SUNDAY BUNCH ! …………Meet your fellow collectors.

 

 

It’s a Sunday Bunch! Join with fellow SBCS members on ZOOM in a virtual “MEET & GREET” at 2PM Eastern on Sunday, August 9.

Not wishing the Society’s camaraderie to languish during the 2020 Pandemic, cancellation of Convention 2020 and the long wait for Convention 2021, the Executive Team started this monthly virtual gathering. Join us for our third monthly Sunday meet and greet.

The platform is ZOOM. The moderator is Mark Fine. The length of time is 45 to 60 minutes. The loose plan for the initial meeting includes:

  1. EMAIL INVITATION: An invitation to all paid-up members will be sent via EMAIL from Joe Kopitz on Wednesday, August 5th. Members wishing to participate will need to use the ‘register in advance” link in Joe’s email to indicate their interest in attending the virtual “MEET & GREET.” This initial email will explain how to sign up for free ZOOM (if not already a user), and the steps you will need to take when you sign into the meeting.
  2. EMAIL REGISTRATION: A 2nd EMAIL, which will come from AMY MATCHEN (Account holder), is generated by ZOOM and sent to only those members who used the link within the 1st email to indicate their interest. This 2nd email will contain the LINK and PASSWORD needed to join the meeting. On the day of the meeting sign in at 2PM EDT or a few minutes earlier. Refer to the instructions in your first email.

3. This month’s Show & Tell continues the theme of a Great Story. Where you found it, how you found it, a special moment, a story about the piece itself, etc. Please do not plan to take us on a tour of your collection.

THIS “EXPERIENCE” IS LIMITED TO CURRENT MEMBERS OF the SOUVENIR BUILDING COLLECTORS SOCIETY. If you are not current with your membership or are interested in joining, click here to be taken to the Membership Application page.

THERE ARE PLANS FOR FURTHER MEETINGS. Please let us know your recommendations for themes or topics. As of now the recurring date and time is the 2nd Sunday of the Month at 2PM Eastern. Be sure to stay tuned.

 

HIT THE ROAD, BOB! Courtesy of Chris Spry

148…149…150…151…152…Done!

The last box was loaded onto the U-Haul rental.   All items fit snugly in the 10’ Box truck.   The Bob Kneisel Collection was ready to travel 2600 miles across country from Los Angeles to Oldwick, New Jersey.  The trip was planned and executed to complete the planned dispersal of the Collection four years after it was bequeathed to SBCS by Bob Kneisel.

The destination was RSL Auctioneers in Oldwick, where Leon Weiss and his Associates, Julian and Andrea will take over and prepare the items for a “cyber” auction later this year.   

The travel plan included a drive-by stop at Steven and Ethan Chevalier’s home in Ridgewood outside of Jackson MS.   There, eight of the boxes were unloaded to await the 2021 SBCS Convention in Jackson.  

The route was simple but a jumble of interstate routes.  First it was I-10 to I-20 straight into Jackson.  Then, back on I-20 to Birmingham, northeast on I-59. East on I-40, northeast again on I-81 and then due east on I-78 to New Jersey.  The road trip included several picturesque parts of the country, including the Mississippi and Alabama forests, The New Mexico and Arizona Sonoran Desert, and the Shenandoah Valley.

All this done in 5 days.  And yes, we were employing best social-distancing practices in accordance with our current National situation.

51..huff…99….huff….118…..huff…..135……hufff……144……HHUUFF….YEAH!

The STAIRS and the RSL crew plus Joe Kopitz

At the New Jersey location, Joe Kopitz met me, and we unloaded the truck along with Leon Weiss, his son Julian, and Andrea Abernethy.   But, as a surprise to Joe and me, it included unloading and moving those 144 boxes up a flight of stairs.  Yes, RSL Auctions is on the second floor of a commercial building with no elevator.   Even though fitness centers are starting to reopen nationally, no StairMasters were needed that day.  

After the delivery, Joe started his meandering way back to Brooklyn, intending to stop at several New Jersey thrift shops that he had not visited in the past.

Me?  I chose to relax until my flight from Newark to Los Angeles the next day.   Up to that point the trip was extremely satisfying.   However, commercial flying today is challenging… but that it another story.

RSL intends to issue the Kneisel Collection as an exclusive two-day cyber-sale, meaning that is will be on-line only for two days and only include items from Bob’s Collection.  Look for announcements regarding the sale on the SBCS and RSL websites and by email blasts from SBCS.  

Update from Chris Spry.  The Kneisel Collection Committee Mediator, Moderator, Maintainer of Decorum, Boxes, Documents, and Long-Haul Deliverer!  Thank you!

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CHALLENGING TIMES – Solace in Souvenir Buildings

Souvenir Building Collectors under “STAY SAFE” guidelines are finding a myriad of ways to stay busy.  Are you one of those surfing the netways to find the next acquistion?  Are you actually dusting your collection?  Or maybe you are organizing it into themes, or countries, or materials, or by size.  Some are even going to the effort of cataloging.  

The participants in the Souvenir Building Facebook Group are finding ways to share their collections with other members via various challenges: the A-B-C challenge, a castle challenge, a multiples challenge.  Come join the fun.

 

 

FLASH SALE # 6: more of BOB’S BETTER BUILDINGS!

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This slideshow consists of photos taken at Bob Kneisel’s home during the 2009 SBCS Convention in Pasadena and of photos taken in 2016 of the emptied cases.  Some of the buildings depicted could be in your FLASH SALE Box. 

If you missed out on the Bob’s Better Buildings sale last year – here is your chance to score!  And for those who did score – a second opportunity to add more wonderful buildings to your collections. 

The up-coming Kneisel Collection Flash Sale #6 is Monday, March 16th.  This Flash Sale will consist of more of Bob’s Better Buildings and be limited to 30 boxes (with an average of 4 items per box). The cost will be $60 by check or $65 by PayPal ($60 plus $5 processing fee) per box.

As a reminder, each SBCS Member in good standing (membership paid through 2020) can order only ONE box.  If you are part of a Family Membership and wish to purchase TWO boxes (one box for each Member), please include BOTH names and pay double the box price.

Keep an eye out for the official FLASH SALE Notice on March 16th and remember to follow the instructions.

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.

FLASH SALE # 4: Stadiums

If you need a pick-me-up following your Super Bowl slump, here is your chance!

Some of the Stadiums in FLASH SALE #4 of Kneisel Collection.  They are not all in the best condition.  It is box-luck/pot-luck!

The next Kneisel Collection Flash Sale is Monday, February 3rd.  This Flash Sale will consist of STADIUMS and be limited to 10 boxes.  The cost will be $25 by check or $30 by PayPal ($25 plus $5 processing fee) per box.

As a reminder, each SBCS Member in good standing (membership paid through 2020) can order only ONE box.  If you are part of a Family Membership and wish to purchase TWO boxes (one box for each Member), please include BOTH names and pay double the per box price.

Keep an eye out for the official Flash Sale Notice email on that date and remember to follow the instructions.

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This is just one of the many valuable “perks” of being a Member of the SBCS.  All proceeds go to defray the costs of this program and support the work of the SBCS.  Thank you for your membership in the SBCS.

CHECK OUT AN ARTICLE ON STADIUMS FROM THE FALL 2005 NEWSLETTER.

Titus 1

Souvenir Building Collectors Society Journal Vol. 12 No. 3 (2005)

Titus 2Titus 3

Click to access stadiums-2005.pdf

FLASH SALE # 3: Souvenir Buildings in Lucite

In 2002, the following article on “Souvenir Buildings in Lucite” by Scott Daniels was published in SOUVENIR BUILDING COLLECTOR, Volume 9, Number 1.  It is apropos for the upcoming Kneisel Collection Flash Sale 3: Lucite Embedded Buildings.

Building Blocks or Plastic Prisons?

We have seen them at yard sales and gift shops around the country: a building or monument trapped in a Lucite cube, rectangle, hexagon or pyramid.  Buildings in Lucite are a recent addition to the history of souvenir buildings.

The manufacturing of Lucite embedments (which is what buildings in Lucite are considered) began shortly after World War II.  It has remained on the best-kept manufacturing secrets, passed down to trusted associates.  Because of the highly technical knowledge required, and the amount of discarded material, the total number of manufacturers is very small.

 Lucite is a high quality form of acrylic that is a mixture of acrylic resin powder and monomer, a crystal clear liquid.  The versatility of Lucite allows it to be custom designed into a variety of shapes and sizes, incorporating many different types of embedded elements.  However, due to the chemical reactions during the process, not everything can be embedded.  All pieces are hand-made and involve a long tedious productiion process involving:

PRINTING, CASTING, CURING, SANDING, BUFFING, INSPECTION

The first step – if necessary – is to print the building name and/or the event on the base.

The next step is to mix the resin powder and monomer in specific proportions.  The result is a thick opaque liquid.  The mixture is hand poured into molds and allowed to partially harden.  At this point the building is hand placed into the Lucite layer. 

Most embedments are either plastic or metal.  Other collectors have told me that you can tell whether a piece is plastic or metal by the way the light reflects from it. If it appears dull it is most likely metal.  If it gives a bright reflection, it tends to be plastic. 

Another layer is poured over the embedded object and the Lucite is again allowed to harden.  During this stage of production the liquid Lucite is an opaque, milky white.  It is very difficult to center objects on multiple levels because you cannot see the objects below clearly.  Because the buildings are placed in the moulds by hand, no two Lucite pieces are ever 100% alike.

At this point the molds are cured.  The hardening Lucite molds are placed into an oven.  There, heat cures and pressure squeezes out the air bubbles, to completely harden the embedment. The curing process takes up to seven hours. 

After cooling, the Lucite embedments are removed from the molds, and the sizing process begins.  All Lucite parts are cast oversized to allow for shrinkage.  There are three steps taken to size the embedments.  The objects are ground down to size by hand on large industrial sanders.  A coarse grit-sanding belt is used first, followed by a medium grit belt and a final sanding with fine grit belt.  This makes it easier to polish, which is the next step.

Polishing, just as sizing, is all done by hand.  Polishing brings out the luster and high gloss of the Lucite not seen during the entire production process and also gets rid of the sanding lines.  Once there is a bright crystal-like finish the production of the Lucite embedments is complete. 

The final phase of the Lucite process is the inspection.  Each piece is hand wiped and visually inspected.  If there are flaws the part is returned for additional finishing or rejected outright and recycled.  Once the piece passes, it is boxed and shipped out. 

Some of the first buildings in Lucite date from the 1950’s.  The miniature of the Seagram’s building in New York City encased in Lucite was made around 1957 as a Lucite display lighter.  I guess there is no better way to showcase a modern building than to use a modern form of displaying the miniature version and making it useful at the same time. 

During the 1960’s many more buildings, including the The Metropolitan Life building in New York City, were produced. 

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One known to many collectors is the Travelers Insurance Building in Hartford, CT.  About 1000 pieces were made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company (1864-1964).  They were given away to Travelers employees and representatives over the U.S.  It is a very impressive piece, with all the Travelers buildings that occupy a full block in the city. (This is an update to the bronze inkwell given out in the 1930’s).

Recent photo of the 100th Anniversary Travelers Insurance Lucite Commemorative (not in original publication)

Another group of buildings embedded in Lucite are the Knights of Columbus convention pieces.  They consist of Saint Joseph’s Oratory (Montreal, Canada), St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York City), and the Immaculate Conception (Washington, DC).  The Saint Joseph’s Oratory was given out at the 1967 85th Supreme Council convention.  St. Patrick’s Cathedral piece was given out at the 1979 Supreme Council convention, and the Immaculate Conception was given away at the Supreme Council meeting in 1989.  I’ve noticed that all the buildings encased are made of pewter with fine attention to details.  They are well worth having in your collection. 

In the 1970’s Lucite had reached its zenith with buildings of tourist sites being embedded in Lucite.  Sites such as Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, TN; Seattle’s Space Needle (in various sizes); buildings in Washington, DC and across the nation were very popular at tourist shops.

Just as the production of souvenir buildings declined in the late 70’s and early 80’s, when they were replaced by T-shirts and coffee mugs, so did their Lucite counterparts.  It just wasn’t cool to bring home a cube.

Most of the current Lucite buildings that you can buy at gift shops are from this time period.  They were just never big sellers in shops.  Some exceptions to this are the current John Hancock Tower in Chicago and Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Many Lucite buildings can still be found everywhere and in every size.  So the next time you come across a few have fun with them.  Build a building block building with buildings inside!

KNEISEL COMMENTARY on CHARMS as Souvenir Buildings in 2003

I had a hard time getting these images up and readable.  Please click on the second and third photos to see their full image.  Here is a link to a pdf of the material.

 

KNEISEL COLLECTION: Flash Sales Starting Soon. Keep a close eye on your emails!

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There will be 3 FLASH SALES, between now and mid-December, of unique categories of items collected by Bob Kneisel.  Directions for participation  in the sales will be sent directly to the email inboxes of paid-up members of the Souvenir Building Collectors Society.  On the day of the FLASH SALE, members will be notified by email and will need to respond as directed.  The sale categories are SNO-GLOBES, CHARMS, and LUCITE.

Keep an eye on your inbox.