In years past, my collection of ads had come from antique malls and flea markets. Vendors would take old magazines of LIFE, TIME, Look, Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, Newsweek, Ladies Home Journal, and dozens of older vintage magazines and rip the ads out one by one to sell individually.
The profit margins were substantial and a huge market began. Many people still sell ads on eBay, the antique stores and flea markets still peddle them. Then someone noticed the effect it had on the used magazine market - old magazines that normally sold for $5 or less were now $20 or more. Thanks to the continued shredding of older magazines, finding complete magazines are getting more scarce in the marketplace.
I began to look at the ads I had collected and noticed the uneven cuts out of the magazine with a box cutter. The quality of many of the ads were good but could have been better. I had no system of organizing my ads and it was a nightmare dealing with them.
Early in 2009, I began purchasing the December issues of vintage magazines. Full, complete issues in excellent to mint condition that have sat untouched on a shelf, preserving the ads inside.
By the end of this year, I have well over 100 magazines, each containing on average 50 - 60 ads in each issue. When a new magazine comes in, I take a trip over to my local FedEx Store (formerly Kinko's) and make color copies of each full page, half page, and page length ads in each issue. The smaller column ads are scanned in later at my home.
My most recent acquisition was:
The late 1940s and 1950s was the peak in regards to magazine advertising. Newspapers, radio, or (if you could afford one) television were all in black & white. Many issues from this period were overflowing with advertising: this issue contains 171 pages. A typical issue of LIFE in 1939 or 1959 would have been 100-120 pages.
Normally in the past, I would post one strange or unusual ad here. However, since the cataloging or these magazines have been all I've been doing for the better part of this year, I've decided to post ALL of the ads I scanned out of this issue:
I was able to upgrade my PhotoShop software this year and I'm now able to finally stitch together double page ads that have eluded me for a long time:
You may notice that there are no "Click on image to enlarge" captions under any of the images like before. In the past, I would post the high-resolution ads, allowing you to download the images free of watermarks so Christmas enthusiasts and collectors would appreciate them.
However, many people have been appropriating my ads for their own without crediting the source (me). If you choose to use these ads, just give the blog a little shout-out and I'll be cool with it, k?
I'm still offering high-res images - each ad is between 3 to 6 MB each (300 dpi) so I didn't include all of them into one big ZIP file - it would be over 200 MB and you'd be downloading for almost 90 minutes. So...
LIFE Magazine - December 5, 1949 Pt. 1
LIFE Magazine - December 5, 1949 Pt. 2
And in the past, I've asked people to leave a funny comment or remark and I'd post it. That part of the feature will return at some point, just not now.
Hoping the Christmas clip art contained within will decorate hundreds of Christmas CD covers everywhere... what do you think?