The View From the “Committee”
It has been three years since the SBCS was willed the Bob Kneisel Collection. As in every other aspect of Life, Time marches on. The Kneisel Committee, an ad-hoc group designated by the SBCS Leadership in 2016, was organized. The Committee started a series of meetings to determine how to best use Bob’s Legacy for the benefit of both the SBCS and the Souvenir Building Community.
Initially, the goal was to donate the entire Collection to an Organization that would curate, and display all or part of the Collection in a public setting. This would allow both SBCS Members and the public at large access to the comprehensive Collection and provide a fitting Memorial to Bob.
There were several interested candidate Organizations. Most were non-profit and required that SBCS include an ongoing endowment for curating and managing the Collection, something SBCS is not in a financial position to support. Other interested Organizations wanted to market the items as a fundraising plan for their own organization thus splitting up the Collection.
One Institution that did receive the benefit of a donation of buildings from the Kneisel Collection was the Cultural Foundation of Pakistan, Museum of Architecture. The Museum used the souvenir buildings as part of a larger display of world architecture aimed toward school age children. This was a rewarding donation for SBCS, but was not a venue available to the North American public or SBCS Members.
In 2018, the National Building Museum announced the pending acquisition of a Souvenir/Miniature Building Collection like Bob Kneisel’s Collection. This event changed the focus of the Kneisel Committee. With the other Collection becoming available in a National Museum at a national level, the Committee looked to other ways to utilize the Collection.
Discussion at both the 2017 Chicago and 2019 Kansas City SBCS Conventions revealed that many Members in attendance wanted a chance to obtain pieces from the Kneisel Collection. The Committee then looked for ways to honor this request.
Bob’s Collection had over 4000 pieces and was very eclectic. At each SBCS Convention since 2015 a selection of items was presented and distributed to SBCS Convention Members through auction, sale or raffle. For these events items selected from the Collection were themed toward the Convention location.
These distributions only benefited the small percentage of SBCS Members who attend the SBCS Conventions. The Committee wanted other ways to start the distribution of the Collection to benefit as many SBCS Members as possible.
The Committee started offering Category and Flash Sales to all qualified Members. Initial offerings were specific categories in the Collection including certain levels of souvenir building quality and/or other types of Collectibles categories such as human and animal figurines, snow globes, charms, stadiums and crested porcelain.
These sales allow for an expanded group of SBCS Members to participate, but do not meet the desire of the SBCS Organization to distribute the remaining Collection into the hands of more SBCS Members or the Collecting Community at large.
Moving Forward in 2020
As the Flash Sales end in Spring 2020, we will be moving to the next and final phases of distributing the Kneisel Collection. It will happen in two phases that will start concurrently.
Phase 1 will be the offering an expanded selection of items from the Collection at the October 2020 SBCS Convention in Jackson MS. This selection of items will be offered in the traditional way items have been offered at past Conventions including a Swap Meet, a silent or live Auction item or as raffle items.
Phase 2 will be the offering of the entire remaining Collection through an Auction House. The actual scheduling of this event is still in the planning stages, so it may or may not happen in conjunction with Phase 1. One Auction House under consideration utilizes Live Auctions allowing a greater number of souvenir building Collectors (and SBCS Members) to have access to the auctions without having to travel to the auction site.
Through these two Phases, SBCS Members will reap the benefits of the Kneisel Collection
SBCS Management and the Committee will be holding one part of the Collection as a legacy SBCS Collection. The SBCS Convention Souvenir Buildings from 1999 through the 2019 Kansas City Convention will be held by the Society for historical purposes. Bob Kneisel had collected all of the Commemoratives through 2015, and the Kneisel Committee has added each year’s Commemorative since.
All fees charged to date, and all future fees charged from remaining Flash Sales and the profits from the two final Phases are used to defray costs for distributing the Collection and support other SBCS activities.