KNEISEL COLLECTION UPDATE 2020

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.

School Children at the Architecture Museum in Lahore, Pakistan

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.

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.

CHICAGO 2017: It is in The Bag!

Convention Goodie Bag with brochures, maps, and schedule. 2017 Convention Building Souvenir: Wrigley Building Bank

Memories of: Architecture, Friends, FLW, the Bean, Museums, the River, Shopping, Swapping, and lots of Little Buildings! They’ve all been packed up and are headed for home ……………….

Kudos to Mark and Michael for a well-executed Convention with lots of options, camaraderie, and plenty of opportunities for acquisition of small buildings.  As plans for the next conventions crystallize they will be conveyed via The Journal of the Souvenir Building Collectors Society and this website.  

CHICAGO 2017: You can “Bank on It!”, August 25 – 27

2nd Ward Savings Bank, Chicago, IL (Rehberger)

Souvenir Building Collectors’ collections focus on souvenir or miniature buildings. However, many of these small treasures are also utilitarian – banks, bookends, tape measures, ink wells, paper weights, salt and pepper shakers – therefore the SBCSociety has a number of cross-collecting members.

On Saturday, August 26, during the 2017 SBCS Convention at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown, many different varieties of souvenir building will be up for sale through the SWAP MEET or AUCTION or RAFFLE.

These are some of the banks from the Kneisel Collection that will be available in the various venues.

SBCS Chicago 2017: Places to Go, Sights to See!

Peripatic traveller and souvenir building enthusiast, David Savanyu, reminds us that there are lots of interesting things to see and do around Chicago this August. Filling the days surrounding the SBCS Convention is easy.  Given the various Frank Lloyd Wright special exhibits (150th Birthday anniversary) around the country this year those exhibits near Chicago for this mighty midwesterner are appealing.  The SBCS Convention has a scheduled 4-hour Frank Lloyd Wright tour visiting sites in Illinois from downtown Chicago to Oak Park.  David also recommends sites in  the neighboring state of Wisconsin, all within driving distance and some with free reservations.

Johnson Wax Building and Wingspread, Racine, WI

Taliesin East, Spring Green, WI

Monona Terrace, Madison, WI

SBCS Member paying homage to Frank Lloyd Wright statue at Florida Southern College. Lakeland, FL. 2015.

David also suggests visiting Farnsworth House  (Mies van der Rohe, German/American architect), in Plano, IL

If you collect miniature buildings – not for the architects – but for what they hold or represent – here are some other sites to check out during your Chicago visit as represented by  Kneisel Collection pieces that will be available at the Convention – Shop & Swap, Raffle, or Auction.

 

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Field Museum Souvenir Building

Field Museum (marvelous ethnographic collections)

 

Museum of Science and Industry Souvenir Building

Museum of Science and Industry (Robots are in this summer)

 

Shedd Aquarium Souvenir Building

Shedd Aquarium (Jazz program or Amphibian Exhibit)

 

Adler Planetarium Souvenir Building

Adler Planetarium (the night sky over Chicago in 1913 at the historic Atwood Sphere):

 

Picasso Sculpture miniature replica

Picasso Sculpture (the no-name sculpture in big-name Daley Plaza):

SBCS 2017: August Convention in Chicago

It’s time to reserve your table space at the annual SBCS SWAP MEET (full table – $25, half table – $15). Click here to download the Registration Form.

All across the country and maybe the globe, souvenir building enthusiasts are culling their collections in anticipation of this year’s swap meet. You never know what treasure will appear in the Saturday Swap and Sale Meet.

The Souvenir Building Society will have a group of small buildings from the Bob Kneisel Collection for sale.  Here are a few pictures.