Nations, like people, have special parties and observances to celebrate birthdays and other successes. In 1876, the United States celebrated its 100th birthday with the Centennial Exhibit of 1876 in Philadelphia.
There have been many other exhibitions and fairs, and some collectors specialize in souvenirs, posters, and even pieces of buildings or exhibits from these important national events. Medals, photographs, postcards, even sugar packets and other special food-related items have been saved, as well as toys, books, and clothing from the fairs, and they sell easily today.
Many items, like this red cloth bandanna, had pictures of presidents Washington and Grant, images of some of the exhibition buildings and of course, the official name of the event. This bandanna souvenir sold at Conestoga Auction Co. for $71. It can be stitched to a piece of unbleached muslin and framed as a picture (the stitching can be removed leaving it in nearly perfect shape), or it can be dry mounted and framed.
* * *
Q: We bought a Drexel dining-room table and six chairs in the 1960s. The style is midcentury modern, but the chairs have unusual backs with spindles that are flattened about two-thirds of the way up. The table is 60 inches by 29 inches by 40 inches and has two leaves. It’s stamped underneath with Drexel Declaration, 850-330-37, 2/61. I’ve heard midcentury modern furniture is popular again. What is this set worth?
A: Drexel Furniture Co. began making moderately priced oak furniture in North Carolina in 1903. In the 1950s, Drexel began buying other companies, including the Heritage Furniture Co. After changes in ownership, Drexel became part of Authentic Brands Group in 2020. Drexel’s Declaration line was designed in the late 1950s and was made of walnut with a choice of white porcelain or brass pulls on drawers. The line has the spare look of Danish modern, but the dining chairs are inspired by Shaker furniture. The numbers stamped on your table include the model number and indicate it was made in February 1961. Midcentury modern furniture is popular again, and pieces sell for high prices. A Drexel Declaration table and six chairs are worth about $1,000 to $1,500.