QUICK REMINDER: SBCS annual dues are due! Password to Members Only section changes on February 2, 2017. If you are not current on dues you will not receive the updated password.

The 2017 Souvenir Building Collectors Society convention team is working hard to finalize dates and venue. As we await the announcement, let’s start pulling together a list of Chicago area souvenir buildings.  If there are Chicago area miniature buildings in your collection that you want to be sure are listed, you can use the form at the bottom of this post to give us a “heads up.”  Check out the printable pdf that was produced for the 2016 Los Angeles Convention.

Fine Arts Building, 1893 World's Columbian Fair, Chicago

Fine Arts Building, 1893 World’s Columbian Fair, Chicago. Photo from Photo Album produced for the Fair.

In 1893 Chicago, IL hosted the World’s Columbian Fair. There are few surviving buildings from this Columbian Exposition. One is the pictured, Palace of Fine Arts, which is now Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Click here to visit the Building Collector’s post with a picture of an early souvenir building of the museum.  The same miniature is found in Monumental Miniatures, Souvenir Buildings From the Collection Of Ace Architects, Fig. 62, pg. 30.  Do you have a miniature building of the Palace of Fine Arts or any of it’s reincarnations – Field Columbian Museum or Museum of Science and Industry?

One other surviving building from the 1893 World’s Columbian Fair is still in Chicago. It is the World’s Congress Building, which was built by the City of Chicago in conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago. Following the exhibition it became the Art Institute of Chicago.

A  few buildings from the exposition were dispersed to other locations, and there may be miniature examples out there, somewhere, in someone’s collection. They are: Norway Pavilion, a creation of a wooden stave church, that has had a peripatetic life and is apparently now being reassembled Orkdal, Norway; Maine State Building, now in Poland Springs, ME; and Dutch House, Brookline, Massachusetts.


Remembering Christmases Past

SBCS 2016 Holiday Card reminder to renew your membership.

SBCS 2016 Holiday Card reminder to renew your membership. Courtesy of Carolyn Curtis, Membership Chairman.

In past Holiday Seasons, before so many gift selections went online, we all got lots of gift catalogs. The bounty of items found in those catalogs was detailed by Dixie Trainer, the first editor of SOUVENIR BUILDING COLLECTOR, in the 2003 Winter Issue. She recommended checking out AND even saving for later perusal catalogs that held pictures of a variety of small and unique buildings. To quote Dixie, “…. souvenir buildings light up, scale down, serve drinks, lie on the floor, play music, organize your books and challenge the mind.” Click here to be taken to the full article from 2003. And enjoy a trip to Christmas Past.

Take Advantage of the SBCS Website

The SOUVENIR BUILDING COLLECTORS SOCIETY website has lots of useful features. It is divided into a PUBLIC section (anyone can visit and view) and a MEMBERS ONLY section (for members of the SBCS).

The PUBLIC section TABS include:

  • HOME: The home page is SBCS’ face to the public. Here is where updates on activities, interesting programs, articles, stories from members are posted intermittently. If you want to stay current with SBCS programs, over to the right is a spot where you can register to receive an email when a new post goes up. Good way to stay abreast of convention plans. In that same right column there is a search field for the public areas of the website, as well as a listing of recent posts and a listing of categories. All of these can make a search a little easier.
  • ABOUT SBCS: A HISTORY of the organization which begins in 1995; IN THE MEDIA – listings with links to articles and videos in local and national publications about Souvenir Buildings and their collectors; PAST CONVENTIONS – summary of locales and the commemorative souvenir.
  • 2017 CONVENTION: Updates on the upcoming annual Convention.
  • MEMBERSHIP: List of SBCS membership benefits and link to membership application and payment.
Advertising a Souvenir Building Auction

Advertising a Souvenir Building Auction

  • SALES: There are two links under this tab, one for COMMERCIAL sales by sellers who are members of SBCS – link to the member’s commercial site can be provided, the second is for INDIVIDUAL members who would like to offer some of their collection publicly. In both instances the transaction is between the buyer and seller – SBCS only provides the means of contact. Take a look and see if you would like to take advantage of this member benefit. In the past there have been a couple of offers in the individual section.
  • CONTACT US: This tab allows you to send an email message to the site, which is reviewed and forwarded to the appropriate person. It also is a conduit for questions about souvenir buildings.
  • LINKS: There are number of links to other sites that can be used for networking, browsing, and research. You can link to the Souvenir Building Collectors’ Facebook page (a closed group – but open to accepting new friends – SBCS membership not required), The Building Collector blog, National Building Museum, Canadian Centre for Architecture, The Still Bank Collectors, etc.



The MEMBERS ONLY section (TAB) includes access to:

  • BANTHRICO BUILDINGS THEN & NOW (downloadable pdf) by Lance Oldham
  • Building Exchange / Sales: member to member, also has a Wanted page
  • Convention Photos taken by members over a number of years


  • SBCS Newletter: Listing of back issues with links to each (downloadable pdf); Updated Indexes of Articles & Features, Authors, and Topics.
  • Officers: Listing of present Society Officers.


Navy Pier, Chicago, IL

Navy Pier, Chicago, IL

Here’s a photo of a vintage Navy Pier souvenir building as  A REMINDER THAT WE MEET IN THE FALL OF 2017 IN CHICAGO!

SBCS Convention Dreaming: Los Angeles June 10-12, 2016

The annual SBCS convention gives everyone a chance to share some of their favorite Souvenir Buildings with others who collect. Here are some buildings and monuments you are likely to see at the 2016 Los Angeles gathering, June 10 -12.

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This year at the Friday “Meet and Greet” everyone is asked to wear a Hawaiian Shirt and a Hat, in honor of Bob Kneisel, who always appeared dressed and ready for a vacation in the 50th State. In 20 years, Bob never missed a Convention. We will miss him.

Relaxing at the SBCS "Meet and Greet"

Relaxing at the SBCS “Meet and Greet”

A reminder of the SBCS Convention Schedule:

June 10, Friday:
Hollyhock House Tour (afternoon)
Meet and Greet (evening)

June 11, Saturday:
Business Meeting and Swap Meet (morning)
Tour to L.A. Downtown Art Deco District (afternoon)
Dinner / Raffle / Auction (evening)

June 12, Sunday
Rose Bowl Flea Market followed by a visit to a local collector.

If you haven’t yet registered for the convention there is still time. Click here for the details.

ARE YOU READY? CAN YOU DIG IT? – SBCS Convention June 10 – 12

The 2016 SBCS Convention is almost here!

  • Locals are readying their collections for your inspection.
From the 2003 SBCS Convention

From the 2003 SBCS Convention

  • Swap Meet Masters are checking their inventories for those pieces they hope to make a deal with.

SBCS 2014 SWAP Meet


  • The FREE-4-ALL at the FREEBEES table where  a selection of buildings from upgrading (or downsizing) or just generally generous members are giving everyone else a chance at those duplicates, or triplicates, etc. etc. etc.

The original Freebees table started by Bob Kneisel at the SBCS 2009 convention

  • Clever Collectors are planning their assault on the “Paper Bag Raffle” – Strings of Raffle Tickets decorate the landscape at the Saturday Evening Festivities.
  • Who knows what will be up for Auction at the end of the evening? Some past goodies have included the Travelers Insurance Co. Hartford, CT; The Peoples United States Bank, St. Louis; and a Mike Merwine re-cast of The Gotham Bank Building.

What souvenir or monument find are you bringing to share with the group?

If you haven’t yet registered for the convention there is still time. Click here for the details.

Coveted Souvenir: The SBCS Convention Commemoratives

What will be the 2016 SBCS Convention Commemorative?

What will be the 2016 SBCS Convention Commemorative?

SBCS Convention Commemoratives are limited.  They are distributed at the annual convention and are a coveted addition to everyone’s collection.  There is still time to register for the 2016 Convention in Los Angeles, June 10-11-12.  Here are some photos of earlier commemoratives:

Click here to view a larger list of commemoratives and the locales of past SBCS conventions.

Yes! Bette, There is a Downtown in Los Angeles!

Los Angeles Conservancy’s Art Deco Tour conducted by Souvenir Building Collectors Society’s own Chris Spry!  Saturday, June 11.  One of the many highlights of this year’s SBCS Convention.   

Conventional wisdom is that there is no “there” in Downtown Los Angeles. Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica have often eclipsed the original city core in imagery of Southern California. Downtown Los Angeles, now often referred to as DTLA, has always been an important center in Southern California and grew exponentially during certain periods. One era when DTLA experienced growth was post World War I through the 1920’s and into the 1930’s. Many examples of urban buildings during that era currently exist in DTLA, though many were threatened by commercial and governmental growth in the late Twentieth Century.

Downtown Los Angeles

Eastern Columbia Building

Join us for a walking tour of several of the prime examples of the Art Deco genre of commercial and government buildings that have endured, clustered around the Pershing Square hub in the downtown area. The Los Angeles Conservancy has arranged this two-hour tour and was directly involved in facilitating preservation of many of the buildings through innovative reuse and rehabilitation strategies.

Downtown Los Angeles

Title Guarantee Building

We will take a chartered coach from our Convention Hotel, the Embassy Suites LAX North to Pershing Square and return after the tour. The cost is $30 per person. Chris Spry will be leading the tour. He has recently become a certified Los Angeles Conservancy docent for this tour.
Extra! Extra!
As this post was being prepared, TIMEOUT Los Angeles posted an excellent capsule of influential buildings shaping the Los Angeles architectural landscape. The post includes references to buildings we will see on our two tours, the Eastern Columbia Building and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. They also mention father and son architects, John and Robert Parkinson, who also have buildings represented on the Art Deco Tour! Take a look by clicking here: TIMEOUT Los Angeles


Check It Off Your Bucket List! The Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market


The 2016 Souvenir Building Collectors Society Convention weekend coincides with the monthly BIG-ONE, The Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market!  Join fellow Souvenir Building enthusiasts as they scour the stalls for the smallest, oldest, rarest, biggest, most interesting souvenir building, monument, statue, landmark.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find one of these replicas of the Rose Bowl.

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The 2016 SBCS Convention is June 10 to 12.  The Convention Hotel is the Embassy Suites LAX North, a convenient location next to the Airport.  Click here for a link to the 2016 Convention Page.

California, Here We Come! June 10 – 12, 2016

Logo for 2016 SBCS Convention in The City of Angels

Take advantage of Early Bird Registration for SBCS’ Annual Convention!  Register before May 10, 2016 and save.  Click here for the Registration Form and Instructions.

Special SBCS Convention Hotel Rates at the EMBASSY SUITES LAX North are available until May 19.  The special hotel rates are extendable for 2 nights before and after the Convention.  Such a deal!  Click here for the full information on the available rates.


June 10, Friday:
Early Bird Optional: Hollyhock House Tour (afternoon)
Meet & Greet / Show & Tell (evening)

June 11, Saturday:
Business Meeting and Swap Meet (morning)
Optional Tour to L.A. Downtown Art Deco District (afternoon)
Dinner / Raffle / Auction (evening)

June 12, Sunday:
Rose Bowl Flea Market followed by a visit to a local collector.

Click here for the SBCS 2016 Convention Details.

CALLING ALL Southern California Souvenir Building Collectors !!!!!

Photo of Los Angeles Map

Southern California portion of Home Federal Savings and Loan Assoc. Map poster. Copyright 1973

The SBCS Convention 2016 will be held in Los Angeles. Here is your chance to share your passion for miniature buildings, monuments, statues and landmarks with others who are just as nutty as you are about these little gems. The event organizers are looking for local Southern California members, past members, or future members who are anxious to share their collections with Souvenir Building Collectors Society convention attendees.

As one convention organizer put it, “ Though I had been a member of SBCS for many years, I had never been involved until the last local Convention which was held in Pasadena in 2009. I was hooked, and have attended every annual Convention since.”

This year’s event will be held on June 9 -10 -11, 2016. Our base of operation will be the Embassy Suites hotel near LAX. One of the main draws for many attendees is the opportunity to see other SBCS Members’ collections. We are looking for Members who would be interested in showcasing their collection by being part of a Progressive Collection Tour around the Los Angeles area.

If you are not centrally located in the Los Angeles area, but would be interested in showcasing highlights from your collection, other arrangements such as displays at the Convention hotel or at other Members homes might be arranged. We have done this successfully in the past.

If you have interest in showcasing your collection please send the organizer an email letting us know of your interest.