Circus Memorabilia

Circus Memorabilia
“Official Price Guide to Collectibles”
by Harry L Rinker

The 1920s through the 1940s marked the golden age of the tent circus. The circus trains for Ringling and Barnum and Bailey often exceeded 100 cars. The advent of television marked the beginning of the tent circus’ decline. Mergers occurred. Most small circuses simply vanished. Today, the majority of circus performances occur at civic and institution auditoriums, not under the Big Top.

Most circus collectors are individuals who remember attending a circus under canvas. When this generation dies, what will be the fate of circus collectibles? Categories with crossover potential, e.g., lithographed posters, will hold collector interest. Others will vanish just as did the great circuses they document.

Reference: Norman E. Martinus and Harry L. Rinker, Warman’s Paper, Wallace-Homestead, Krause Publications,1994.

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