Forty-two years of Souvenirs, Gifts and Novelties

A fond look back: forty-two years of Souvenirs, Gifts and Novelties

Souvenirs, Gifts & Novelties is in its 42nd year. We have been the voice of the souvenir and resort gift industry through nine United States presidential administrations and many social and political changes. The magazine has grown and changed over the years, most dramatically and recently in January of 2003, when we changed our format and became a full-sized magazine to better serve you. The response to our new look has been overwhelmingly positive and we hope you are enjoying the improvement.

In this special section we look at the Souvenirs, Gifts & Novelties of the 1960s and the early 1970s. In addition to articles, many of which are still relevant and others that show how times have changed, the section also includes photos from the shows of that period. Our magazine still regularly publishes show photos, connecting our readers with the people who are conducting business today in our industry. And many of the trends from those early days have come full circle in the 2000s, such as puka shell jewelry and T-shirts as souvenirs. Charm bracelets are also big again, although today we see a new breed that feature links as opposed to the hanging charms that were popular in the 1970s.

We hope you enjoy the section. Please e-mail us with your memories and comments at

Letters To The Editor 1963

Dear Sirs:

Have reviewed your publication and very pleased with it. Please enter my subscription.

We are concessionaires and also jobbers. Best wishes to a nice magazine for this field.

R. B. Packard

Lake States Sales Co.

Defiance, Ohio

Dear Sirs:

I enjoy this little magazine very much. Anybody interested in the souvenir business should have it.

Guy Lockard

Horseshoe Curve

Altoona, Pa.

Dear Sirs:

I have recently received my copy of the souvenir Bulletin supplementary to the regular issues of your new magazine.

I certainly look forward to receiving this publication which is the first real opportunity for exposure and publicity of the souvenir field.

Your magazine should have a real future in this field and I would hope that you may achieve a degree of success that would make the monthly publication possible.

Cal H. Dornbusch,

Bloom Brothers

Minneapolis, Minn.

Dear Sirs:

After a busy season I finally got around to reading your publication. I think it is just what the trade needs. Kindly accept my check for a three year subscription.

William F. Green

Thunderbird Gift Shop

Estes Park, Colo.

Dear Sirs:

I have received your magazine for the past year and have received a lot of good information out of it.

H. L. Dunlap, Jr.

Garden City, Kansas

Dear Sirs:

Your magazine was spotted by one of our men in the office of a supplier of ours. After a quick glance, we wasted no time in sending our subscription. Your magazine appears to be the answer to the question asked by many distributors, “I’ve seen an item that I’d like to handle but I don’t know who makes it.”

Leon Kowal

LK Color Productions

Providence, R. I.

Dear Sirs:

Please accept our sincere thanks for the story and illustrations carried in the fall issue of SOUVENIRS AND NOVELTIES featuring our new gift shop at Luray Caverns. We hope that the article will be of assistance and interest to your many readers.

We are sure that it will be of interest to you to know that our sales have materially increased since remodeling our shop. This is our 85th year and by far the best.

Robert C. Harnsberger

Caverns of Luray

Luray, Va.

Dear Sirs:

My compliments for initiating a publication to serve our particular industry which has heretofore been totally lacking. My compliments too on your general articles such as “Caverns of Luray” and “Crystal Cave” which give all of us an idea of what fellow operators are doing.

Worthwhile comment must also include criticism. Your recent trade show calendar includes none of the West Coast Shows: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, why?

Again, my best wishes for success and growth in furnishing a long overdue service to our trade.

Charles A. Thielen


Crescent City, Calif.

Dear Sirs:

We are very glad to see a publication of this type devoted primarily to the trade in which we are vitally interested.

We might point out that in addition to our pizza business, we operate a number of novelty stands at local amusement parks and merchandise these items at fairs and carnivals in our immediate locality.

H. A. Bowers

Don’s Pizza Specialty Co.

Camp Hill, Pa.


Variety Merchandise Fair Photos Spring 1963

This show, at the New York Trade Show Building, March 10-14, was very well-run and had excellent attendance. Business was good. Something unusual in show history–exhibitors were busy writing up orders right up to the break-up time.

Harold Lee and Jerry Tobin show the imprinted shopping bags put out by Triangle Bag Co., a division of Georgia Pacific, 1201 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky.


John Goodman exhibited an attractive line of glass novelties manufactured by the Glass Craft division of Houze Glass Corp., Pt. Marion, Pa.


Jerry Breen and Greg Slack, partners in Glens Falls Toy Co., Glens Falls, N.Y., pause while looking over merchandise at the show.


A new item, Show-Offs, manufactured by the Associated Match Co. (400 Madison Ave., New York City) are shown to Harry Fein of Charmcraft Greeting Cards by Floraine Cohen and Bruce Mortimer.


Dick Hancock, western rep, and Al M. Goldberg, president of Meier and Frank Merchandise Co. (Denver, Colo.) had a very attractive exhibit of gemstones, spoons, souvenirs and novelties.


It is quite evident I was enjoying myself at the Variety Merchandise Fair. This is your editor of Souvenirs & Novelties magazine, Janet Schumer.


Alex Fish stands before an interesting display of imported items at the exhibit of Viking Importrade Co. of Moonachie, New Jersey.


Snapped at the Zippy Novelty Co. booth (Merion Sta., Pa.) are Larry Goldberg and Dick Eisman. This company had an attractive display of tricks, jokes, and various rack displays.


Stanley Horovitz and Arthur Ash, representing Superb Case division of Harwood Mfg. Co. (93 Hartford Ave., Providence, R. I.) displayed metal gift and novelty items, souvenirs and boutiques.


Mrs. Caroline Goldstein of Candyland Novelty Co. (1741 Sheepshead Bay Rd., Brooklyn, N. Y.) had an interesting display of individually-wrapped candy with special imprints on the wrapper.


At the Pritt Novelty booth (22 W. 21 St., New York City), Mr. and Mrs. E. Goldman of Old Orchard Beach, Maine (seated) look at the line with Sol Pritt. This company manufactures the famous gagmaster products.


April/May 1964


CALIFORNIA — Karol Western Corp. of Los Angeles, announced the appointment of Jim Richardson who will be covering Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Mr. Richardson is well known in the souvenir and novelty field.

OHIO — Nelson Jones, Publishers, has been appointed by the Dexter Press of Nyack, N. Y., as distributor for World’s Fair post cards for Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio, and for most of the toll road areas across the nation. Nelson Jones has also been awarded a similar exclusive agreement covering bumper strips and decals for the Allen Hollander Corp.

ALABAMA — Scenic South Card Co., of Bessemer, has just produced a new line of scenic cards for Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. John Hand, Jim Leonard, Richard Douglas, Hub Gardner and Clark Weaver will be showing the line. This firm has a large variety of natural color cards for the South and specializes in custom-made cards for shops and tourist attractions.

NEW JERSEY — RMS Sales Corp. of East Orange, the official licensee of the New York World’s Fair for the manufacture of Unisphere coin savings banks, has also been licensed to manufacture a large plastic replica of the Unisphere for use as a display item.

NEW YORK — Magic Novelty moved during February to 95 Morton St., New York City.

MASSACHUSETTS — Holden’s Magic Studio, Inc., one of the world’s largest and oldest magic shops, moved during the month of February to 59 Temple Place, Boston. Many show business personalities attended the grand opening.

This new location gives Holden’s over 800 sq. ft. of showroom and stage area and 300 sq. ft. for “backroom” use.

ILLINOIS — Sol Pritt has been appointed general manager of Fun, Inc., The Jo King Company and The Gagmasters, of Chicago.

A SOUVENIRS & NOVELTIES survey of how the Tourist Trade winds are blowing.

Short news items on people–places–events.

Ronnie Gann, above, proprietor and president of the corporation, is a professional magician. Before buying Holden’s in 1963, he gave performances throughout the country and appeared on many television shows.


TENNESSEE — Albert J. Steiner, president of Southern Souvenirs, Inc., of Memphis, announced the appointment of Glenn S. Calvert to represent the company in the tri-state area.

CANADA — Thomas Wardle, owner and founder of T. A. Wardle & Co., 1881 Queen St., East, Toronto, Ontario, is celebrating his 25th year in business. His firm covers Canada with a complete line of souvenirs for the retail trade. In addition, Mr. Wardle is also an elected Alderman of the City of Toronto and member of the Metropolitan Toronto Council.


VERMONT — The Preston Company of Burlington, announced that it is now the exclusive distributor for the “Yankee Potter” pictures and the “Vermont Maple Recipe” book. This firm has just remodeled its showroom, with emphasis on the souvenir and summer gift lines, and open house at 208 Flynn Avenue will be held during April.

CALIFORNIA — Rick Ellis was appointed Sales Manager of Mike Roberts Color Productions, Berkeley, effective March 1st. He has been assistant Sales Manager for the past 3 1/2 years. Rick will take charge of the operation which encompasses the world-wide distribution of Mike Roberts post cards, travel folders, books, slides, etc. This company does business through the U. S., South Pacific, Europe, South America, and Asia.


CALIFORNIA — Mike Roberts Color Productions of Berkeley, announced the appointment of William Cooper as Southeastern factory representative. Mr. Cooper has been in the post card field for over 10 years and will cover the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and part of Virginia.

ENGLAND — Matchmakers, Ltd., 25 Cockspur St., Trafalgar Square, S. W. 1, London, is interested in hearing from manufacturers of novelty products for retail and advertising use, that can be exported or licensed in England.

MINNESOTA — Congratulations to LeRoy Shane Co. of Rochester, celebrating its 20th anniversary in the souvenir business.

WYOMING — Another clever slogan used by Modernage Shop of Cheyenne: “Where it’s Usual to Find the Unusual.”

VIRGINIA — Luray Caverns of Luray is now manufacturing and distributing a line of gem stone jewelry, using local stones. They report that winning the second prize in the Souvenirs & Novelties Best Regional Souvenir of the Year contest, encouraged them to show their cave onyx jewelry to the trade. This item made its first appearance at the Atlanta Gift Show and created much interest.

Snapped at the INTERNATIONAL TOY & TRADE FAIR Hotel New York Hilton — March 8-13

Robert Hedaya at the Holiday Fair exhibit (39 W. 37 St., New York, N.Y.) showed the rat fink and other novelties.


S. Stern and Dan Ranzman at the Dan Dee Imports booth (1160 Broadway, New York, N.Y.) exhibited wooden desk accessories and other novelty items.


Mrs. A. Shackman (B. Shackman & Co., 2 W. 35 St., New York, N.Y.) holds the algi cactus growing plant which grows feathery spines.


Bonnie Karp was snapped at the National Importers and Novelty Manufacturers Show in July at Chicago. Exhibiting at Ed Karp’s booth (9009 Kedvale, Skokie, Ill.), she is holding a pair of western booties, Jason Shoe Manufacturing Co.’s entry into the souvenir field.


Art Baker at the Franco-American Novelty Co. exhibit (1209 Broadway, New York, N.Y.) explains the novelty dog to W. O. Lepper of Johnson’s Book Store, Springfield, Mass.


Mrs. Ruth Hixon Baker of Signal Mountain, Tenn., southern rep for Scandia House Enterprises, shows the Good Luck Troll.


At the R. Dakin & Co. booth (121 Second St., San Francisco, Calif.) Norman P. Canright and Richard Wolf had an interesting exhibit of Dream Pets and Dream Dolls.


Kay Burgess, who operates the national park concession at Mt. Rushmore, S.D., was snapped during a visit to New York this past spring. She feels the souvenir business is a Retail-Service business with a great future.


February/March 1965


The latest news on manufactured items, selling materials, displays, and packaging ideas.

Indian doll best seller

An authentic Indian doll is the most popular of the Carlson Manufacturing Co., Maple Lake, Minn. The miniature bow and arrow, leather clothes, feathers and colored beads contribute to the authenticity of this doll. Ray Carlson reports the doll is sold all over the world.


Popeye hat

A Popeye Captain’s Cap is offered by Weisman Novelty Co., 250 W. Cambria St., Philadelphia 33, Pa. It is expected to be a very popular item based on orders coming in. The firm has signed with King Features as a licensee for the manufacture of the cap.


Old-Fashioned stick candy

Sampling sweet old-fashioned stick candy at the Yorkcraft, Inc. booth at the Atlantic City China & Glass Show. Unusual flavors are back too-blueberry, blackberry, sassafras, many more. Displayed in a sturdy wood rack and old-fashioned candy jars.


Hunny Bunny rabbit pelts

A wide line of Hunny Bunny rabbit pelts–offered by Wellworth Specialties, Inc., 1440 Broadway, New York, N. Y. 10018. They are available in the rabbit’s natural pelt, as well as in solid colors, orange, blue, pink, green, gold and red. Leopard and tiger skin are also offered as well as fox tails and raccoon tails. A new catalog with a sample of the fur is free, and it includes a price list for from one doz. up. Imprints are offered.


Indian tom tom

Something new in Indian Tom Toms–LeRoy Shane Co. of Rochester, Minn. has a “new look” in a tom tom 7 1/2″ in diameter, 5″ high.


It is made from a heavy fiber cylinder with pure rubber heads for deep tone. It features a bright 4 color Indianhead design and is hand laced with pyro-cord. An attractive Indian Symbol tag enhances each tom tom.

Phil Sternberg of LeRoy Shane Co. says 1964 was the biggest year in their history–and from advance bookings, 1965 will be even bigger. Their recent affiliation with Fairway Mfg. Co., St. Louis, Mo. projects them into the heart of the direct import souvenirs.

Sunbathing bikini kit

An unusual sunbathing kit is offered which includes a genuine bikini two-piece sun suit, and Continental-style sun glasses, all packed in an unusual little beach bag designed to match the bikini.

Airline Textile Mfg. Co., 214 S.W. Jackson St., Des Moines, Iowa, is offering it at a suggested retail of $4.95. Discounts are available to jobbers and to dealers. Airline will post-pay samples at the $4.95 price.


The bikini is made from wash ‘n wear broadcloth in black and white stripe, or red bandana print. The bag is of nylon-finish vinyl. (Little girls’ models now available.)


Do-it-yourself painting

Souvenir frames can make do-it-yourself abstract painting a local imprint item for souvenir retailers. Frames and color swirling units are offered for a complete attraction, as well as toy color swirling units.

Here’s how it works. There are five colors, red, blue, yellow, black and white. Squeeze them into a mess on a white poster board which is on a turntable–give the turntable a spin. Presto, a Picasso to be framed. Cost of frame and paint–.06c. Retail price .50c Also $1 items.

For information, prices, Electro-Swirl-Art, 4348 Olive st., St. Louis 8, Mo.

Variety Merchandise breaks records

A record 12,242 buyers visited the 27th Variety Merchandise Fair on March 7-11, according to Jay Thalheim, president, of Arthur Tarshis Associates, Inc., show management.




The attendance increased 8% over the 11,383 of 1964. An estimated $5 million of business was placed by buyers during the show, with much more to be placed after it.

Increased attendance and buying were attributed to growth of carded and pre-packaged merchandise for quick sales at full markups; this type merchandise predominated at the show.

The freer buying atmosphere is due to improved retail business which lowered inventories, Mr. Thalheim added.




Buyers showed interest in higher quality products–even quality items in low-end areas.

The 28th Variety Merchandise Fair will be Sept. 19-22, 1965, and the next spring show will be March 6-10, 1966. Both will also be held at the New York Trade Show Building. Arthur Tarshis Associates, Inc. is at 161 Great Neck Rd., Great Neck, N.Y.




How to Make a Souvenir Shop Sell 12 Months A Year

Texas shop sells shells, souvenirs in season, then sells hobby supplies during the off season.

“Our souvenir shop is able to operate in the wintertime, thanks to the demand of visitors for shells, for hobbies, and for hobby supplies,” reports Miss Ruth Gwynn, owner of the Shell Shoppe in Rockport, Texas. Winter tourists to Rockport, most of them retired people from the Midwest, do a lot of hobby work because they have the time. Miss Gwynn and her shop people used to spend winter making shell items to sell in the summer, but now business is good during the winter in the hobby line.

Of the summer vacationers, people come from Dallas, San Antonio and Houston to buy hobby articles such as shells and supplies to make shell roses, items they can’t find at home.

Miss Gwynn says she has an advantage being located in a tourist town because the change of people at different seasons keeps a particular hobby in style. If this weren’t true, much of the merchandise could not be sold.

In the hobby line, Miss Gwynn sells beads, shells, macrame materials, paint, crochet thread and Swiss straw for making pictures, purses and shoes. Other hobby supplies that also sell well are pipecleaners, feathers, metallic wire, glitter and styrofoam balls. Supplies for making shell roses include artificial leaves, 50cents and 75cents a bundle, and florist wire, 25cents a bundle. Her hobby customers are mostly women, but some men like hobby crafts.

Her main summer business is selling souvenirs; mostly shells. Being right by the Rockport harbor, it is not surprising that the Shell Shoppe specializes in things from the sea. Shells range in price from 1cents to several dollars. Other shell items for sale are shell whistles, 49cents; shell necklaces, $1.50.

Other sea items that are carried are glass seahorse wall placques, 75cents to $3.25, and fish shaped combs, 35cents.

Miss Gwynn sells a lot of t-shirts, some with “Rockport, Texas,” on the front; others are decorated with flowers. The shirts range in price from $1.35 to $2.75.


Other items for sale are painted china plates, $1.00 to $2.00; carved cocoanut shell masks, $2.50. Wind chimes sell well at $1.25, $3.50, and $10.00, and a complete selection of matchbox cars at 79cents each attracts the little boys.

The Shell Shoppe has also added a line of birthday, novelty, and friendship cards, which sell for 35cents, 50cents, 60cents, and $1.00. The price of the item that sells best used to be less than $1.00, but now an item priced at $1.25 is the average purchase.

Miss Gwynn does not import merchandise herself, although many of the items she sells are imported. She orders from wholesalers in Florida, New York, and California.

She says “It takes a while to get established in the souvenir business. It would be hard to start a new business without a good location or money to tide you over.”

“It’s an interesting business,” she continues. The Shell Shoppe has been in Rockport for 20 years, at its present location and next door to the present location. Miss Gywnn sees a good future in the souvenirs and novelties business, and believes, “It is a good business in a town like Rockport, where there are tourists.”

Smoky Mountain Gift Show Gatlinburg – February 1973

Candlesticks and jewelry from Bell Trading Post. div. of Sunbell Corp., Albuquerque, N.M. is shown by Ed Plis to Robert and Edith Noneman, All Seasons Gift Shop.


A display of Indian crafts from the Cherokees, Qualla Reservation, box 308, Cherokee, N.C. is given by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Holt, Jr. and Paul Brown.


Mel Kenwood, sales mgr. for Arlington Hat Co., Inc., 900 B’way, N.Y.C., with one of the company’s designs at the Gatlinburg Show.


An assortment of chinaware is offered by Jan and Greer Ledford of Americana Art China Co., Sebring, Ohio, to Mrs. Stetson.


Vernon E. Marshall, Jr. with exhibit of gifts, novelties and hats from George J. Marshall & Sons, Inc., Baltimore, at the Gatlinburg show.


A display of leather purses, manicure sets, and other items from Arrow Novelty Co., Inc., Jersey City, N.J., is offered by Roger and Audrey Anderson and Stanley Klein.


Moppet sweat shirt from Velva-Sheen Mfg., Cincinnati, is shown by Jim Rissing, sales rep., and Greer Ledford at the Gatlinburg show.


Stan Harris, Director of Marketing for Imprint Art Products, 14-01 Maple Ave., Fair Lawn, N.J., and a display of the company’s pennants, decals, and bumperettes.


J. Larry Castleberry, pres., and Bill Law before display of prints by Mallard Frame, Inc., Lumpkin, Ga.


Andy Lennox shows a variety of merchandise to Genella Clinton and Sam Stacup at the Gatlinburg show.


Moccasin is shown by Harry Dietch of Minnetonka Moccasin, 1113 E. Hennepin, Minneapolis at the Gatlinburg Show.


Leona Whiting of B. Shackman & Co., 85 5th ave., NYC, with Marie Hopper and Johanne White and display of the company’s products.


Line of headwear is shown by David Dickstein and Phil Graft of Jacobson Hat Co., Inc., and Doris Lowman of Skyline Caverns, Front Royal, Va.


Dan Gunn of Calmex Industries, Inc., 753 8th ave., San Diego, and an offering of the company’s handmade plastic pottery.


Centennial Novelty Co., 2684 Lacy st., L.A., has products shown by David Knight and Claude Love.


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