Twice a year, book and paper enthusiasts of all kinds come together in Lansing to search through books, postcards, magazines, posters and more. If it’s on paper you’re likely to find it at the Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show.
This massive hunt for hidden treasure is happening again on Sunday, October 3, at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. From 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. nearly 70 dealers from across the country will be offering for sale an incredible number of items in nearly every category.
At the show you will find first editions, unusual and out-of-print books, rare and miniature books, postcards, maps, advertising items, photos, old sports material, autographs, military items, ephemera and more.
It’s a mind-boggling experience, as Bill Triola of Lansing said. “Like walking through the Library of Congress ...” Unlike the Library of Congress, you have the opportunity (for anywhere from 50 cents to $5,000) to take a piece of that history home with you.
This stroll through history, for young and old alike, has some items dating back just a few years and some centuries. It is a wonderful opportunity for everyone from beginning collectors to die-hard history buffs.
Whether you’re seeking a book from childhood or a favorite poet, a historical map or a Civil War newspaper, a 1950’s auto brochure or a classic movie poster  – this is definitely the place to go.
Comments from attendees, some traveling hundreds of miles, include “Love coming to this show!” and it’s a “semi-annual ‘religious’ pilgrimage”.
Additional features include plenty of seating and live music, featuring Dan Kuczek on acoustic guitar. The Lansing Center supplies concessions, making it easy to spend all day there.
Admission is $4.50 per person; kids 13 and under get in for free.

Dealer Profile

by Bill Castanier

While booksellers at the Michigan Antiquarian Book and Paper Show are grunting and groaning, hauling heavy boxes filled with books into the  Lansing Center, John Kemler of Alma Michigan has a lighter load to move.

Kemler (Booth 28, Paper Americana), who sells ephemera, primarily Victorian era trade cards, has his stock organized in 60 notebooks.

The former fifth grade teacher said he got involved in selling ephemera the way most collectors do: to support his habit.

“I started collecting in 1969,” he said.

Kemler, who grew up on a farm near Alma, began by collecting farm implement advertising trade cards. He said he doesn’t keep track of how many are in his personal collection.

Trade cards were a common form of advertising from right after the Civil War to the Columbian Exposition in 1893, Kemler said. National companies and local retailers wanting to advertise their products turned to the cards since magazines and newspapers at the time were without color advertising.

Kemler, who retired from teaching this year after 40 years, said the collecting of trade cards is still a relatively unknown niche. He said categories that are the most collectible include tobacco, cruise ship-related, mechanical banks, circuses and Santa cards. Cards tend to be sentimental or humorous and often contained racial or ethnic stereotyping.

“You never know where you will find them" (trade cards) he said.  "But generally you will not find them displayed in museums.

"Not very many museums have knowledge of them and if they have them they are stuck in metal file cabinets.”

As an exception, he points to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City which holds the massive Jefferson Burdick Trade Card collection.  That makes sense since trade cards showcase the pre “Mad Men” history of advertising, mass produced products and consumerism.

Kemler said when he began collecting cards were 10 cents, 25 cents and 50 cents.

“An expensive card would be $2.00.” He got his start from an acquaintance who gave him a scrapbook filled with trade cards.

“Children collected them and pasted them in scrapbooks,” he said.

Today, those prices have jumped. Common cards are 50 cents to $10 and rarer cards might draw $10 or $20.

Like with a lot of collectibles, he said the internet was a game changer for trade cards.

“Buying and selling on line changed the whole playing field entirely. You learned what you thought was scarce is not and is surprisingly available. On the other hand, there are still a lot of cards out there I’ve never seen.”

Kemler said the internet is bringing out a lot of collectors. “And we need young collectors.”
He said the internet also led to the demise of a lot of shows and that’s one reason he likes the Antiquarian Book and Paper Show.

“I’ve been at it from the beginning.”

At shows collectors can see the actual quality and the intensity of the color. Kemler said he’s also noticed post card collectors gravitating to trade cards that have the city they collect printed on the card.

Kemler said a preponderance of the trade cards were produced in the East and Midwest.  “They are much easier to find.  The South you don’t find as much. Paper didn’t survive the humidity. Cards from Western states were unusual since by the time they were settled, color advertising had become more common.”

Kemler also brings a large selection of Victorian era greeting cards, especially Christmas cards. He said artists such as Frances Brundage, Maud Humphrey and Kate Greenaway were among famous illustrators who contributed art to trade cards, along with major printing companies such as Currier and Ives.

Collectors can expect that Kemler’s material at the show will include items not previously seen.

“I’m constantly adding new material.”

New exhibitors

Every show has a few new dealers. Here are some you likely haven’t seen before (the numbers are the booth numbers.

# 6 Branchwater Collection, Ludington, MI - General Stock
#18 Mark Craig, Bookseller, Dallas, TX -
General Stock
# 3 Lennie's Kitchen Table, Laingsburg, MI - Unusual Paper & Ephemera
#33 Postcard Archaeologist, Ft. Gratiot, MI -
MI/Great Lakes, Ephem, Stock Cert, Trade Cards, PC
#58 Larry Falater, Allen, MI - Stock Certificates, Bank Notes, PC
# 42 MSU Surplus Store, East Lansing, MI -
General Stock, Ephemera

When, where  & what?

9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday, October 3

Lansing Center,
333 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
Admission: $4.50; kids 13 and younger get in free

This show is one of the biggest book and paper shows in the country and is the largest in the Midwest.

What books will you find?
The “book” part includes antiquarian, rare, collectible and out-of-print volumes, presented by the best authorities in their fields.
  Children’s and   
  Literary and 
   modern first
  Fine bindings,
   private press
  Michigan History
   and Americana
  Color plate and
   illustrated books
  Science and
  Art and music
  Natural history,
   hunting and fishing
  Civil War and
   military history
  Mystery and true
  Science fiction,
   fantasy and horror

What paper will you find?

The “paper” part includes exceptional paper dealers with specialties in diverse categories.

  Postcards, trade cards
  Prints and maps
  Photographs and stereoviews
  Paper dolls, valentines
  Vintage advertising, labels,
  Historic documents,
  Broadsides, newspapers and
    stock certificates
  Travel, war and movie posters
  Calendars and catalogs
  Ephemera and pamphlets
  Magazines and pulps
  Automobile brochures
  Sports programs and tickets
  Railroad timetables

There is no “early bird special.”
Give yourself plenty of time.
For more info, call 332-0112.

Frequently asked questions

How can you tell if it’s a first edition? It varies from book to book and publisher to publisher. It becomes complex. That’s part of the challenge. Sometimes there are minor typographical changes that are caught and corrected.
The serious collector doesn’t want the fixed version, he or she wants the original. There are price guides that people use to determine the value.
What is ephemera? Ephemera is a term used to embrace a wide range of minor, everyday documents, most intended for one-time or short-term use, including trade cards, broadsides, posters, car brochures, tickets, bookmarks, photographs – and the list goes on.

Show History

The show started in 1985 when a stamp and coin show at the armory on Washington Avenue had extra space available.
Allen and Penny Crabtree of Eaton Rapids and Ray Walsh of East Lansing decided to add books to the show.
During the first year, there were only 30 exhibitors, but the show quickly became popular and expanded, first moving to the Lansing Civic Center and then to the Lansing Center.
Today, the show that started on a whim is one of the biggest of its kind in the United States and is the largest book and paper show in the Midwest.
It’s even been listed in the Wall Street Journal’s Futures and Options Column. 

Other info

Tips for first-timers
 Make a list of what you have or what you’re
    looking for.
  You can pick up an exhibitor listing by subject
    and by booth number at the Information Booth.
  Compare prices, but don’t expect it to be there
    later. The time to buy a collectible book is when you see it!
  There are price guides, reference books and
    supplies for sale at the Information Booth.
  Some dealers may negotiate. You’ll have better
    luck if you’re polite and smile.
  If you’re looking for something and can’t find it, ask a dealer.

 Bags must be stapled shut. Please be sure you
    have the receipt.
 If you have several packages, the Information
    Booth can check them for you, consolidate them  
    for you, or both.
 Bringing items for sale into the exhibitor hall
    is strongly discouraged. It’s better to make an
   appointment with a dealer outside of the show.
 If you must bring something in, notify the
    security guard at the entrance and arrangements will be made.

Door prizes
 Five door prizes ($20 gift certificates) are
    awarded throughout the day.
 The gift certificates may be used at the show.
 Forms are available at the Information Booth.

List of Exhibiting Dealers

Information Booth
307 East Grand River
East Lansing  MI  48823
(517) 332-0123
Reference Materials, Supplies
... across from entrance ...

Ageless Books
654 Earliglow Lane
Haslett  MI  48840
(517) 339-0520
Janet O'Brien
GS, Child/Juv, Ephem
...  27  ...

Annie Books
P.O. Box 413
Haslett  MI  48840
(517) 339-9199
Annie Everett
GS, Cook, Child, MI, Ephem
...  12  ...

Archives Book Shop
519 W. Grand River Ave.
East Lansing  MI  48823
(517) 332-8444
Listing on
Ray Walsh
GS, Child, MI, Fine Bind, Photos, Ephem
 ...  38  ...

Bessenberg Bindery
215 N. Fifth Ave.
Ann Arbor  MI  48104
(734) 996-9696
Jon Buller
Bookbinding, Repair, Boxes, Leather Binding, One-Of-A-Kind Bindings
...  29  ...

Better World Books
55740 Currant Rd.
Mishawaka  IN  46545
(574) 855-5228
Paul Drake, Qumpus Inc.
General Stock
...  51  ...

Blue Jacket Books
60 S. Detroit
Xenia  OH  45385
(937) 376-3522
Elizabeth Svendsen
GS, Milit, Poetry, Exploration
...  20  ...

Bohling Book Company
61976 Bayshore Dr.
Sturgis  MI  49091
(269) 467-4661
Lynnette Bohling
MI, Ephem, Travel Brochures, PC
...  35  ...

Booklegger's Used Books (ABAA)
2907 N. Broadway
Chicago  IL  60657
(773) 404-8780
Lawrence VanDeCarr
Lit, Myst, SF, Rare
...  36  ...

Books of the Ages
4764 Silverwood Dr.
Batavia  OH  45103
(513) 732-3456
Gary Overmann
Tasha Tudor, Series, Pop Ups, Award Winners
...  1  ...

Boulevard Postcards
534 Glendale Circle
Ann Arbor  MI  48103-4177
(734) 417-2608
Doug Aikenhead
Specializing in Real Photo PC
...  54  ...

Branchwater Books & Ephemera

11196 W. Clear Lake
Branch  MI  49402
(231) 898-2286
Roger D. Jones
GS, Sci/Mech, Milit, Advertising
...  7  ...

Branchwater Collection

117 S. James St.
Ludington  MI  49431
(231) 425-3571
Matthew Jones
...  6  ...  &

Robert S. Brooks, Bookseller
P.O. Box 145
Bristol  WI  53104-9998
(847) 867-7273
Robert S. Brooks
General Stock
...  47  ...

Buckingham Books

8058 Stone Bridge Rd.
Greencastle  PA  17225-9786
(717) 597-5657
Lew Buckingham
Western Amer, Det Fic, Espionage
...  23  ...

Paul Burk - Antiques & Books

734 N. Stewart
Freemont  MI  49412
(231) 924-3494
Paul Burk
Stereoptic Views, Trade Cards, PC
...  52  ...

Cards from Archives
519 W. Grand River Ave.
East Lansing  MI  48823
(517) 332-8444
Listing on
Ray Walsh
PC, Folios, Real Photo
...  37  ...

2820 Page Ave.
Ann Arbor  MI  48104
(517) 896-3344
Ben Castanier
GS, MI/Great Lakes, Lit
...  50  ...

Collectors' Choice

24153 N. Dixie Hwy.
Perrysburg  OH  43551
(419) 872-2758
Ronald & Ruth Euton
GS, Juv, Milit, Cook, Ephem
...  66  ...

Mark Craig, Bookseller
6029 Waggoner
Dallas  TX  75230
(214) 533-3204
Mark Craig
...  18  ...  &

Curious Book Shop
307 E. Grand River Ave.
East Lansing  MI  48823
(517) 332-0112
Ray Walsh; Mark Wojcik, mgr.
GS, MI, SF, Illus, Mags, Ephem
...  13  ...

Curious Sports & Entertainment
307 E. Grand River Ave.
East Lansing  MI  48823
(517) 332-0112
Ray Walsh; Mark Wojcik, mgr
Movie Posters, Lobby Cards, Stills, Sports Items, Football Programs
...  25  ...

Dave's Used Cards
9114 Warner Rd.
Haslett  MI  48840-0584
(517) 675-5474
David Jaeger
Maps, Misc Paper, PC
...  9  ...

Doubting Thomas Books

P.O. Box 132
Sylvania  OH  43560
(419) 340-0794
Thomas Helmke
Paper, Ephemera
...  64  ...

Doyle's Books
1704 S. Noble Ave.
Springfield  IL  62704
(217) 726-8569
Michael Brophy
GS, Fic, Lit, Nature, Hunt, Fish
...  34  ...

Early Aeronautica
P.O. Box 2003
Midland  MI  48641-2003
(989) 835-3908
Thomas Kullgren
Milit, Hist, Trans, Aviation, Ephem, PC
...  8  ...

A. England, Books & Ephemera
Hillsdale Community Books
100 S. West Street
Hillsdale  MI  49242
(517) 398-6030
Aimee England
GS, Signed, Non-Fiction,Vintage Photographs
...  14  ...

Larry Falater
P.O. Box 81
Allen  MI  49227
Lawrence Falater
Stock Certs, Bank Notes, PC
...  58  ...  &

The Fine Books Company (ABAA)
781 E. Snell Road
Rochester  MI  48306-2144
(248) 651-8799
David & Nancy Aronovitz
GS, Mys/Det, SF, 1sts
...  26  ...

Frogtown Books Inc.
1021 Glenn Rd.
Toledo  OH  43607
(419) 531-8101
Pete Baughman
Child, Lit, Fic, photos, Autographs
...  65  ...

Sam Gatteno Books
542 Lakeland
Grosse Pointe  MI  48230
(313) 885-2254
Sam Gatteno
...  41  ...

Thatcher C. Goetz, Antiquarian Books
6615 Greenwood Rd.
Petosky  MI  49770
(231) 439-9416
Thatcher C. Goetz
MI, Great Lakes, Hist
...  49  ...

John M. Gram
206 Military Street
Port Huron  MI  48060
(810) 334-2824
John M. Gram
MI, Milit, Hist, PC
...  46  ...

Ken Hebenstreit, Bookseller
813 N. Washington Ave.
Royal Oak  MI  48067
(248) 548-5459
Ken Hebenstreit & Shar Douglas
1sts, Fic, Myst, Suspense
...  24  ...

The HER and HIStory Collection
18 Gunia Ave.
Peru  IL  61354
(815) 220-1305
James Bennett
Child, Milit, Hist, Hunt, Fish, Ephem, Trade Cards
...  4  ...

Hooked On History
350 W. Kensington Road, Suite #108
Mt. Prospect  IL  60056-1141
(847) 255-9854
Bruce R. Herrick
Milit, Hist, Civil War Prints
...  22  ...

JRJ Company Presidential Memorabilia
Maple Street Mall
108 W. Maple
Mason  MI  48854
(517) 676-2538
Jack Cook
Milit, Political, Presidential Pictures - Autographs
...  56  ...

Kaleidoscope Books & Collectibles
200 N. Fourth Ave.
Ann Arbor  MI  48104
(734) 995-9887
Jeffrey Pickell
GS, Child/Juv, SF, Mys, Sht Mus, Comics, Paper, PC
...  59  ...

Carol Anne Kouyoumdjian Miniature Books
P.O. Box 111
Columbia City  IN  46725-0111
(260) 609-4504
Carol A. Kouyoumdjian
GS, Miniature Bks, Child, Cook, Trade Cards
...  2  ...

Lennie's Kitchen Table
216 W. 2nd North
Laingsburg  MI  48848
(517) 651-5481
Eileen Moore
Unusual Paper & Ephemera
...  3  ...  &

Leona Lentz
P.O. Box 506
Delton  MI  49046
(269) 623-2960
Leona Lentz
Postcards, Philatelic Covers
...  67  ...

Little Button Rose & Bruce's Bookshelf
614 Bower St.
Elkhart  IN  46514-2655
(616) 481-0671
Mary & Bruce Ritsema
GS, Child, Lit, Alcott, Hemingway, US Vint Postage Stamps
...  39  ...

Lowry's Books
22 N. Main St.
Three Rivers  MI  49093-1532
(269) 273-7323
Tom Lowry
GS, Milit, Hist
...  10  ...

Magina Books
2311 Fort St.
Lincoln Park  MI  48146-2420
(313) 928-7177
Steve  Magina
GS, Hist, Milit, Tran
...  53  ...

McCormick Books
21978 Greentree
Novi  MI  48375
(248) 231-7430
Janet Blackhawk
GS, MI, Child, Hist, Americana
...  43  ...

Gregory S. McDonald Books
8168 Grand River Ave.
Saranac  MI  48881
(616) 862-7155
Gregory S. McDonald
Lit, Art, Arch, Paper
...  63  ...

Mill-Cliff Books
65 Prospect Ave.
Dayton  OH  45415-2233
(937) 898-6667
Barbara A. Clifford
GS, Child, Tran, Ephem,
Trade Cards, PC
...  61  ...

Mossback Books
21978 Greentree
Novi  MI  48375
(313) 300-8626
Listing on
Evan C. Blackhawk
GS, Child, Milit, Americana
...  44  ...

MSU Surplus Store
223 Surplus & Recycle Center
East Lansing, MI  48824
(517) 355-0364
Kris Jolley
GS, Ephemera
...  42  ... &

Jerry Musich Used &
Fine Books

1347 W. 86th Street
Indianapolis  IN  46260
(317) 254-0690
Jerry  Musich
GS, Art, Milit, Hist, Tran, Ephem
...  19  ...

Northern Heritage Antiques
P.O. Box 195
Marquette  MI  49855
(906) 250-9002
Marcie J. DePlonty
GS, Photos, Victoriana, Travel Maps, Sht Mus, Ephem, Trade Cards, PC
...  21  ...

Old Stone Studio
4666 Bunker Road
Mason  MI  48854
(517) 628-3084
Charles Herrick
Art, Arch, Ephem. Framed Vintage Items
...  45  ...

Out-of-the-Way Books
4500 North Kelso
North Adams  MI  49262
(517) 287-9018
listing on ABE
Michael J. Gajda
GS, Hist, Art, Paper, Ephem, PC
...  17  ...

Page Books
117 Danville Pike
Hillsboro  OH  45133
(937) 840-0991
Maggie Page
Child, Illus
...  60  ...

Paper Americana
6280 W. Polk Rd.
Alma  MI  48801
(989) 463-5896
John Kemler
Trade Cards, Ephem, PC
...  28  ...

Pieces of History
11810 Algonquin
Pinckney  MI  48169
(734) 424-9609
Neta O'Brien
...  31  ...

Postcard Archaeologist
2958 Wedgewood Drive
Ft. Gratiot  MI  48059
(810) 385-6191
Fred Tanner
MI, Great Lakes, Ephem, Stock Cert, Trade Cards, PC
...  33  ...  &

Postcard Wally
417 Meade Dr.
Lansing  MI  48917-9676
(517) 230-0734
Wally Jung
...  30  ...

Roadrunner's Bookshelf
689 25th St.
Otsego  MI  49078
(269) 673-8058
Carroll & Charlotte Busk
Child/Juv, Hist, Nature, Hunt, Fish
...  48  ...

Jeanette Routhier
P.O. Box 386
Swartz Creek  MI  48473
(810) 287-5634
Jeanette Routhier
GS, Child, MI, Agriculture
...  55  ...

Stephen Ruebelman Bookseller
3854 Tamarack Dr.
Port Huron  MI  48060
(810) 987-2534
Stephen Ruebelman
MI, Lit, Art, Hemingway, 1sts
...  11  ...

Shaw's Books
14932 Kercheval
Grosse Pointe Park  MI  48230
(313) 824-0816
Henry Zuchowski
MI, Trans, Fine Bind, Ephem
...  16  ...

This Old Book
9525 Lexington Ave.
Brookfield  IL  60513
(708) 997-3837
Matt Meyer
GS, Child, Milit, Tran
...  15  ...

Triola's Objects As Art
1114 E. Mt. Hope
Lansing  MI  48910
(517) 449-0246
Bill Triola
MI, Milit, Child, Trade Cards, Paper, PC
...  57  ...

Brenda & Carl Walters Books
P.O. Box 276
Concord  MI  49237
(517) 937-3332
Carl & Brenda Walters
Ephem, PC
...  32  ...

West Side Book Shop (ABAA)
113 W. Liberty
Ann Arbor  MI  48104
(734) 995-1891
Jay Platt
GS, MI, Lit, Americana,
Travel & Exploration
...  40  ...

P.B. Wisney - Books &  Ephemera
Box 5
Rosebush  MI  48878
(989) 433-2119
Pat & Bill Wisney
GS, MI, Great Lakes, Ephem
...  5  ...

Yesterday's Books
3868 Turner Rd.
Richmond  IN  47374
(765) 966-3056
Listing on
Bob & Becky  Scott
GS, Child, Paper, Ephem
...  62  ...

GS - General Stock
       (variety of subjects)
1sts - First Editions
Adver - Advertising
Arch - Architecture
Bks - Books
Child - Children’s
Cook - Cookbooks
Ephem - Ephemera
Fant - Fantasy
Fic%u202F - Fiction
Fine Bind - Fine Bindings
Fish - Fishing
Gene - Genealogy
Hist - History
Hunt - Hunting
Illus - Illustrated
Lit - Literature   
Mags - Magazines
MI - Michigan
Milit - Military
Mod Lib - Modern Library
Mys - Mystery
Nat - Nature
PC - Postcards
Photos - Photographs
Revol - Revolutionary
Sci - Science
SF - Science Fiction
Sht Mus - Sheet Music
Trans - Transportation