• 30
    Nov

Collecting the Business behind Circus Show Business

‘The Circus is the only ageless delight that you can buy for money. Everything else is supposed to be bad for you. But the Circus is good for you. It is the only spectacle I know that, while you watch it, gives the quality of a truly happy dream.’ — Ernest Hemingway Hemingway penned those […]

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  • 8
    Nov

Elephants’ Hidden Artistic Talents: Paintings Created By Elephants

Have you ever seen an elephant painting? No, not a painting of an elephant. There are scores of those. What I’m talking about is a painting, actually painted by an elephant. Yes, among their various talents, elephants do paint. In fact there’s an entire book on this subject, titled “When Elephants Paint,” written by Vitaly […]

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  • 26
    Oct

A Circus Isn’t a Circus Unless It Has a Band: Collecting Circus Music

“A circus isn’t a circus unless it has a band.” So said Merle Evans in his biography written by Gene Plowden. Of course, Evans would think that. For 50 years he was bandmaster for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Likewise, a good circus collection isn’t complete unless it contains music and music-related memorabilia. […]

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  • 5
    Oct

Magazines with An Emphasis On Circus Are Inexpensive Collectibles

Magazines often publish circus stories, along with colorful photos and graphics. In a previous article I wrote for WorthPoint (Magazine Articles Chronicle Circus Life of Yesterday and Today), I wrote of the popularity of the circus as a subject for magazine articles. Most of the information for that story came from a Circus Magazine Article […]

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  • 28
    Sep

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

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

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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  • 2
    Aug

Roy Rogers’ Auction is Truly the Last Roundup for Movie, Early TV Cowboys

“I’m heading for the last roundup Gonna saddle old Paint for the last time and ride So long, old pal. It’s time your tears were dried I’m heading for the last roundup” — Billy Hill, 1933 The last roundup is fast approaching for the B-movie, black-and-white western and early television cowboy stars. Gene, Hoppy and […]

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  • 27
    Jul

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

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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