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Antique Advertising Items/New Railroadiana Collector


Hey Dale, I see that you deal with a lot of railroad collectibles.  Do you have any general advice on what to collect?  What is the best way to avoid fakes?

Hey Roger, thanks for saying hello.  The short answer would be to collect the type of stuff you like.  If you like what you are buying then there is no right way or wrong way to collect.  The easiest way to avoid buying fakes is to work with a reputable dealer.  Now here is the long answer on what type of antique railroad memorabilia to collect.  I usually advise buying the rarest items you can afford when you can afford them.  You can always buy the common stuff when you want it.  Rare items will not always be available.

Some of my favorite areas are china, silver, passes, posters, signs, lanterns, builders plates, and sealers.  Out of that group, lanterns are the most often faked.  Most everything else you see on the market should be authentic.

Collecting antique railroad china is not the first place where most collectors start, but that is where advanced collections usually lead.  Many pieces of china are rare.  The same thing goes for antique railroad silver.  You have to have a special collecting bug to get into china and silver.  However, once you are in you will probably love it.

Many collectors start with a modest collection of antique railroad passes.  Passes are small, usually cheap, and easy to display.  Most collectors focus on a particular railroad and buy all the passes they can find from that line.  Some passes from the 1800s are very rare.  If you like displaying your collection then you should definitely look into railroad signs and posters.  They look great hanging on a wall.

The kings of the railroadiana hobby are antique railroad builders plates.  Even the most common plates are usually worth a few hundred dollars.  Rare plates can be worth several thousand dollars.

Antique Advertising Items

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Dale Fenton


I can answer your questions about the history of many popular antique advertising brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Tobacco Brands, Petroliana (Gas, Oil, and Automotive Items), Breweriana (Beer and Brewing Items), Barbershop Items, as well as other areas. I can also help with determining approximate values of your items. I know how to identify fakes, reproductions, and fantasy items for Antique Advertising items such as tins, posters, signs, displays, trays, mugs, clocks, and much more. Even with my experience I don't know everything, but if I'm stumped I can usually refer you to someone who does know about whatever it is.


I am a full time dealer working in Antique Advertising every day. I run the website which I built and maintain. I attend many shows, auctions, and other events related to Advertising Antiques and I know many other dealers and collectors interested in these items.

I have my BA in Architecture from Clemson University, my Master's of Architecture from Texas A&M. As far as education related to Advertising, I have an extensive library of books and literature related to these items and the many smaller collecting areas within it. I keep up with the published articles and information published by the AAAA.

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