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On-Line Edition      Thursday, June 21, 2018      Vol. 60  No. 25

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Torch runners

Lombard Police Department personnel joined thousands of law enforcement officers and others across the state in the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois on June 10. Members of the Lombard Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association cheered the runners on as they finished the Lombard leg of the run at Main and Parkside. Pictured in the bottom right photo, with Lombard Police Officer James Schrepferman (left) and Lombard Police Sgt. Jason Chudzinski (third from right), are Lombard runners (left to right) retired Lombard Police Sgt. William Marks, Lombard Police Chief Roy Newton, Lombard Police Officers Alex Martino and Andy Stern, Lombard Police Secretary Gina Romagnano and Lombard Police Sgt. Jim Kohl.            Photos by Steve Spoden

                ***** Out & About  by Jane Charmelo *****

Convention offers a glimpse of advertising from the past

People are collectors of many things—for just as many reasons—and as one example, what appears to be a unique niche of the collecting world is coming to Lombard this July.
The Antique Advertising Association of America, known as AAAA or "Quad-A," is holding its Antique Advertising Convention July 25-28 at the Embassy Suites, 707 E. Butterfield Road, Lombard, with a free "Public Day" on Friday, July 27, which includes a silent auction.
Paul Lefkovitz, of the AAAA Board of Directors and convention coordinator, described the roughly 30-year-old non-profit association as a group of "collectors of vintage advertising," emphasizing that their collections are definitely not limited to what most of us might consider advertising—banners, signs, neon lights, fliers, newspaper ads, etc., but instead, "all those things that told about products."
The collectors are predominantly interested in Victorian era and early- to mid-1900s items, he continued, adding that, as a collector himself,  "It's really interesting to see what they produced back then."
The coordinator said he got hooked in part because "I've always been a collector of something or other."
"Once you buy your third tin, you're hooked!" he added with a chuckle.
By that he means the tins, cans, boxes—containers—themselves are their own form of advertising, whether it be a tin of chewing tobacco or a can that once held oatmeal.
When most people hear the word "advertising," "they just think of an ad in a newspaper," Lefkovitz related, but it is "the full range of packaging and what people experienced when they went into a store."
In fact, he continued, in the time frame of collectors, merchants "used literally every square inch" of space inside a store as a way to advertise their wares.
The coordinator said that as a tribute, many collectors actually create mock-ups of old stores in their home as a way to display the items in their collections, "everything that would be part of that mercantile experience."
At the convention, which has not been to the Chicago area in 13 years, collectors "buy, sell, trade and learn from one another," Lefkovitz explained, adding that much of what collectors do is called "room hopping," or going from room to room to see what other collectors have to offer, and buy, sell or trade.
That is, they browse each other's merchandise, which is also "a great way to get to know people," Lefkovitz mentioned.
Saying that the event reminds him of "American Pickers," the coordinator elaborated that the participants "set up the [hotel] rooms like it's a store. They can design their room any way they want."
And, "You get some real surprises" when seeing what's out there waiting to be collected, Lefkovitz said, citing the example of a Campbell's Soup can from 1911 that is nearly indistinguishable from the modern version.
In addition to the AAAA convention, he mentioned that the association typically looks for "a partner association to collaborate with," and this year, it happened to work out that the Cracker Jack Collectors Association is also having its convention at the same time.
"We agreed to co-locate," Lefkovitz related, adding that a gathering of collectors of "granite wear" will also be there.
The main schedule for the free Public Day is a silent auction from 1-3:30 p.m. and general sales from 3:30-5 p.m. and from 6:15-10 p.m.
According to Lefkovitz, the event is taking place on the second and third floors of the hotel.
For those interested in attending the convention, check-in begins at 10 a.m. or later on Wednesday, July 25, and the event closes on Saturday, July 28, at 9:30 a.m.
In between, convention participants will be able to attend seminars—including one on the history of the Cracker Jack Company—and go room hopping several times each day (8 p.m. July 25 and none on July 28), and enjoy three made-to-order breakfasts, one plated lunch and two buffet dinners.
There will also be games and prizes, and a daily hotel reception with complementary drinks, cocktails and snacks.
Convention registration, due by Friday, June 29, is $125 per person, which includes all activities and the aforementioned meals (with lodging at the hotel). The discounted room rate is $129 per night for a king room and $139 for a room with two queen beds. All rooms are suites with a separate living area, and there is free parking and Wi-Fi included.
The public is invited to bring in antique advertising items to sell or obtain an opinion regarding identification and value.
Just in talking with Lefkovitz, it's obvious he shares a passion for antique advertising when he concluded,  "The artwork is better than anything produced today!"
For more information, Contact Lefkovitz at 317-501-3832 or plefk@generalstoreantiques.com, or visit www.pastimes.org.

                 *** September 11, 2011 ***