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Posts Tagged ‘ephemera’

Antique Coney Island Ride Tickets

Collection of antique tickets for Coney Island rides and amusements, early 1900s. Eclectibles at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair

Roller coasters have evolved since the days when the Switchback Railway and Loop the Loop occupied the block where the Cyclone is now, but as far as ride tickets, they don’t make ’em like they used to. When the New York Antiquarian Book Fair opens today at the Park Avenue Armory, among the treasures for sale will be a collection of elaborately illustrated tickets from Coney Island rides and amusements of a century ago. The collection is being offered by Eclectibles (Booth A44) as part of a selection of New York ephemera. The tickets came equipped with strings for securing to a shirt or coat button and are wonderful souvenirs of old Coney Island.

The rides and attractions represented in Eclectibles collection include such long-vanished Surf Avenue thrillers as The Ben Hur Chariot Race (1908-1923) and the Rocky Road to Dublin (1907-1912) built by William F. Mangels, Jackman’s Shooting the Rapids (1898-1901) and Loop the Loop (1901-1910). The Star Double Toboggan Races (1904-1906), the world’s first two-track racing coaster, and the Red Devil Rider (1907-1923) are among the Bowery attractions. A number of L.A. Thompson’s Scenic Railway and Steeplechase Face tickets round out the collection of 14 tickets, which is priced at $3,500.

Die Cut Tag from Coney Island’s Bostock Arena in Dreamland circa 1904. Courtesy of eBay Seller monsonantiques

Considering that an especially rare ticket and advertising tag for Coney’s early attractions can sell for several hundred dollars on eBay, the price is fair. The last time ATZ wrote about one of these hard-to-find tickets was in 2011, when a die cut tag from Dreamland’s Bostock Arena was snapped up for nearly $400 in the last few seconds of an auction.

Currently on eBay, seller childhoodthings is offering a collection of Coney Island tickets, including Loop the Loop (“Heels up, Heads down”), the County Fair Musical Railway, L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway (“Ain’t It Lovely!”) and Steeplechase Park for $1,000.

Lopp the Loop Ticket

Loop the Loop Ticket, early 1900s. Via eBay seller childhoodthings

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Coney Island Seashell

Souvenir: Coney Island in a Seashell. New-York Historical Society Collection. Gift of Bella C. Landauer

Back in the early 1900s, the Shell View Syndicate sold seashells by Brooklyn’s fabled seashore. These scallop shells with accordion folded booklets of miniature photos tucked inside are one of the most charming souvenirs of Coney Island that we’ve come across. Tied together with red ribbon and measuring just 1-5/8 x 1 x 7/8, the seashells are in the collection of the New-York Historical Society.

Souvenir New-York Historical Society

Miniature Photos Inside Souvenir Seashell. New-York Historical Society Collection. Gift of Bella C. Landauer

If you take a look at the photographs on the Society’s Collections page, you’ll see Steeplechase Park’s Ferris Wheel and Airship Ride, Luna Park’s Promenade, Circle Swing, and Elephant Ride, Stauch’s Restaurant and Dance Hall, and a Beach Scene.

A web search of “The Shell View Syndicate” turned up a few tidbits about the company. They had offices at 147 West 23rd Street in Manhattan in 1908. Their line of souvenirs included “New York in A Seashell, “Allentown in a Nutshell” and novelty postcards, but “Coney Island in a Seashell” is destined to remain our favorite.

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