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Circus Collector Fan Organizations

by Larry Kellogg (09/08/08).
Windjammers Unlimited Logo
White Tops - Official magazine of Circus Fans Association of America (CFA)
Little Circus Wagon - Official magazine of Circus Model Builders (CMB)
CFA Logo
Bandwagon - Official magazine of Circus Historical Society (CHS)



Everybody loves the circus. That may sound like a cliché but, it’s a fact. If you’re interested in collecting circus memorabilia and learning more about the circus, look no further. Below is information from the websites of some of the better known organizations and links to their web sites. Have fun!

Circus Historical Society (CHS)

Founded in 1939, the Circus Historical Society, Inc. (CHS) is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to recording the history of the American circus from the first one in Philadelphia during 1793 to today. Membership includes people from all walks of life including historians, scholars, circus personnel, memorabilia collectors, Americana specialists and just folks who share both a love of the circus and a desire to preserve and disseminate its great and interesting heritage.

As in most organizations that share a common interest, the CHS members gather at a different location annually in North America to hold a convention. Papers are given, films and slides are presented, meaty tidbits of circus history are exchanged, current circus executives set forth their views and challenges, friendships are renewed and new ones made, all in the interest of circus history preservation. These sessions represent the culmination of a focused year of circus research and writings on the part of many CHS members and are cherished visits to the circus past and present.

Bandwagon, the CHS’s bimonthly journal, publishes captivating articles relating to circus history. Articles have explored such far ranging topics such as the Forepaugh-Sells seasons 1910-1911, seal lion training, circus balloon ascensions, circus parades of the 1930′s and the Ringling Bros. winter quarters in the early 1900′s. Most issues cover a half dozen topics varying in length from a single page to fifteen pages

Circus Fans Association of America (CFA)

The CFA dates back to 1926 when the first annual convention was held in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The purpose of the Circus Fans Association of America is:

Education & Understanding – To provide educational resources related the circus. To promote an understanding and appreciation of the art of the circus.

Communication – To be a point of contact between the people of the circus, artists or executives, and the outside world.

Support – To help insure the Circus will continue to exist among us as a social, educational and recreational art form. Visit our Calendar page to view support events..

Preservation- The National Circus Preservation Society (NCPS) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization affiliated with CFA. Its main goal is to develop, promote, and advance information and knowledge for a better understanding of the American Circus, and to preserve the circus as part ofAmerican history.

Publishing – The White Tops is the official magazine of the Circus Fans Association of America. It began as a newsletter in May, 1927 and now is a color magazine that comes with the CFA membership six times a year.

Circus Model Builders (CMB)

Circus Model Builders are men and women, boys and girls who love the circus so much they want to have a show of their own. They know and are fascinated by the circus as a whole. They know the progress of a circus day from the minute the first train or truck pulls into sight until the fading lights in the distance tell them that the show is gone and that another circus day has become a memory. A Circus Model Builder’s goal is to own a show in miniature-down to the last performer, roustabout, bull, wagon, or prop. Whatever the size-one wagon or a complete show-you can be sure it is a true replica of this great institution.

The Little Circus Wagon is the official magazine of the Circus Model Builders, Inc. and is one of the many benefits of joining the CMB. It is published six times a year. This is the authority on Circus models and model building. In it’s pages you’ll find great articles, circus pictures, circus news, modeling plans and other things of interest to circus enthusiast, all contributed by members, for members

Windjammers Unlimited

Windjammers Unlimited is an historical music society that is dedicated to the preservation of traditional music of the circus. This music is kept alive via live performances and recording sessions at the annual convention and summer meetings.

Annual membership includes a subscription to the Circus Fanfare newsletter, the official publication of the Windjammers. The Circus Fanfare is published bi-monthly and is mailed to current members. It contains articles, reviews and information on Windjammer events.

Membership is open to all who share an interest in playing, hearing and preserving the traditional music of the circus.

20 Responses to “Circus Collector Fan Organizations”

  1. Don Boyd says:

    Please check e-bay, Ilona Rittler for oil painting of Emmett Kelly, Worlds most famous clown by one of Americas premiere
    artist, done in 1974 thanks don boyd

  2. I have circus memorabilia from Harmston’s Royal Menagerie and Circus. This includes posters, photos and twenty years of correspondence between Clarence Bruce and a man in Kansas. The whole package dates from 1905 through about 1920.

    • Larry Kellogg Larry Kellogg says:

      Jennifer,

      It seems to be a very interesting grouping of circus memorabilia. If you are looking to donate it, the the State of Florida’s Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota would be an excellent home for the collection. If you are looking for an evaluation you can click on the “Research Your Items” tab you will find two ways to find advice about value—the “Worthopedia – Price Guide” and “Ask a Worthologist – Expert Advice.”

    • Antony Harmston says:

      Hi Jennifer
      My Great Grandfather George owned and performed in The Harmston Circus. I would like if possible to obtain copies of the memorabilia or alternatively I would be very interested in purchasing your collection if you intend to sell. I have an extensive collection of memorabilia from when our circus was founded in the 1800′s to its demise in 1936. I look forward to hearing from you.
      Best Regards
      Tony

    • Gail Frew says:

      Hi Jennifer
      I was wondering if you still have your Harmston memoribilia.
      My grandmother was Nallie Harmston-Love and my uncle was William Harmston. I would be very interested in being able to talk with you. Hae you come from a circus background?

  3. josh overstreet says:

    i got a 1910 ringling bothers orig poster in great shape need to know what its worth………………….thanks

    • Larry Kellogg Larry Kellogg says:

      Josh,

      Thank you for your question. The purpose of this response section is to ask questions or make comments about the article above. I am not allowed to evaluate items here. If you will click on the “Research Your Items” tab you will find two ways to find advice about value—the “Worthopedia – Price Guide” and “Ask a Worthologist – Expert Advice.”

  4. Séppo Tauriainen says:

    Hi. I am finnish circus artist and collector. Is there anybody interested to change circus programs? I have many programs to change most from scandinavia. Please if you are interested e-mail me.

    seppo.tauriainen@hotmail.com

  5. posterazzi says:

    1950s Photographs—Russian Circus & Chinese Circus

    Soviet Film Documentaries from the early 1950s

    Director: Leonid Varlamov
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0890030/

    14 Lobby Cards with 13 original photographs attached:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/posterazzi/CircusRussiaChina?authkey=Gv1sRgCIiw0vLeiYaUJg#

    $750

  6. Emiliano says:

    http://fotoalbum.virgilio.it/circo/

    over 1200 phots of posters european circus for sale
    scanner2@virglio.it

  7. jim mickolas says:

    i have a big golden picture book with the circus and has 8 full page posters including barnum and bailey,ringling bros,forepaugh and sells bros,sells and floto posters .i cant find anything online about them. the set is still in the wrapper from 1979.anyone know anything about this please email me pfctnk0311@yahoo.com

  8. jim mickolas says:

    sorry i entered the wrong section for this
    …i appologize

  9. Jo'ann Allen says:

    My father worked as a roustabout for Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey circus from 1948 to 1953?. He made a scrapbook with circus newspaper articles, tickets, schedules for shows and programs ( just the front covers). I know there is an article about Gargantua. Is there any place I can donate this scrapbook to? I hate to have it just sitting in a closet and I know he would have liked it to be appreciated.

    • Larry Kellogg Larry says:

      Jo’ann,

      Yes, I would suggest donating it to the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, Florida. I’ll email additional information to you.

  10. kelly says:

    My great grandparents performed in both Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Brothers circus’ in the early 1900s. We donated my great grandmother’s circus chest (she was a well known bareback rider) and and some of the photographs to Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wi, but I have some additional old photographs that I may be interested in selling, and I would appreciate any advice about how to locate and contact legitimate potential buyers without having to join any group or association.

    • Larry Kellogg Larry Kellogg says:

      Kelly,

      Jay, You might try some of the Internet sales sites. You can place a classified ad on WorthPoint.com.

    • D.T. says:

      Hi Kelly,

      I am always buying great circus photographs and other interesting circus and side show items. Let me know if you are still interested in sharing and/or selling.

      Thanks,

      D.T.

  11. jay spencer says:

    i have aquired a nice photo lot of 40 snapshot photos taken behind the scenes at what i was told the hartford circus of 1944 where the great fire happened theres a few of emmett kelly in there as well as other clowns , circus performers , animals trucks, and wagons and even a few of the bell ringer parade wagon . Id like to sell the entire group to a collector that appreciates this type of memorobilia if interested contact me at jayspence1936@gmail.com

    i can send scans of the photos to you

    these are rare one of kind photos not like the press release ones these were personal snapshots taken by a photographer from tiffin ohio

  12. posterazzi says:

    Original Movie Lobby Cards—CIRCUS**

    http://picasaweb.google.com/posterazzi/Circus#

    The first number following each title represents the number of cards available.
    Email me with your selections, and I will respond with prices.

    angelitos del trapecio—11—circ
    At the circus—18—13002000—com
    big circus—5—com2
    billy roses jumbo—19—com8
    caged fury—8—3060—g1
    caged fury—9—3060—g10
    carnival story—6—com13
    Carny—1—1sh/bad15.JPG
    Circo—6—1114az—can
    Circo—6—1114—can
    circo de audaces—8—circ
    Circus of charles chaplin—11—com
    circus of horrors—11—3050—sf2
    circus world—16—3050—jw
    crimen en el circo—11—circ
    eight and a half—20—75150—dir
    el circo de chino—4—circ/cir2.JPG
    en la pista del circo—5—circ
    fearless fagan—5—100k11
    flying fontaines—8—100k6
    gorgo—10—50100—sf5
    greatest show on earth—13—50100—100k16
    greatest show on earth—33—1530—g3
    Hija del payaso—5—az3/mx779.JPG
    killers—11—100k13
    killers—9—200400—g4
    la cenicienta del circo “pelusa”—9—circ
    la madrecita—16—circ
    la venenosa—8—circ/cir1
    marx—at the circus
    merry andrew—19—com4
    pelusa—12—circ
    psycho circus—4—circ
    que lios con mi novia—14—circ
    roman circus—11—gla2
    Roustabout—13—4075—elv
    salaam bombay—nair—7—dir2
    santa sangre—5—////—dir
    seven faces of dr lao—18—2035—sf3
    Tarzans New York Adventure—17—8001400—tz
    Tiger Walks—17—1020—dla
    trapeze—21—2035—g10
    un dia en el circo—16—circ
    valley of gwangi—13—3060—sf2
    venganza en el circo—10—circ
    Wagons roll at night—23—250500—hb

    Chinese Circus, Russian Circus—cbrd—actual photos attached
    http://picasaweb.google.com/posterazzi/CircusRussiaChina#

    #########################################################################

    The Posters are original, and come from a Regional Film Archive in Mexico City.
    They were designed in Hollywood and printed in Mexico.
    Each Poster contains the same design elements found on Posters from the US.
    They contain both stills from the Film and also design elements from the One Sheet Poster.

    The typography, photos, artwork, stars names, credits, drawings, scenes, emotional impact,
    appeal, and intrinsic value are virtually the same as Posters from Hollywood or any other
    international Metropolis where the film had been shown.

    However, the layout will be much flashier, more graphically intensive, or even more lurid.
    The size is appx. 13″ x 17″—over 40% larger than a standard Lobby Card.
    As such, each Poster is a cross between a Jumbo Lobby Card, Title Card, and a One Sheet Poster.
    The Posters were printed on either heavy Cardboard Stock, thick fine Linen Paper, or
    sturdy Poster Stock.

    Overall very good condition, altho there will be occasional tears, pinholes, stains, etc.
    There are eight different variations for each poster—containing different stills from the film.
    Some dupes.
    ##############################################################################

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