 210 different comic characters, 117 comic strips, 37 pinback sets, and 13 content categories. When I first started the website in 2004, I was concerned that I would quickly run out of pinbacks to document. These days, I am more concerned that I will never catch up to my backlog of acquisitions. All things considered, this is not a bad problem for a collector to have...
In July, I added 25 more Just Kids Safety Club buttons, bringing the total to 93 different examples. Check out the Recent Additions page to see these new buttons. Please drop me an e-mail if you have any questions or comments. And as always, happy collecting!
June 25, 2007 June was a busy month for the website with the addition of 24 pinbacks from the Just Kids Safety Club series. I have collected almost 100 variations from this series, and I am finally making some headway towards their documentation. The original Just Kids Safety Club promotion must have been enormous in scope, as I continue to find unusual newspaper imprints almost monthly. Point your browser to my Recent Additions page to see these new buttons.
Until next month, happy collecting!
May 28, 2007 I documented 14 comic pinbacks on my website this month. Check out the Recent Additions page to see a set of 5 buttons from the Courier-Journal and Times Oompah series, a couple of nice Speed Gibson buttons, 2 rare Skeezix advertising pinbacks, a Mickey Mouse Club pinback with an unusual imprint, a Captain Marvel Club variation, and some other assorted odds and ends.
In other news, I have been adding keywords to all the buttons on my website, which will enable me to display groups of buttons for any topic that I decide to define. The keywords will appear as links under each button to provide an easy way to see related buttons. The same button might have multiple keywords and appear in multiple categories, an organizational system which offers tremendous flexibility over traditional printed reference books. I hope to introduce this new feature by the end of the summer.
Until next month, happy collecting!
April 25, 2007 I just returned from a trip to Washington D.C. where I managed a quick side trip to the Geppi's Entertainment Museum in Baltimore. There is probably not a museum in the world that so closely matches my collecting interests. From the original artwork and vintage movie posters to the comic books and comic memorabilia, the museum offers a quality presentation of comic characters and pop culture. I was especially interested in the complete collection of Yellow Kid pinbacks, every one white and near mint. Click here and here for photos of this amazing pinback set.
This month, I added 13 new pinback scans, including buttons with Mickey Mouse, Captain Marvel, Foxy Grandpa, and Tommy Tailspin. You can see these latest pinbacks on my Recent Additions page. As always, happy collecting!
March 25, 2007
A recent conversation at my house:
"Dear, would you like to see some new pinbacks that I just bought?"
"Do I have a choice?"
"Nope. Here they are. This is one that I have been trying to find for years. And here's one that is really tough to get in nice condition. That one has a little foxing near the curl but it's still a great find. And, I bought those three buttons to trade."
"Would you like me to explain about the interesting backpaper variations?"
"Honey, I can't wait."
I finished a few pinback sets this month, including the King Features series, the Terry and the Pirates Canada Dry set, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper contest series, and the Buster Brown Hose set. Completing a set is always a nice feeling. That final pinback arrives, I carefully place it in the Riker mount, and I sigh contentedly. A few moments pass. Then, I begin to feel that familiar itch in my brain, an itch that can only be scratched with more pinbacks. A quick check of my watch confirms it - I have just enough time for a quick perusal of ebay. After all, there are always more sets to complete...
Happy collecting everyone!
February 25, 2007 Another late-month website update. My February scans include a variety of 14 comic pinbacks, with examples from the 1968 Pogo for President series, a rare 1934 Buck Rogers World's Fair button, a couple of Bugs Bunny pinbacks, and a Buck Jones Ranger's Club pinback. I also added a very rare button from a Washington Herald newspaper promotion, featuring High Pressure Pete. Rounding out the update is a Speed Gibson imprint for Butterfly Bread, a Foxy Grandpa newspaper variation, and an unusual Li'l Abner pinback for the South Bend Tribune. You can see the 14 new buttons on my Recent Additions page.
In addition to the 14 button scans, I added a new category for the Pogo for President series. I also updated the Pinbacks Reproduction page with a comparison of fake and real Superman Tim Club pinbacks. The fake version of this button appears frequently on ebay, so hopefully my reproduction reference will keep a few buyers from getting burned.
As always, happy collecting!
January 24, 2007 With only a week left in January, I was in danger of breaking my record of monthly updates that started in July of 2004. To keep my Ripken-like streak intact, I scanned and documented a dozen Yellow Kid pinbacks for the website. The Yellow Kid Admiral Cigarettes series is still my favorite set of pinback buttons for several reasons: the buttons feature an early and historically significant comic character, Outcault's artwork is nothing short of genius, the series has more than 150 buttons with a wide variety of content, and the challenge of completing the series is formidable. I've been buying Yellow Kid buttons for more than ten years. The competition for high-grade examples has never been more fierce.
With the pinbacks in this month's update, I began documenting the text that appears on the Yellow Kid's shirt, a task that I need to finish for all the Yellow Kid buttons already on my site. I also started documenting some of the Yellow Kid button variations, which will eventually include all buttons with blue copyright text (according to comic scholar, Rich Olson, the blue text indicates the very first series of Yellow Kid buttons that were released) as well as buttons with the unusual easel backings. Check out my Recent Additions page to see the new Yellow Kid buttons. As always, happy collecting!
December 17, 2006 Santa Claus (also referred to as "Santa Closet" by my twin 2-year-old girls) is the theme of my December website update. I added 16 Santa Claus pinbacks, all featuring beautiful vintage artwork from the early 1900s. I buy these buttons whenever I can find them for a reasonable price. Unfortunately for me, between the seasonal Christmas collectors, advertising collectors, pinback collectors, and the people who are simply fond of Santa, there is a lot of competition for Santa pinbacks. I see particular interest in Santa buttons that feature planes, cars, children, and outdoor scenes. Santa pinbacks with famous department store imprints are also popular, perhaps as small reminders of long-ago Christmas shopping trips. Whatever the reasons might be, collecting Santa pinbacks is challenging, and I hope that my scans adequately convey the beauty of these little bits of nostalgia.
Next month, I intend to add some rare Yellow Kid buttons to the website. In the mean time, enjoy the holiday season. I hope everyone finds a surprise or two in their Christmas stocking...
November 20, 2006 A frightening portrayal of Howdy Doody adorns one of the 12 buttons that I added to my website this month. It's fortunate that Howdy's image went through a much-needed makeover - scaring the hell out of your target audience is never a good marketing strategy.
Other new pinbacks include a set of fun Seckatary Hawkins club buttons, three Popeye-related pinbacks, a beautiful Foxy Grandpa variation, yet another Mickey Mouse Globe Trotters imprint, a rare Tillie the Toiler button from the Bee-News Funnyland set, a Captain Marvel button with classic imagery, and a nice Frank Buck example. Check out my Recent Additions page for a quick overview of the new material. I also added a new category for the King Features Syndicate series, which includes characters from Popeye, Flash Gordon, and Little Annie Roonie.
In recent months, I have acquired several collections of high-grade Kellogg's Pep pins, and they are now available for sale. You can see my complete inventory on the Kellogg's Pep page. Please let me know if I can help you fill a few holes in your collection...
Next month's update will have a distinctive Christmas theme. Until then, happy collecting!
October 18, 2006 I added 15 new pinbacks to the website this month. Included in the lineup is a pair of unusual Smitty advertising buttons for Rossett hats, a nice Andy Gump for President ice cream button, a rare Tarzan Safety Club button, a Billy Bounce pinback with an unusual newspaper imprint, and a handful of Just Kids Safety Club pinbacks, all featuring the character Mush. You can see everything on my Recent Additions page. Not much else to report this month, so I'll sign off and wish everyone good luck with their collecting...
September 17, 2006 Buster Brown, an early comic character created by Richard Outcault, was a prolific advertising figure in the early 1900s. As a pitchman for shoes, tobacco, and bread, Buster frequently appeared on tins, pinbacks, postcards, pamphlets, and signs. During the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, Buster Brown was introduced as a trademark for the Brown Shoe Company, a role that Buster still maintains today.
So, why the interest in Buster Brown? For my September website update, I'm adding 17 early pinbacks that all feature Buster and his ever-present companion, Tige. There are 12 examples from the Buster Brown hose supporter campaign as well as 5 Buster Brown buttons that advertise shoes and bread. It is these early pinbacks, featuring characters like Buster Brown, the Yellow Kid, Billy Bounce, and Foxy Grandpa, that sparked my interest in collecting comic buttons, so Buster is partly to blame for the collecting illness that afflicts me today.
In other news, I added 21 new pinbacks to the For Sale page, including buttons that feature Andy Gump, Buster Brown, Dick Tracy, Felix the Cat, Foxy Grandpa, Mickey Mouse, Popeye, Superman, and the Yellow Kid. The Kellogg's Pep pins that I listed in June are completely sold out, but I intend to list more soon. I recently purchased a large collection of Kellogg's Pep pins in their original packages, some of which I will also offer for sale in the coming months.
Please send me an e-mail with your questions, offers to buy/trade/sell, and compliments/complaints. I try to respond to every e-mail I receive, excepting those that deal with African bank asset transfers, cheap pharmaceuticals, and anatomical enlargement.
As always, happy collecting!
August 14, 2006 I'm only adding ten pinbacks to the website this month, but they are ten really good buttons. My personal favorite from the August lineup is a stunning Buster Brown Shoes pinback, featuring a wide-eyed Buster and Tige on a black background. Other new additions include rare imprints from Mickey Mouse Globe Trotters and Speed Gibson, a nice Hopalong Cassidy newspaper promotion, a handful of Andy Gump political buttons, and a hard-to-find Peter Rabbit Club button from the Wisconsin News. I also added a new shoes category for those collectors who enjoy a good footwear pinback.
July 9, 2006
"Dear, do you see that group of 9 pinbacks on the table?"
"I'm going to sell them."
"What about the pinbacks in that drawer?"
"No, I'm going to keep those."
"And the pinbacks in that box?"
"Those are also staying."
"So, you are only selling 9 pinbacks?"
"Good job, honey."
July is here and almost half over as I post another monthly update. My website is officially 2 years old, which makes it ancient in the world of the Internet. I want to thank everyone who has stopped by to check out my odd corner of the web. I look forward to many more website updates, assuming that I can keep finding new material. With that said, does anyone want to sell me some pinbacks?
The new July pinbacks are displayed on my Recent Additions page. I finally added another Mickey Mouse Club variation along with some more I'm The Guy cigarette buttons. There are also two Pogo buttons from the rare 1968 Pogo for President series. I'm generally only interested in early comic buttons, but I will always make an exception for Pogo and Walt Kelly.
I hope everyone is enjoying the summer. Drop me an e-mail if you want to talk pinbacks, comic books, comic art, or just about any topic but rap music. Happy collecting!
June 11, 2006 Establishing the grade of a pinback, like most other collectibles, is a tricky proposition. Some collectors detest even the hint of foxing, other collectors could care less if the backpaper is present or not, and still other collectors can't stomach celluloid splits. I occasionally see "professionally-graded" pinbacks offered for sale, but the current player in this game leaves me under-whelmed. Coins, cards, and comic books have certainly drawn a wider audience to their respective hobbies through the use of third-party grading and authentication. Could pinbacks benefit from a grading service that specializes in the nuances of celluloid, foxing, curl splits, and backpapers?
Pinbacks, like coins and cards, enjoy a small area of inspection to determine the grade. I would like to see a system that accounted for the following points:
cracks, scratches, rim separation
The final grade could be a composite score from 1 to 100 that weighted the above categories. I realize that the weighting is the difficult part, but this process has been resolved in other hobbies. It. Can. Be. Done. Some grading services guard their grading standards like they owned the formula for Coca-Cola. As a collector, I would love to see an open standard that could offer an exact explanation for the final grade. Condition is always important in determining the value of a collectible. Am I wrong to believe that pinbacks could benefit from a good, third-party grading service? What am I missing? Commence with your arrows here!
For my June update, I included 20 new pinbacks that showcase characters like Buster Brown, Krazy Kat, Mickey Mouse, and Tom Mix. I built new categories for Western Theatre pinbacks (I will add more of these in the coming months) as well as western-related buttons. I also added 25 Kellogg's Pep pins to my For Sale page. I still have hundreds of duplicate pinbacks to list for sale, so if there is something you need, and you don't see it, please drop me an e-mail. Happy collecting!
May 7, 2006 I documented another 20 comic pinbacks on the website this month. Check out my Recent Additions page to see some rare Andy Gump for President imprints, a Mickey Mouse button or three, a Minnie Mouse Evening Ledger pinback (finally!), and a handful of Newark Star-Eagle contest buttons. I also added new material to the Pinback Reproductions page. Special thanks to Bruce Shults for his help with identifying some Popeye button reproductions. Bruce runs a terrific website for Popeye collectors that you can see here: Popeye's Thimble Theatre Homepage.
April 11, 2006 I just received a veritable crate of pinbacks from the recent Random Treasures auction. This auction featured over 2500 lots from Roger Steckler's famous advertising collection. I admit that my collecting tendencies can be a bit extreme, but my entire collection would barely justify a footnote among Mr. Steckler's 8000 pinbacks, 13000 postcards, 13500 non-sports cards, 400 celluloid tape measures, 700 World's Fair items, and 1000 character items. I bought several lots, including a Minnie Mouse Evening Ledger button and a set of 57 different Just Kids Safety Club pinbacks. When I first started my pinback website, I had some passing concern that I would run out of material to document. Now, I'm beginning to worry that the website will never catch up to my collection!
For this month's new content, I added 20 pinbacks from the Just Kids Safety Club series. This series represents a real challenge to the collector who strives for completeness. Variations of character, character pose, color, and newspaper imprint produce a staggering combination of buttons to collect. I regularly see new imprints, often for small-town newspapers. There is also a Just Kids character that I've never seen: Seraphin O'Toole. Does anyone have a scan of a Seraphin button? Better yet, does someone have one they are willing to sell?
Next month, I plan to add more material to my Pinback Reproduction Guide. I also have a tremendous backlog of duplicate buttons to list on my For Sale page. Then, there are the piles of pinbacks that still need to be scanned and documented on my website. And, let's not forget that I still have to keep a watchful eye on eBay, answer pinback e-mails, and oversee an addition to my house to store all of these little bits of celluloid, metal, and paper. Until next time, I wish everyone good luck with their own collecting obsessions...
March 12, 2006 I added 20 new pinbacks to the website in March, bringing the website total to almost 600 pinbacks. There are some particularly nice examples this month, including a Mickey Mouse Southern Dairies Ice Cream button, a Skeezix Eats DeLuxe Ice Cream button, and some buttons with unusual imprints featuring Mickey Mouse, Andy Gump, and Smitty. You can see the new material on my Recent Additions page. Drop me an e-mail and let me know what you think...
February 12, 2006 Another busy month. If it's not apparent from the work I put into my pinback website, I will state my position here: I truly enjoy hunting, collecting, trading, and documenting vintage pinbacks. However, one aspect of the hobby that does bother me is the proliferation of reproduction and fantasy buttons. I receive numerous e-mails from people who want my opinion about a pinback they own, and often, I have to tell them that they own a worthless fake. During my years of haunting flea markets and perusing ebay, I have built a pretty good list of fake pinbacks that I commonly encounter. Today, I am happy to announce a new addition to my website: a guide to pinback reproductions.
My original concept for the reproduction guide was to show images of real pinbacks with notes about reproductions that exist for each button. I contacted Ted Hake about my idea, and he graciously loaned me his reference set of fake pinbacks. Using Ted's buttons, I was able to scan the reproduction pieces directly, resulting in clear scans of the fakes. For pinbacks where I already owned an original example, I documented the real and fake buttons side by side. I also included scans of reproduction pinbacks that I don't own an original, with the idea that I can still alert collectors to the existence of the fakes. Finally, I added a section for fantasy pinbacks, where I listed buttons that are made to appear vintage but do not have real-world counterparts. This reproduction guide, like everything on my website, is a work in progress, and I certainly intend to list more fakes as my schedule permits. Please contact me with any comments or suggestions about this new page - I would love to hear from you!
My February update also contains the promised scans for more Yellow Kid buttons. I added 20 scans to the Yellow Kid Admiral Cigarettes series, illustrating some great pinback graphics from the 1890s. I've made headway in my efforts to complete this series, but I still need numerous examples. Drop me an e-mail if you have questions or comments about the website (or, if you have some spare Yellow Kid buttons). Until next time, happy collecting!
January 8, 2006 I heard back from numerous collectors about the mysterious Official Mickey Mouse Store button, and the verdict is unanimous: fake! Not only does the Disney Archive deny the button's legitimacy, but noted collectors Ted Hake and Bob Barrett also weighed in about the button's dubious origins. I consider the $10 that I paid for my Mickey Mouse Store button to be yet another tuition check for my ongoing pinback education. Fake and fantasy buttons are certainly troubling to the pinback hobby, and I hope to address this very issue on my website in the near future.
Obviously, everyone ignored my request to enjoy the holidays and turn off ebay. There were several comic pinback auctions that received impressive bidding action over the past month, including a Sincerely Yours - Mickey Mouse button that went for $892.87, and a Mickey Mouse RKO Kiddie Kartoon Klub pinback that reached $432.55. I really like that RKO Mickey button (anybody want to sell me one?), but did the original button creators ever stop and think about the club acronym?
My monthly update contains 16 assorted pinbacks for your viewing pleasure. I postponed the scanning of Yellow Kid buttons due to some organization (read: disorganization) issues in my collectibles room. New Yellow Kid buttons will appear next month, I promise! Anyway, I documented a group of fun buttons, including examples with Mickey Mouse, Speed Gibson, Superman, Peter Pan, Popeye, and Skeezix. Drop me an e-mail if you have questions or comments about the website. And as always, happy collecting!
December 5, 2005 The winter winds are howling tonight. My house is complaining with a symphony of unsettling creaks and pops. All things considered, it's a good night to be huddled in front of the keyboard, writing another pinback journal entry. As an aside to all the homeowners out there, when you hear the wind blowing outside, and your blinds are swaying inside, it's probably time to replace your windows.
Next to my keyboard is the ever-present pile of pinbacks that just arrived in the mail. One pinback in particular, an Official Mickey Mouse Store button dated 1937, is catching my eye. I've seen examples of this pinback for years, but I've never purchased one until now. Why? Frequent availability and cheap prices always screamed "reproduction" to me. However, after a conversation with a fellow collector, who believes the pinback is indeed vintage, I decided to spend ten bucks on one and see for myself (I was born to be a risk taker). I must admit: the pinback looks old. The celluloid has a nice glow, there is an aged patina on the reverse, and the backpaper looks age-appropriate. I've also heard that these pinbacks surfaced in a warehouse find. If this is true, the warehouse must have been damp because the vast majority of examples I've seen are severely rusted. Does anyone out there know anything more? Send me an e-mail! I'm eternally curious about these little bits of celluloid, paper, and metal, and reading your e-mails sure beats pricing new windows for my house.
I added 16 new pinbacks to the website this month, including examples with Andy Gump, Mickey Mouse, and Rube Goldberg's I'm The Guy characters. You can see the new material on my Recent Additions page. Next month's update will include some great Yellow Kid pinbacks from the Admiral Tobacco series. Until then, enjoy your holidays, drink a little eggnog, and feel free to ignore all those distracting pinback auctions on eBay...
November 16, 2005 Busy month. My twin girls are learning to walk, and they bear an uncanny resemblance to drunks on stilts. I have escaped to my office to write this month's journal entry. Please be patient...if my monthly update...is a little late...as I'm often disturbed...by screams and crashes...from the downstairs living room...
On the acquisition front, I recently tried to buy a Minnie Mouse Evening Ledger button on eBay, but I was soundly outbid. My fellow collectors are making it difficult for me to properly document these old comic pinbacks. Shame on them! However, I did complete the Buffalo Evening News series with the purchase of a very nice Ben Webster button. Win some, lose some.
Just for the record: I prefer to win.
Returning visitors will notice that I reorganized the descriptions under each pinback on the site. In the past, I used a paragraph of text to describe each button. Now, I use a series of categories to display information like comic character, comic strip, date, and manufacturer. This new method allows me to hyperlink between different pages, using the data in each category. If you are viewing Kellogg's Pep buttons, for example, you will see that Skeezix is from the Gasoline Alley comic strip, and you can now click Gasoline Alley to browse all the pinbacks associated with that specific strip. Hyper linking madness! I'm starting to think that this new Internet thing is really going to catch on. Now, if only I could figure out a way to link Paris Hilton pictures to my website, I could really increase the visitor traffic...
There are 25 new pinbacks for sale on my Pinbacks For Sale page, and I want to thank everyone who has purchased buttons from me in recent months. I've only listed a small part of my available inventory, and most of my sales are coming from people who send me their want lists. Because I'm afflicted with the collecting disease myself, I only sell duplicate buttons from my collection. The good news is that I have LOTS of duplicates. I also love to buy and trade, so if you have a pinback that you don't see on my site, please drop me an e-mail.
And finally, I documented 20 new pinbacks on the website this month. Recent additions span the comic spectrum from Tarzan and Betty Boop to Skippy and Speed Gibson. I also included a very cool Frank Buck pinback in this month's new material. Visitors who argue that Frank Buck is not a comic character are simply advised to avoid those web pages where Frank Buck's pinback might appear...
I hear the sounds of mayhem and destruction from the living room, so it's time to go. Until next time, happy collecting!
October 9, 2005 I added 25 new comic pinbacks to the website this month, illustrating more examples from the Hassan/Tokio cigarette series of the early 1900s. 19 of the 25 new buttons feature characters with Rube Goldberg's famous I'm The Guy catchphrase, and the other 6 buttons display characters from Mutt and Jeff and the Katzenjammer Kids. Check out the Recent Additions page for a consolidated view of the new material.
Happy collecting to everyone, and as always, send me an e-mail if you want to buy, sell, or trade vintage comic pinbacks...
September 5, 2005 A very rare Mickey Mouse Sneakers pinback sold on eBay last month for more than $3800.00. There are only a few examples of this button known to exist, and multiple bidders offered more than $1000 during the auction. I continue to see strong interest in early comic pinbacks on ebay, both in the number of bidders and the prices realized.
There are 19 new pinback additions to report this month, all neatly displayed on the Recent Additions page. And, I added a new product page for ice cream pinbacks. Also, check out my Pinbacks For Sale page. You won't find the Mickey Mouse Sneakers button there, but you will find some great comic pinbacks to add to your collection. Until next month, I wish everyone good luck with their collecting!
August 6, 2005 My pinback website has been linked into wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that currently documents more than 600,000 topics. Every major comic character topic in wikipedia, from Mickey Mouse to Dick Tracy, now links to the appropriate pinback page on my site. If you've never visited the wikipedia site, I highly recommend it: www.wikipedia.org
I added 25 new pinbacks this month, all examples from early Hassan and Tokio cigarette advertising campaigns. There are literally hundreds of pinback variations in this set, and I decided to start my documentation with buttons featuring Rube Goldberg's I'm The Guy characters and sayings.
I also added more buttons to my Pinbacks For Sale page, including some nice ones with the Yellow Kid, Buck Rogers, Barney Google, and Popeye. As always, send me an e-mail if you want to buy, sell, or trade vintage comic pinbacks...
July 6, 2005 This month is the one year anniversary of my comic pinback website! The site now documents 440 pinbacks, 25 pinback series, 9 content categories, 184 different comic characters, and 98 comic strips. I only add about 20 buttons to the site each month, so it's gratifying to see how large the site has grown in just one year.
There are 22 new pinbacks this month, showcasing examples from the Speed Gibson bread series (does anyone know how many different imprints are associated with this series?), the Los Angeles Evening Herald & Express, the Sunday Examiner, and the Sunday Herald and Examiner. I also added a content category for radio-related pinbacks. Thanks for browsing my obscure corner of the web. If you enjoy the site, drop me an e-mail and say hello...
June 5, 2005 Lots of news to report this month, including a nice mention of my website by the American Political Items Collectors (APIC) news service. For those of you not familiar with APIC, they are an organization that specializes in the preservation and study of political memorabilia. With more than 2000 members, the APIC hosts collector shows, publishes news and research, and offers a great forum for meeting fellow collectors. Please check out their website for more information: http://apic.us.
I receive frequent e-mails with offers to buy the pinbacks that are displayed on my site. This month, I introduced a new Pinbacks For Sale page to sell some of my duplicate comic buttons. The sale page displays scans of the actual buttons that I am selling as well as detailed descriptions of condition. I also added links to the sale page throughout the website, so you will see an "Available for sale" link under any button appearing on the sale page. I intend to add new buttons to the sale page whenever time permits - check back often!
20 new pinbacks were added to the website this month, representing buttons that feature Mickey Mouse, Andy Gump, Buck Rogers, Superman, Peter Rabbit, and Buster Brown. The Recent Additions page is always a quick way to see the newest content. Do you have a comment, suggestion, or idea for the website? Drop me an e-mail and let me know what you think...
May 7, 2005 My website reorganization from last month succeeded in attracting the attention of Google, and all of my pinback descriptions are now properly indexed and searchable from www.google.com. I like the idea that someone can find an old comic button in a drawer, type in the button text on a search engine, and locate my corner of the web. It obviously doesn't take much to make me happy...
For this month's new content, I added 20 pinbacks from the Pepsin Gum Little Pinkies series. According to a Diamond Galleries Scoop article, Little Pinkies were a Whitehead Hoag knockoff of the popular Palmer Cox Brownies characters from the 1890s. These Little Pinkies buttons are obscure, colorful, and old - three important attributes for inclusion on my weird website...
The 25 pinbacks I added this month are scattered across the categories of advertising, Disney, and clubs. Represented comic characters include Skippy, Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy, Donald Duck, Captain Marvel, and Andy Panda. I also added two more buttons to the Buffalo Evening News series, and I created a new series for Red Cross Macaroni buttons. As always, the Recent Additions page shows a table of all the new material added this month.
March 6, 2005 With the 25 pinbacks that I added to my website this month, I completed 4 newspaper contest sets: the New York Evening Journal, the Milwaukee Sentinel, the Los Angeles Evening Express, and the Sunday Bulletin. I also started documenting new series for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Atlanta Georgian.
Other new buttons feature Buster Brown, Foxy Grandpa, Just Kids, Popeye, and Superman. Don't forget to check out my Recent Additions link to see all 25 buttons just added. Also, I introduced a new Disney category to the Pinbacks By Content branch, where you can see scans of all my Disney-related buttons.
I want to thank everyone who has taken time to write and comment on the website. I try to respond to every e-mail I receive, and I really enjoy hearing from fellow collectors. Keep those e-mails coming!
February 5, 2005 Another month, another 25 pinbacks added to the site. The website now documents 326 comic pinbacks, 17 pinback series, 7 content categories, 167 comic characters, and 83 comic strips. Not bad for a hobby website that I update only once a month (insert sound of me patting myself on my back).
Newest additions include pinbacks featuring Andy Gump, Buster Brown, Charlie McCarthy, Ella Cinders, Foxy Grandpa, Mickey Mouse, and Skeezix. I also completed the New York Sunday American series and added pinbacks to the Just Kids Safety Club, Newark Star-Eagle, Milwaukee Sentinel, New York Evening Journal, and Buffalo Evening News series.
There is a new branch in the pinback navigation tree, located just below Development Blog, called Recent Additions. For visitors who regularly visit my site (hi Mom!), the Recent Additions branch is a convenient way to see the pinbacks most recently added to my website.
January 9, 2005 I'm starting the new year with the addition of 20 Yellow Kid pinback scans to my website. This series is one of the toughest comic pinback sets to complete, and I still need numerous examples to finish my collection. Specifically, I need the following numbers: 25, 40-44, 46-48, 52-54, 56-63, 65, 68, 69, 73, 74, 76, 78, 80, 81, 83, 86, 87, 90, 91, 93-96, 101-103, 105-107, 109-115, 117, 118, 120, 121, 123, 124, 126-128, 130, 131, 133-135, 137-143, 145-148, 150-152, 155, 157, 158. If you have problem-free examples from my want list, contact me!
In other news, I added the name of the comic strip below each pinback on my website. Some of the comic characters were too obscure for me to locate the name of their comic strip. Special thanks to Mike Curtis for his identification of some of these unknown comic character pinbacks. I only have 7 comic pinbacks left where I don't know the name of the associated comic strip. Anybody?
December 5, 2004 More pinback additions to report, including newspaper contest buttons from the Buffalo Evening News, Los Angeles Evening Express, Milwaukee Sentinel, New York Sunday American, and Newark Star-Eagle. Pinbacks from these newspaper contests are not particularly rare or valuable, but I still have numerous holes to fill in completing some of these sets. Keep me in mind if you want to buy, sell, or trade!
November 21, 2004 Check out my Recommended Links page for some new website additions. My website was recently recommended by Diamond Galleries Scoop newsletter and Jerry Beck's excellent Cartoon Brew website. As a result, I am receiving tons of great e-mails. I guess there really are more than 5 comic pinback collectors in the world... If you know any fellow collectors who might be interested in my website, please forward them a link. Also, keep sending those e-mails!
November 6, 2004 I added 25 more pinbacks to the website, including buttons from the Mickey Mouse Globe Trotters series, New York Evening Journal series, and New York Sunday American series. New pinbacks were also scanned for Flash Gordon, Ella Cinders, Mickey Mouse, Buster Brown, Popeye, Skippy, Billy Bounce, Andy Gump, and Tailspin Tommy. And finally, I appended a new comic strip branch to the website navigation tree so that all pinbacks related to a specific comic strip can be viewed on a single web page.
I'm happy to report that Google is now indexing my website. I'm still unsure about the number of people who are interested in comic pinbacks (all five of us?), so it should be interesting to see if Google will increase traffic to my website. I'm also trying to get my site mentioned in the Scoop newsletter, but so far, no luck.
I'm getting some great e-mails from pinback collectors who have found my website. Please continue to send me your comments, suggestions, and questions.
October 9, 2004 The twin girls arrived, and as I suspected, my time is in short supply. I did manage to scan 25 new pinbacks, including some great clothes advertising buttons, Orphan Annie buttons, and comic sweater buttons. I have also began the process of submitting my pinback site to Google and the other search engines. Because my website uses frames, some search engines have difficulty with correctly indexing the content. To solve this problem, I plan to build a simple, non-framed version of the website. Details, details, details...
September 6, 2004 On a personal note, my wife and I are anxiously awaiting the imminent arrival of twin girls. For those of you with a keen sense of deduction, you will realize that my time available to scan pinbacks is about to be seriously limited. So, with my parental responsibilities looming ever closer, I decided to add even more pinbacks to the website today. I scanned 31 Mickey Mouse buttons, including examples from the Globe Trotters and Follow My Adventures bread series. I also defined a new category for bread and club-related pinbacks, and I included button counts for each branch of the website navigation tree. Whew. Raising twin daughters is starting to sound like a lot less work…
September 5, 2004 The Labor Day weekend provided me with some free time to add lots of new pinbacks to the site. New additions include the New York Evening Journal and New York Sunday American button sets, as well as examples from the Just Kids Safety Club and Sunday Bulletin Tangle Comics sets. I am missing several pinbacks from the two New York newspaper sets – is there anybody out there with duplicates? Also, does anyone know of other pinbacks in the Sunday Bulletin Tangle Comics set? Let me know...
August 28, 2004 More pinback scans to report. I scanned my favorite set of comic pinbacks, the Evening Ledger Comics series. I have 12 of the 14 Evening Ledger buttons, and I would love to finish this set. I also added a Cereal category to the website navigation tree.
August 18, 2004 The Kellogg’s Pep series is now scanned and documented on my website. Acquiring this set of 86 buttons is a great introduction to the hobby of comic pinbacks. Even the more valuable examples, like Felix and the Phantom, are available for less than $50.00, and most of the material is readily available in the price range of $10-$30. Despite the low prices, building a set of high-grade Pep buttons with minimal scratches is actually quite difficult. After scanning my collection, I found several pinbacks that need to be upgraded…
August 11, 2004 I added two more pinbacks sets tonight: the 10 Saturday Chicago American pinbacks and the 8 Saturday Daily News pinbacks. Both of these sets are lithographed and difficult to locate in high-grade. I also added two new categories to the website navigation tree: Newspapers and Tobacco. My idea is to provide multiple groupings for the pinbacks on my site. The same pinback might appear in more than one category, based on age, advertising content, series, comic character, and so on. Also, because my entire website is generated directly from a database, it is easy for me to add new categories of organization going forward.
July 18, 2004 I started my website
today with images from one of the earliest sets of comic pinbacks, the
Admiral Cigarettes Yellow Kid series. I scanned the first 20 buttons of
the series, and I spent a lot of time adjusting scanner settings to avoid
glare and shadows. I am using an HP Scanjet 5500c, and the accompanying
software gives me pretty good control over the final scanned output. Now
that I’m happy with the results, I will try to scan all future pinbacks
using the same settings. I designed a scan board to hold the pinbacks in
place by threading rows of elastic through a piece of cardboard. The scan
board holds 25 pinbacks firmly in place to eliminate shifting during the
scanning process. Click here to see my handiwork.
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