Buildings, Banks..and Bridges?

When we think of a souvenir building, one thinks of the impressive memorials, towers and skyscrapers from around the world. A lot of cities in our world today, however, would not be as successful or famous without a different kind of structure: the bridge.

Sometimes, a bridge can be the more well known than the buildings it connects. The Golden Gate Bridge has become synonymous with San Francisco, the London Bridge even has a song (though the original no longer lives in London). Believe it or not,  a lot of bridges are worth a souvenir, and traveling around the globe, one can find many miniatures to bring home. Beautiful, strong, and impressive—bridges are an excellent addition to any building collection.

Here are some exmaples of souvenir bridges:


A painted metal Golden Gate Bridge. Collection of Seamus McMahon

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The Ponte Sisto Bridge of Florence and Charles Bridge of Prague. Both Resin. Collection of Seamus McMahon

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The Chain Bridge of Budapest. Resin.  Collection of Seamus McMahon

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Mackinac Bridge in Michigan. Resin, with cars running through it and lit with holiday lights. Collection of Seamus McMahon

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Sometimes a brdge can be featured in a cityscape, like the Brooklyn Bridge here of New York. Resin. Collection of Seamus McMahon

Have some bridges of your own? We’d love to see them! Please feel free to post in the comment section or on our Facebook page at


The French Worsted Company: will be at the SBCS Auction

Back in 2002, the Souvenir Building Collector, Journal of the Souvenir Building Collectors Society, published a part travelogue, part historical, and part descriptive article by Bill Trainer on The French Worsted Company, Woonsocket, RI.  A miniature replica of this company’s buildings and campus is sought after by souvenir building collectors.  In just a few days one of these replicas, from the Bob Kneisel collection, will be auctioned off at the SBCS 2018 Convention in Worcester, MA.

Here is the beginning of the article.

French Worsted

To read the whole article and peruse a copy of Volume 9, No. 4, Winter 2002 journal, click here.

Full copies (24 years) of the Journal of the Souvenir Building Collectors are digitally available to members of SBCS.  Join today.

There is still time to register for and attend the July 13 – 15 Convention in Worcester, MA. To visit the registration page click here. 

SBCS 2018: Kneisel Collectibles

Monuments, Mountains, Banks, Carillon………. Bring an empty bag to the 2018 SBCS Boston Convention!  Take a look at these additional pieces from the Kneisel Collection that will be available for purchase through the Swap Meet and the Auction on Saturday, July 14.  Don’t miss out!  Click here for Registration Information!


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The Deadlines are Coming! The Deadlines are Coming!


Paul Revere

Hey Everybody! This year’s convention is almost upon us, and that can only mean that deadlines for hotel and convention registration are even closer. The Preferred Rate of $129.00 for Hotel Rooms is this coming Sunday, June 10th. If you have not done so and are planning to book a room for the convention this year, please consider doing so before this date. You can either call or reserve online, here are the details:

ANNUAL CONVENTION – July 13 & 14 2018 is at the
Hilton Garden Inn, 35 Major Taylor Blvd, Worcester, MA 01608 Call: 1 508 753-5700

Hotel reservations at special convention rate of $129.00 per night (plus tax) including parking must be made by June 21 or a higher rate will apply.

Group name: SBCS Annual
Group Code: SBCS


Online Hotel Booking Page

And separate from hotel booking, please also note that the deadline for preferred registration for this year’s convention is Thursday, June 21st. If you register for the convention after this date, a late fee of $20.00 will need to be added. If you have not registered yet, you can do so either by mailing the form you should have received with your newsletter, or follow the instructions on our Convention 2018 section of the website. For all of those who have already registered, thank you for joining us, and no need to worry about those looming deadlines docking in Boston’s Harbor.

Look forward to seeing you all soon for a “Wicked” good time!



Compliments of Old North Church Gift Shop




Photo Credits: Revere-; Old North-

Bring Your Buck$ to Boston

A selection of approximately 25 souvenir buildings from Bob Kneisel’s Collection will be among the many offerings at the 2018 SBCS Convention SWAP MEET and AUCTION.  Ten of Kneisel’s buildings are shown below.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity at the 2018 SBCS Convention in Boston, July 13 – 15.  Here is a link to the Registration Information.


2018 Boston/Brimfield Convention: Hotel Booking and Faneuil Hall


Oh look at the time! Only 2 and a half months before the next SBCS convention is upon us. With the great combo of Boston, Brimfield, and the home base of Worcester, this convention is bound to be another great celebration of souvenir buildings and our fun group. While we wait in anticipation, we’ll be posting about some of the great landmarks to look out for as you stay in the Massachusetts area. Our first stop, Faneuil Hall.
An hour away from our hotel in Worcester, MA, Faneuil Hall has been a staple in the Boston cityscape for more than two centuries. First constructed in 1743, the building was funded entirely by merchant Peter Faneuil as a meeting place and market for the city.If you look at the top of the hall’s cupola, you will see a grasshopper—though not known for sure this appears to be an homage to the the Royal Exchange building in London  that has a similar weather vane.  A fire in 1761 completely gutted the building, and a reconstruction soon followed after. In 1806, the hall was expanded and the cupola moved to the other side of the building, creating the structure that we know well today.
Though unfortunately one of its first purposes was for slave trade, the hall has worn many hats over the years. It was the site of revolutionary speeches meetings by Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty, a theatre during British occupation, and now a top tourist attraction and market. A part of Boston’s Historic Freedom Trail, thousands of visitors walk through the building to take a look into the Great Hall, walk through the market stalls, and maybe buy that Boston souvenir you’ve been waiting for!
If you have not looked into booking yet, we recommend you do soon! As stated previously, rooms will only be held until June 21st, which will be upon us before you know it.
Please go to our convention section on the website for more details. The schedule for the convention should be arriving soon, and once details are hammered out, look for registration information on our site and in the newsletter to RSVP your attendance this year.
Photo Courtesy of Seamus McMahon

Kneisel Collection in Action in Pakistan

Photo of School Children viewing Architectural Models

Architectural Styles from around the world on view in the Museum of Architecture, TDCP, Changa Manga Resort

From cherished collection to firing children’s imaginations.  Bob Kneisel’s gift to the Souvenir Building Collectors Society is beginning to make friends across the sea.  In September, 2017, the first disbursement of small buildings to a museum was sent to The MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE at TDCP Changa Manga Resort, Punjab, Pakistan.  Click here to access SBCSociety post on initial placement.

And now SBCS is receiving updates from Muhammad Raza Kahn, President of the Cultural Foundation of Pakistan on how Bob’s treasured pieces are being used to foster understanding of Architecture across cultures.   He is also interested in expanding and filling out the Museum’s examples of Architecture.  The attached links show the student activities during overnights at Changa Manga Resort.

Cultural Foundation of Pakistan

SBCS-Overnight Camp at Changa Manga Grp 9

If you are interested in contributing buildings to the TDCP Changa Manga Resort’s collection of architectural models, you can contact Muhammad Raza Kahn at




CHICAGO 2017 PHOTOS: Rare Souvenir Buildings and More ……..

The stories are swell at a SBCS Convention “Show and Tell.”

Original Irish Hill Tower and Gray Tower, Lenawee County, MI. Souvenir Buildings / Salt and Pepper Shakers.

Bill H. and Michael E. brought the tale and the evidence of the IRISH HILLS TOWERS saga.  Apparently in the 1920s a farmer,  who owned part of a hill that the Michigan Observation Company (MOC) sought to purchase for a tourist-based observation tower, refused to sell his portion.  Whereupon, the enterprising company purchased the adjoining piece of land and built the IRISH HILLS OBSERVATORY and opened it to the public in September of 1924, to great success.   By November of the same year (just 2 months later), the envious nay-sayer had built his own tower adjacent to the first and made it a bit higher to attract the tourists to his site.  Reacting to challenge the Michigan Observation Company added a second observation platform atop the first and called their tower the ORIGINAL IRISH HILLS TOWER.  The farmer then evened the height of his tower with the “Original” and named his tower the “Gray” tower.  MOC then countered with the threat of tearing down their tower and erecting a metal edifice so large that the challenge would be over.  From then until the 1950s the towers were competing attractions.  In the 1950s they were operated as one attraction with a gift shop between.   As of today, they are on the US National Register of Historic Places.  Bill’s and Michael’s Salt and Pepper Shakers depict the Original Irish Hills Tower and the Gray Tower.

Sofitel Hotel (a former City Hall), Amsterdam; Dordrecht City Hall, Netherlands.

From the KLM and Goedewaagen collection of Simon H. comes a pair of rare Goedewaagen porcelain buildings.  The building on the left is the Sofitel Legend Grand Amsterdam Hotel, the site and building has a long and storied history, prior to it’s re-incarnation as a hotel.  The building on the left is the City of Hall of Dordrecht.


Steve B. and Terry M. went building hunting with Joe K. at the start of the weekend in Chicago.  To the delight of all, the finds were special and the swapping even better.  Terry found the very nice St. Peter’s Basilica in the same mall that Joe found the University Hall and a mutually-agreed-upon swap was executed.

McPherson Opera House souvenir building and as pictured in a iPhone photograph.

Steve also shared his acquisition of the McPherson Opera House and the photo he had taken of the actual building.

There are lots of convention photos to be seen in the Members Only portion of the website.  Head on over to MEMBERS ONLY / CONVENTION PHOTOS and click one of more of the links under 2017.

KNEISEL COLLECTION: Initial Museum Donation

The MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE at TDCP Changa Manga Resort, Punjab, Pakistan is the first recipient of souvenir buildings from the Kneisel Collection.

A portion of the Cultural Foundation of Pakistan powerpoint presentation.

In June of 2016, Robert Kneisel willed his collection of some 4000 plus souvenir buildings and statues to the Souvenir Building Collectors Society. The SBCS formed a Kneisel Collection Team spearheaded by Chris S. to address the disposition of such a magnificent gift. The team quickly determined that the bulk of the quality buildings could form the basis of a permanent display of souvenir buildings in one or more museums. Planning toward this end began in August of 2016.

Serendipitously, in March of 2017, the Society was approached, through the SBCSociety website, by Muhammad Raza Kahn, President of the Cultural Foundation of Pakistan. He told of the establishment of a Museum of Architecture and requested, from the Souvenir Building Collectors Society, the donation of architectural models of world landmarks for a display to be entitled “EXPLORE CULTURE THROUGH ARCHITECTURE.

Joe K. and Chris S. took the lead in contacting and working with Mr. Kahn, who provided the Kneisel Collection Team with a powerpoint presentation detailing the plans for the Museum of Architecture and how it our small buildings would become part of the larger exhibit.  Click below to view the presentation (remember to hit the arrow to make it run):

The team confirmed the suitablility of the request and selected an array of iconic world miniature buildings as the donation. The selected items made their way from Los Angeles, through Canada, and on to Pakistan, where they arrived in September 2017. They will be displayed at the ModelTown Museum in Lahore, Pakistan.


While this story is about the donation to the Museum of Architecture in Pakistan, it is also a reminder that SBCS is looking for other museums or appropriate institutions (library, university or college, city hall) who are interested in permanently acquiring souvenir buildings for display.  If you have a suggestion or two – Send the Kneisel Collection Committee an email.