Over the weekend, I visited the Jon Lee Auction Gallery in Latham, N.Y.; they were having an auction of collectible breweriana and beer advertising. This person had amassed a nice collection by going into a bar, buying a round for everybody, then asking the tavern owner or barkeep if there was a figural advertisement or bar sign or bar light that he could take. And most times he got to take some choice pieces.
Unfortunately, after he passed on, most of these items were stored in a basement - and of course, basements in the Capital District are subject to humid and/or damp conditions.
A lot of dealers and collectors snapped up the choice pieces, including a reverse painted glass clock advertising Beverwyck Beer (one of the local brands), but I did pick up a few things - I mostly concentrated on advertising memorabilia of beers that the average Capital District drinker might purchase in the 1960's and 1970's - Ballantine, Utica Club, Schaefer and Hedrick's.
In the end, I walked away with some choice pieces, including an O'Keefe thermometer, a Ballantine Beer wall sconce (with two twinkle lights), a Schaefer "bubbling" beer mug (for those of you not familiar with Schaefer, it's the one beer to have if you're having more than one), a small collection of Utica Club beer coasters, a Beverwyck bakelite pull knob (for the bar tap), and some other electronic signs and advertising kinetics that were tossed in a "box lot."
I had checked out most of the items at the sale (I passed up a Utica Club lighted clock because the clock neither lit up nor told time), yet even though I did pick up some swank pieces, I know I'm going to have to replace the electrical cords on most of these - and swap out 40-year-old light bulbs for some LED lights or compact fluorescents.
I'll let you all know how things turn out. This might be a nice little project for me.