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I debated whether or not to start this topic in General Discussion to attract more attention, but Memorabilia should work just fine.

I've collected automobile watch fobs for a along time, and I know several others who frequent the forums who also collect them.  It sure would be nice to share interesting items and learn more about them. 

 

For some fobs, like Reo, there are seemingly endless varieties.  There are a lot of different companies who produced fobs over the years, and some are even being reproduced today.  There are a few companies who "reissued" them using old dies, and there are plenty of outright fakes and fantasy items available.  I often see ebay sellers listing fakes as "genuine" or "original" or even worse, is one particular seller who sells nothing but "rare" items, even though most of his stuff was made yesterday.  I have learned that some fobs were produced by multiple companies.  It was possible for an automobile manufacturer to supply fobs for distribution at auto shows and by dealers.  Some were even custom produced with dealer names on the backside.  and some were produced by dealers themselves by obscure firms local to them. 

 

So, hopefully we can get some discussion going about automobile advertising watch fobs.  Questions, answers, pictures,  and whatever you know or think you understand about them.  Perhaps we can put together a list of the companies known to have produced them?   Tips on how to tell originals from fakes or repros (I always look for the manufacturers name on the back).  Here are some from my collection:

Terry

 

Fob grouping.jpg

Fob 1.jpg

Spark Plug Fob.jpg

Fobs tray 2.jpg

Fobs tray 1.jpg

Edited by Terry Bond (see edit history)
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There are numerous Pierce Arrow fobs out there, most of them fake.

 

As you mention, there should be a nice maker's mark on the back, or the name of the dealership that gave them away....

 

Plain backed, or very faint makers mark,  Pierce fobs are fake ones, made by the hundreds in the 1960's and 1970's. The far left in pictures below is the fake.  The others are real....

fob 1.jpg

fob 2.jpg

fob 3.jpg

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Great! Mine is marked L.E. Grammes, Allentown PA.  They were a very prolific maker of all kinds of buttons, pins, and fobs.  They did beautiful work. The fob you have marked Foss Hughes is a really neat one - believe that was one of the first Pierce agencies.

Terry

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4 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

Great! Mine is marked L.E. Grammes, Allentown PA.  They were a very prolific maker of all kinds of buttons, pins, and fobs.  They did beautiful work. The fob you have marked Foss Hughes is a really neat one - believe that was one of the first Pierce agencies.

Terry

Yes, a good mark of Grammes is authentic.  Foss Hughes had a relationship with Pierce that was lucrative early on...lots of early tie-ins....

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Thanks for posting pics.  Anything on the backs that might help determine who made them?  Of course we have MGs so use one of the MG fobs regularly.  I've seen the others turn up fairly often. Haynes and Tourist sure look like they were made by the same company -similar shape. A Stanley fob like this is still being made and sold by Vintage Steam Products. They are very well done and were supposedly made from an original discovered years ago at the Hershey swap meet. 

https://vintagesteamproducts.com/products/watch-or-key-fob .

Terry

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11 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

Thanks for posting pics.  Anything on the backs that might help determine who made them?  Of course we have MGs so use one of the MG fobs regularly.  I've seen the others turn up fairly often. Haynes and Tourist sure look like they were made by the same company -similar shape. A Stanley fob like this is still being made and sold by Vintage Steam Products. They are very well done and were supposedly made from an original discovered years ago at the Hershey swap meet. 

https://vintagesteamproducts.com/products/watch-or-key-fob .

Terry

No marks on any backs except the MG item.

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Appreciate the chance to share some from my collection.  There are also a lot of fobs around that are not specific automobile brand advertising items.  One of my favorites is this neat Firestone tire advertising fob.  There are also some great oil and gasoline fobs.  The very first fob I ever acquired though is still one of the best in my entire collection - this Bowser gas pump fob.  It came from a small country antique shop in an old home east of Richmond Va.  My wife had made a purchase and as we were standing there at the cash register I glanced down at a small bowl full of trinkets, coins, etc. The fob was in there and everything was a dollar!  Great way to start a collection.  I've never seen another one.  I'm looking for an advertising fob for the French oil company.  Anybody got one?  It's like Bowser but has a celluloid insert.  There are two different types I've seen, one shows a race car driver and the other shows a race car.

Terry

Firestone tire Fob.jpg

Champlain Oils.jpg

Bowser pump fob.jpg

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Good stuff Terry! You have a much better collection than you let on...

 

Although I’m getting slow in responding, here’s my collection of them. All except the thin shell stamped inexpensive ones are well marked by solid maker’s of advertising novelties from the period. 

453B031B-604F-4B6A-B2A1-4F99AC7529E2.jpeg

30EB0BD1-CBE4-4989-AFF2-58925DF8507F.jpeg

C51455FC-6FDC-44EF-9547-BED5F344C952.jpeg

15D5E468-B196-4CBA-8B6A-DF12A6EDE10B.jpeg

7F23CDB5-6BF0-4E51-8C91-352D840C28E6.jpeg

AB865402-23FA-484B-9764-C210F91614B6.jpeg

0EE7D4F0-7254-4683-90AB-23C1B720FFDF.jpeg

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Wow, there are some great ones in those pics. Every time I see somebody else's collection there are a bunch I don't have - Premier, Rickenbacker, Abbott Detroit, Lozier, etc.etc. 

 

There was a book (actually two volumes) published in the early 1980s by a fob collector named Allan Hoover.  I have both books, but they are very basic and not specific to just autos.  Although the list of nearly 300 automobile fobs seems extensive, most of the content in the book is devoted to tractor, heavy equipment and machinery.   There is some good basic info for collectors with some detail on reproduction items,  but no comprehensive list of fob manufacturers, and the pictures of the fobs are more like tiny photocopies made on an old copy machine with no detail on the backs, or info on who made them. 

 

There was another reference book published in 1973 that contains essentially similar information but does include a short but incomplete list of fob manufacturers.  There are very few automobile fobs listed in that book however.

 

anyone aware of another reference?   No-I'm not going to take on the job!

Terry

 

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Maybe you will get the chance to see them once all the virus issues are over! Currently I am in the virus protection program, aka solitary confinement...

 

At one time I had the automotive section of the guide you mentioned photocopied from a friend but it was somewhat lackluster in regards to makers. I only trust known markings and (other than the Lozier fob) most of my collection was gathered piecemeal and by chance. I have only sought out two or three pieces I truly appreciated.

 

Here’s the original thread on this discussion, you can see several upgrades in the display.

 

 

Since that time there was a period photo found of an American Austin with the odd hood ornament on it. I have a copy somewhere but can’t find it!

 

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Good luck on that virus stuff - will try and get a copy of the reference material I have for you, but agree, the photos and lack of info is really disappointing.  I've saved images (front and back) of many that I've seen going through auctions, ebay sales, and some in other collections.  For my own use, it's a pretty good reference, but new stuff shows up all the time.   Although I'm pretty fussy about what's on the backside, every so often one pops up in an auction that leaves me wondering whether it might indeed be an old original.  That's especially true for a car brand that's pretty obscure.  I'm learning there were some fobs that local dealers produced on their own using local companies.  Some of those were marked with obscure makers names, and some had only dealership info on the backside, no other markings to indicate what company produced them.  It's an interesting thing to collect but I wish there was more solid info available.

Can't post something without a photo - here is one of the prettiest fobs I've got - Peerless.  It's produced by Grammes, Allentown PA..

Terry 

Peerless fob.jpg

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So much of the stuff is fake today it’s ruining the market. There are poor fakes, and very good reproductions. I’m convinced that better than 90 percent of all the stuff out there isn’t right.........especially when you get to the big name stuff.........Pierce, Stutz, Packard,ect. Clubs often gave repops out in the early days, often made by the same manufacturer back in the day. Very often I am asked to give opinion on fobs and watches. I can tell you this, in thr more than two hundred Pierce pocket watches I have seen, two were real, the rest were all fake. 

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You're right - take a look at evil-bay any day of the week and if there are a hundred fobs on there, there are 90 or more fakes/repros.  So many of the sellers are absolutely convinced the are real.  I run across the fakes all the time at Hershey too.  Last year I came across a vendor who had one of the Stanley Steam car fobs for sale - $300!  It was one of the reproductions you can still buy from Vintage Steam Products for $22.  It's certainly buyer-beware in today's market. 

Terry

 

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Here is a pretty good example of original vs repop.  The Haynes fob is one that's often reproduced. There are several versions of Haynes but this one often fools the unsuspecting buyer.  I even know a couple of evil-bay sellers who search out goodies for resale there and have been burned on these.  Unfortunately some of those sellers just try to pass off their mistakes.  The first fob is an original from my collection along with a photo showing the makers name clearly marked on the reverse. The lettering is crisp and well defined.  A photo of the repro shows a fob with much lower quality in production.  Note the lack of definition and clarity in the stamping.  Another give away is the plating - it's chrome.  The vast majority of genuine old fobs will have nickel, silver, or even gold plating on them. To me, it's a red flag when I see a chrome plated advertising piece for a car that was not produced after chrome was introduced on automobiles in the late 20s.   Note also the back-side of the reproduction fob-another big red flag.

 

Haynes original.jpg

Haynes original fob reverse side.jpg

Haynes reproduction fob.jpg

Haynes reproduction fob reverse side.jpg

Edited by Terry Bond (see edit history)
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Yes-saw those and agree.  The blue coloring on the Oakland fob is off as well-much to light compared to originals. The chrome plating on the one listed is also a red flag for me.  Here are a photos of mine showing a darker blue enamel, nickel plating and the reverse.  Mine was made by Cady and Knapp in Detroit. Cady and Knapp was a well known advertising agency there with an interesting history.  They did a lot of advertising material (including fobs) for Ford.  They were out of business by 1922. 

 

I've seen others produced by the S. D. Childs company, a well known maker of tokens and coins,  also L.F. Grammes in Allentown, PA 

 

I have two other similar Oakland fobs with the wreath surround the oval Oakland logo.  One is nickel plated and other similar fob is in brass finish.  Both are marked as being produced by Robbins in Attleboro, Mass. That company exists today as a part of a larger organization known as "The Metal Arts Group" a producer of jewelry. They were well known as a maker of school class rings and fraternal jewelry.

 

I've been digging into the histories of the known makers of fobs like these and have uncovered some interesting stuff. 

Terry

 

 

Oakland, blue and white background Oval $45 Childs auction 2020.jpg

Oakland oval white strip reverse Cady and Staff Detroit.jpg

Oakland style 2.jpg

Oakland style 2 back.jpg

Oakland style 3.jpg

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Thanks for posting - gives you an idea of how many have been reproduced over the years.  The late Bill Williams (Pulfer and Williams) was a good friend and I'm thankful for the time spent visiting with him.  They also reproduced lapel pins and of course their well known radiator emblems.  The Pulfer fob reproductions were nicely done however none were marked on the back so are pretty easy to spot.  It amazes me that so many continue to show up and are advertised as "original."  I guess people feel they can get away by substituting the term "vintage." 

Terry

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Nice collection! Single marque items represent an interesting area of collecting.  I know there are a lot of great pins out there recognizing sales, service, manufacturing, etc.etc. It makes the possibilities for collecting items from one particular make of car really about endless.  Curious - what's the stickpin with the white wings at the top left?  Looks like a Hispano Suiza emblem - can you post a close-up?

Terry

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It’s a LaSalle stick pin from 1928. Dealer items from the late 20’s And early 30’s are almost non existent. Much of the great stuff I have was pre internet. Actually going to cities where the factories were building cars and hunting through antique shops. Now the shops are all gone, and it’s eBay weather you like it or not.

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9 hours ago, edinmass said:

Actually going to cities where the factories were building cars and hunting through antique shops.

 

Yes indeed-there are pockets of these items remaining in areas where auto manufacturing was prevalent.  I've always liked the antique shops, malls and flea markets in Michigan and have never come away empty handed.  There are still some good ones there and I hope they survive this most recent virus stuff.  I now I can't wait to get back on the road again soon to see what's out there. 

 

I've never seen much LaSalle stuff though and my collection of stickpins and dealer lapel pins does not yet include anything related.

Terry

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I would bring this one back to life, so here’s one which I think Ed would appreciate looking at his Cad-LaS items.


This was an employee award for 5 years service and is Sterling Silver as can be read on the back. I have also seen a solid gold one that I think was for 10 years service, and for the longer years of service I believe semi-precious gemstones were used in the fob. 
 

This is not a particularly rare fob,  but carries history which I find very interesting.

181C1C79-C4FF-4D8E-B262-9B59E43B5015.jpeg

B0718B6B-E5E4-4F84-866B-C0B86CC40431.jpeg

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And Terry touches on some possibilities around a reissue of some original fobs, so I will add these to the conversation. Both are well marked by Bastian Brothers but I have been thinking that they may have produced the non-enameled fob in the 1950’s when the interest In these cars was blooming as a novelty to advertise themselves which is why it caries so prevalent marking on the back. This is a theory but I would appreciate comments from others who share an interest!

A7A85E5B-0D4A-4FC2-BA7F-BF3053AF2A91.jpeg

4D74FC27-7AFF-45F0-AF6B-F2EC66405F34.jpeg

Edited by TheMoneyPit
Spellcheck strikes again. (see edit history)
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I've often wondered about the apparently newer version as well.  Of course Bastian continues in business to the present, but why would they not put their own logo on the front rather than something like Stutz, when they had so many other types to choose from?  I have heard from other collectors in the past that the later edition without enamelling was issued to promote the later Stutz automobiles, including the Blackhawk.  But then that brings up the difference in the logo itself.  The "revised" Stutz company known  'The Stutz Motor Car of America, inc"  used a different logo. So, I'm left wondering why an earlier Stutz log was used to promote the newer car.   I've never contacted Bastian to see if there is any history available on these but it sounds like a good project.  Will let you now what kind of responses I get, of course they are probably all working from home still like everyone else.

Terry

Stutz_Logo newer.jpg

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Well, here is the quick answer to my question about who to contact for some company history. 

Their website states:

 

Thank you for your interest in our award winning UNION MADE IN THE USA products. As a courtesy to our distributors, our personal contact information is not provided. If you are a distributor, please contact any of the associations listed below who will be happy to assist you in reaching us.

 

Association Member Number
ASI 38780
PPAI 111455
PPAI (UPIC) LAPEL PIN
SAGE 50448

 

If you are a promotional products distributor but are not a member of the above organizations, you may request our contact information via e-mail. Please send your request to bastian@bastiancompany.com.

So, I emailed asking if there is someone who might be able to answer some quesitons about company history.  It sadly seems that more company history has been simply discarded.  So sad.

 

"Sorry, but management employee's that might have been able to help either retired or were dismissed with the sale of the company to a holding company in 1979-1980. The new owners as part of the acquisition destroyed most of the old files that might have yielded some information that you are seeking."


 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Terry Bond (see edit history)
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I was doing a little re-arranging in a few of my trinket trays to squeeze in a couple of pins recently acquired and thought I'd post a few more pics of some of my favorite fobs.  I think one of the rarest I've got is this early Speedwell fob.  It's absolutely beautiful.  I've had an emblem collector look it over and he verifies it's the earliest type of Speedwell logo.  The Stearns is another favorite.  The white porcelain is frequently damaged on these.  The Westcot on the ribbon is another really nice looking fob. 

Enjoy

Terry

Speedwell fob.jpg

Stearns.jpg

Wescott resized for Forum.jpg

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5 hours ago, TheMoneyPit said:

I thought I would bring this one back to life, so here’s one which I think Ed would appreciate looking at his Cad-LaS items.


This was an employee award for 5 years service and is Sterling Silver as can be read on the back. I have also seen a solid gold one that I think was for 10 years service, and for the longer years of service I believe semi-precious gemstones were used in the fob. 
 

This is not a particularly rare fob,  but carries history which I find very interesting.

181C1C79-C4FF-4D8E-B262-9B59E43B5015.jpeg

B0718B6B-E5E4-4F84-866B-C0B86CC40431.jpeg

 

 

I have the gold one in my collection......nice piece!

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Beautiful pieces! 
 

I think you and I have discussed the Stutz fob before, but I don’t think it was related to the later company because of the logo discrepancy. It would be interesting to know the legal aspect of the trademark identity and logo use in that bastardization of Stutz history. Sadly none of the legal issues brought against them stuck...

 

I can fully understand why the Pierce-Arrow society  went through so much of a fight to protect that from happening to that prestigious name!

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These are sitting on my desk as I read this .........

1 minute ago, TheMoneyPit said:

Beautiful pieces! 
 

I think you and I have discussed the Stutz fob before, but I don’t think it was related to the later company because of the logo discrepancy. It would be interesting to know the legal aspect of the trademark identity and logo use in that bastardization of Stutz history. Sadly none of the legal issues brought against them stuck...

 

I can fully understand why the Pierce-Arrow society  went through so much of a fight to protect that from happening to that prestigious name!

 

 

The Pierce club went to the wall to protect the name from modern ASSXXXES who want to take a free ride. It was a battle that lasted almost ten years. 

 

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1 minute ago, edinmass said:

 

 

I have the gold one in my collection......nice piece!


I’m not as serious a collector of fobs to jump on one as I spend too much on other aspects of my collection, but I would appreciate it if you could add pictures and share any history with us...

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1 minute ago, TheMoneyPit said:


I’m not as serious a collector of fobs to jump on one as I spend too much on other aspects of my collection, but I would appreciate it if you could add pictures and share any history with us...

 

 

It's in a box in my basement, where it's been for about 19 years..........sorry....can't post photos till I move. The good news is that might happen in 60 days.

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6 hours ago, TheMoneyPit said:

And Terry touches on some possibilities around a reissue of some original fobs, so I will add these to the conversation. Both are well marked by Bastian Brothers but I have been thinking that they may have produced the non-enameled fob in the 1950’s when the interest In these cars was blooming as a novelty to advertise themselves which is why it caries so prevalent marking on the back. This is a theory but I would appreciate comments from others who share an interest!

A7A85E5B-0D4A-4FC2-BA7F-BF3053AF2A91.jpeg

4D74FC27-7AFF-45F0-AF6B-F2EC66405F34.jpeg


I would agree with the comment they are not pre war. The real early dealership stuff is very nice. If you look at everything with a very critical eye, it becomes obvious what is and isn’t correct 95 percent of the time.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, TheMoneyPit said:

Terry will want to start a new topic soon, but here’s a very similar something...

FA27FB4A-B44F-45A9-8EC6-D8380A99B5A4.jpeg


 

Wow......very rare, and I have one also. I thought mine was the only one. It was a part of a seven piece set.

 

 

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