• 28 Sep
    2010

Circus Collectibles Delivered by Mail: Circus Letterhead

A hand-penned or typed letter from a circus is like receiving a work of art in the mail. Circus owners were never shy about advertising their shows, and even their colorful letterhead extolled the wonders of their circuses. And they didn’t stop there. The envelopes, too, were just as artful, so that all the mail […]

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  • 30 Aug
    2010

The Truth Behind the Famous yet Bogus ‘Ringling Brothers’ Mustache Cups’

“There are a thousand and one stories under the big top . . .” The above is a phrase oft repeated by circus publicists over and over. And those in the know jokingly add “. . . and some of the stories are even true.” In the 1930s Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey press […]

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  • 16 Aug
    2010

Clowns — The Hearts of the Circus Make Great Collectible Category

Send in the clowns—and the elephants! When we go to a traditional American circus, we expect to see both, and any complete circus collection will have items related to these two icons. A future article will ponder pachyderms, but here we’ll focus on the funsters—the clowns, that P.T. Barnum called “…the pegs used to hang […]

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  • 27 Jul
    2010

Searching for the Origin of the Astley Circus Engravings

Once again, I was caught up in the hunt and loved every minute! In 1976, our bicentennial year, I was in the nation’s capitol on business. A Washington, D.C. street vendor had a wide assortment of prints and engravings at very reasonable prices. Always on the lookout for circus memorabilia, I asked the vendor if […]

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  • 10 Jul
    2010

Marx Brother Movie Helps Solve Circus Badge Mystery

A serious circus collector always keeps his eyes open to discover new and useful information. It can be found in the most unlikely places—old black and white movies, creased and worn magazines and ancient photographs. Once in a while a real treasure turns up. In April of this year (2010) I wrote a WorthPoint article […]

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  • 29 Jun
    2010

A Ticket Is Your Entry To The Big Show And More

If you want to see the circus, don’t try to sneak in for free. “All children must have ticket, regardless of age . . .” It’s the message emblazoned at the main entrance to the circus. Many tent circuses published a tongue-in-cheek photo of kids sneaking under the tent with a policeman close at hand. […]

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  • 8 Jun
    2010

You Can’t Tell Your Funambulists from Your Kinkers without Knowing Your Circus Lingo

Behind the scenes and on the back lot of any circus is another world, complete with its own language or lingo. The “Merriam-Webster Dictionary” defines lingo as “strange or incomprehensible language or speech; a foreign language; the special vocabulary of a particular field of interest.” Knowing something about circus lingo will help collectors in their […]

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  • 31 May
    2010

Collecting Circus Stamps Means a Worldwide Search

By far the most colorful circus stamps are those issued in foreign countries. The checklist provided by The American Topical Association (ATA) indicates there are 375 circus stamps from 105 different countries from the Aland Islands to Zambia. This is in addition to the U.S. circus stamps mentioned in my previous WorthPoint article titled Collect […]

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  • 24 May
    2010

Collect Circus Stamps for Color and Variety on a Budget

In the world of philately (the study and collection of postage stamps), there are those who concentrate on collecting topical stamps. The list is endless—music, birds, insects, animals, Christmas, sports, presidents and even topics within topics, such as Abraham Lincoln or Little League baseball. In fact there is an organization devoted exclusively to the field […]

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  • 3 May
    2010

Collecting ‘The Greatest Motion Picture On Earth’

“We bring you the circus, the pied piper whose magic tunes greet children of all ages, from 6 to 60, into a tinsel and spun-candy world of reckless beauty and mounting laughter and whirling thrills—of rhythm, excitement and grace—of blaring and daring and dance—of high-stepping horses and high-flying stars. But behind all this, the circus […]

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