One of the most accessible and affordable categories of
The collectible items include rulers, pencils - both mechanical and wooden - pencil sharpeners, tablets, book covers and ink blotters. They were produced in enormous quantities, are readily available and in most cases are relatively inexpensive.
Many of the products given away to schools and students were produced by the Company and distributed by bottlers. Often, the bottler's name will be stamped on the piece. The value may be higher if the item is dated.
The Golden Rule
Probably the single most common school item is the socalled "Golden Rule Ruler," with the golden rule - "Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You" - printed on the back. Millions were given away. Petretti's
And, as in all categories of
A contour-bottle-shaped pencil sharpener from the 1930s is valued at $35 in Petretti's guide. But a full box of 12 of the sharpeners is estimated to bring $500.
Many of the school items were given to children at the end of the traditional tour of the local
These bottling plant tours remain a fond memory for many people. I still hear from adults who share their stories of watching
One of the earliest items that
Book Covers & More
An enormous range of book covers is also available. Petretti's guide features book covers ranging in value from $3 to $12.
In the 1920s, The
Because these card sets are common, they do not bring high prices. Petretti's guide prices a complete set of 20 wild flower cards from 1923 in the original envelope at $75. A complete set of 96 Nature Study cards in the original box is priced at $60.
In 1932, the Company produced a Famous Doctors Series, from Hippocrates to Louis Pasteur to Walter Reed. These were larger than the nature cards, and could be hung on the classroom wall for instructional purposes. A complete set of six paper folders is priced at $250 in Petretti's guide.
In the mid-1940s, the Company produced the "Our America" series featuring 11 different industries, including cotton, oil, steel, transportation and motion pictures. Petretti's guide prices a complete "Our America" teacher's kit in the original envelope at $50. The series was accompanied with posters that can bring $18 each.
To The Moon & Beyond
In 1969, the Company produced a poster and record commemorating the "Trip to the Moon." In the 1970s, the Company distributed science and ecology kits, as well as a box set of "Black Guardians of Freedom." The "Guardians" kits contained an audio-visual presentation of the contributions of African Americans to American culture. These kit s were supplemented by "Golden Legacy," a series of 11 illustrated comic books on the lives of prominent black leaders, including Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Joseph Cinque. The final "Golden Legacy" volume was "Men of Action," profiling NAACP leaders and jurists.
These items were distributed in large quantities that keep the price down in this collectibles category. All of these school items were colorful and interesting, so children and their parents tended to keep them. Because of their availability and cost, I often recommend educational materials as an easy way to get started in the
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