Garage Sale Planners Calendars Boast Impressive Artistry

June 06, 2022

Garage Sale Planners Calendars Boast Impressive Artistry

Submitted by Colts Neck Resident

The little farm had a “Sale Today” sign in the driveway and below it a smaller one that said “Local Honey”. Just inside the open garage door was a card table with a dozen jars of the thick amber liquid. The handwritten paper labels on some jars read “Clover” and others read “Lavender”. We rang the school bell with a wooden handle, and an old woman came out and started telling us how her bees foraged in the clover fields until the lavender flowers came; then they switch. She claimed that the honey was completely organic. We weren’t quite sure how she was able to keep the fields organic – we guessed that maybe what she really meant was all natural. She said, “If you need the taste of something sweet, don’t eat sugar. Sugar is addictive and poisonous. Instead, you should use honey. It is an excellent tonic, and if you eat honey produced by local bees, it will help you stay healthy. We had heard about the benefits of local honey before, and $5 for a big jar seemed more than fair, so we bought one of each. How could we not?

As she spoke, we looked around the garage. It was full of the usual accumulation of old gardening tools and pipes, and in one corner were piles of empty black plastic pots from the garden centre.

Hanging on a back wall and barely visible beneath old receipts and tattered instruction sheets, we spotted a colorful lithograph of a grandfather and child racing a box derby speedster. soap on a hill. The picture was about two by three feet tall, and it was beautifully done. Upon closer inspection, we were surprised to see that it was actually a calendar and dated back to 1941.

The lady said her family had been in the printing business in New York for over a hundred years, and if we wanted to see more of this stuff, we could go up to the attic and poke around.

An invitation to “go up in the loft and poke around?” My God! Every garage sale buyer’s dream!

Other than a thick layer of dust, there wasn’t much else up there, just a few gardening tools, an old wooden sled and a few boxes of household items, one of which was marked ” Moms Good Lenox”. There were also about a dozen large rolls of blank paper next to a stack of flat wooden drawers with separate compartments filled with lead type that had probably all been salvaged from the family printing press.

Under the type drawers we saw what appeared to be a bunch of calendars like the one we had seen on the garage wall below. The lady said we could take them down to have a look.

There were about 20 of them, and they came in a few different sizes – ranging from about 15 by 20 inches to almost 24 by 40 inches. Most are from the 1930s and 1940s. were samples of calendar art dealers of the time. One of them even wrote in pencil on the margin “$28.50 per cent”. At the height of the Great Depression, when the minimum wage was 25 cents an hour, for a tradesman to pay almost 30 cents each for a calendar he planned to give to customers meant he had to be pretty special ! And from what the woman was asking us to pay for them, she still thought they were special.

We took a second look. The photos were really well done. So well done, in fact, that the originals must have been painted by professional artists of the time.

Who were these artists anyway? Unlike today, where anything depicted on a calendar would never have a signature, most of the illustrations on the calendars we were looking at were signed. Some of them even had titles. The one we spotted on the garage wall was titled “Hang on Gramp” and was signed “H. Hintermeister,” who, it turns out, was a famous illustrator of that era. Today, his original images sell over $15,000, as are those of two of the other artists, Russell Sambrook and Frances Hunter.Hunter is well known for her Saturday Evening Post covers, and her originals can fetch over six figures!

Mabel Rollins Harris, another well-known artist of the time, painted many of the loveliest images on the calendars in our collection. His original pastel paintings of small children also fetch prices well into the thousands. Of course, none of the calendar prints, no matter how valuable, are worth anything like this, but they were all so beautiful, how not to buy them?

Garage sale journals chronicle a local’s travels and discoveries at area garage sales. Email [email protected] with any comments or questions.

Laura J. Boyer