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.
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.
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.
Kneisel Bequest 2016
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.
SBCS 2017 Convention in Chicago
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.
Grouping of Stadiums
FLASH SALES! And Bob’s Better Buildings Sales
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.
If you need a pick-me-up following your Super Bowl slump, here is your chance!
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.
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.
Fitting for our Club to celebrate our Silver Anniversary with this specially commissioned piece celebrating the fundraising campaign responsible for paying for the Statue of Liberty base.
Read more in our newsletter.
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:
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.
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).
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!
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.
My name is Sarah Davies and I’m the Executive Assistant to Joseph Smith, SVP of Marketing at Dollar Bank in Pittsburgh, PA. We were rooting through some old files in our office and came across an article about the Dollar Bank coin bank replicas that were produced by both A.C. Rehlberger in Chicago and by Banthrico. According to Joe, many years ago we attempted to obtain the molds from one or both of these companies with no luck. We’d love to be able get a hold of these molds so that we can get some new ones made. As far as we know, A.C. Rehlberger is out of business and are not sure of the status of Banthrico. I may be on a wild goose chase, but does your club have any information on either of these companies or any information at all that might be helpful?
The SUMMER 2019 edition of SOUVENIR BUILDING COLLECTOR has been mailed, emailed, and is available in the Member Section of this website.
There is a glorious “Photo Essay” rendering of the SBCS / SBCCA joint 2019 Convention in Olathe, KS for your viewing.
You will want to read Howie Gelbtuch’s (with help from Anton Tremblay) take on “DOWNsizing UPgrading.”
For those of you who bask in SOLs – you know who you are – there is a tid-bit.
And …..Joe Kopitz contributed “Souvenir Buildings of Classic Sites.”
The next round of SBCS member opportunity to capture some of Bob’s Better Buildings was detailed in the newsletter. One box per member, but … If we do not get full Member response, we will open it to additional boxes after the first round. You can click here for a printable copy of the order form.The LAST DATE for participating is OCT. 19.
Coming in November will be a series of HOLIDAY FLASH SALES – Each Flash Sale will feature a single category of souvenir building collectible, the number of boxes in the offering will be limited by the number of items available in that category.
Keep these sales in mind as gift boxes to that special collector. The Flash Sale will be via email blast and a post. Be sure Joe has your email address on file.
The SBCS FaceBook community is a hive of activity and pictures.Souvenir Building collectors (SBCS members and non-members alike) have been sharing photos, tips, stories, and exchanges, sales, wants, etc.Click here to join in the fun. Be sure to answer the questions asked of all who request membership in this closed group.
SBCS WEBSITE NEEDS A WEBMASTER / EDITOR:Donna must step down.This site is a wordpress.com site.The site is registered to SBCS.