The Indy Antique Advertising Show
The Indy Antique Advertising Show
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Published in Antique Back Roads Magazine, Volume 8, 2014

What exactly is the Indy Ad Show?
The official name of the show is The Indy Antique Advertising Show. Over the years, dealers and customers have fondly referred to the show as The Indy Ad Show simply because it is less wordy. Indy is more of a specialty show with the main concentration around antique advertising of all types/forms/varieties and is held in March & September in Indianapolis, IN at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

What is antique advertising?
Many people get hung up on the word Antique. The word Antique is simply to denote that the items are true vintage (not a reproduction or made up item) and that it is an older item. (Note a purist wourd define an antique of at least 100 years old. However, many collectors refer to items of 50 years old as antiques.) Advertising for products and services has been around for generations. Business owners put their name on their building; manufacturers promoted their products and often provided displays to the shop owner. Early American advertising was commonly on wood; from a wood sign for a livery stable to the shipping crate for soap to the general store owner. The next time you see a western movie, look for the advertising. From the late 1800s forward, you can find adverting on metal, porcelain, cardboard, tin, paper or wood. There are so many brand names represented at the show is it impossible to name them all. Just to give you an example from soda fountain category there will be Coca Cola, Pepsi, Orange Crush, Double Cola, Nichol Cola, and Whistle. From automotive/gas & oil you will find Ford, Dodge, REO, Fram, Delco, Texaco, Gulf, Shell, Esso and the list goes on and on.

Can you find other things than signs?
Definitely! It is the common misconception to think of advertising in just the form of signs. Coca Cola is an example of a company that mastered marketing early on. Besides signs & print advertising, they included their adverting on bottles, soda machines, toys, pocket mirrors, syrup bottles & dispensers, book markers, menu boards, lighting, window displays, fountain soda displays, decorations for the store, tables & chairs and the list goes on. There are a wide variety of categories at the show that include advertising such as soda fountain, gas & oil, automotive, drug & country store, veterinary, and brewery & saloon items. You can also find coin operated machines (slots, amusement, vending), toys from cast iron to pressed steel to tin, show cases, country store & veterinary cabinets, carnival items, barber shop, political items and a wide variety of ephemera items including post cards. So Indy is definitely more than just signs.

What makes Indy unique from other shows?
Its the largest show in the nation with this concentration of merchandise. Dealers from 28 different states exhibit at the show bringing the best they have to offer. The dealers do an outstanding job of bringing new merchandise to each show for all levels of collectors. They may have a great $10 item for the beginning collector or the rare, one-of-a-kind piece for the advanced collector. The aisles are wide for easy shopping and the booths are large to allow for excellent display space.

What is the Friday Preview?
Preview is the first day of the show some think of it as opening day some think of it as early buyers. Yes you can buy items on Friday. Friday hours are 1-6pm with the admission of $40. Friday admission also includes Saturday as many want to come back a second day. If you are the person looking for that specific one-of-a-kind item, you are probably not the only one and Friday might be a better day to attend.

What are the Saturday hours?
Saturday hours are 9-4 with an $8 admission. Many times dealers will restock their booth on Saturday morning as many bring more than they can put out on Friday. Several also rearrange their booth for Saturday so you may see items you did not notice the first day.

Can I get in when the dealers set up?
Dealers set up on Friday morning and drive into the building to unload. We cannot allow customers in the building during this time for safety and insurance reasons. Customers are welcome at 1pm for the Friday Preview (early buyer time).

How do I get dealer information?
While we certainly appreciate the numerous dealers that have consistently set up at the show for years, it is good to have new faces at the show which keeps it growing. We welcome both the full-time and part-time dealer. We also welcome collectors that are looking to downsize their collection. The website has an exhibitor section answering most questions and the contract can be submitted online. Additionally, one can contact Bruce at 217.821.1294. Contracts are accepted up to a year in advance. All contracts must be submitted 30 days prior to the show for acceptance.

Who are the promoters?
Bruce and Donna Weir of B & D Promotions have been promoting the show since 2010. They have over 40 years combined experience in retail and business management. They are active antique dealers specializing in vintage advertising. The Weirs have a store front, Timber Ridge Antiques, in Effingham, IL, sell online at and average doing 15 shows a year across the country from Massachusetts to Oregon. Since their involvement with the Indy Ad Show, the dealer count has risen dramatically by 40% and customer count is following suit with new and returning customers rediscovering a great show. Customers and dealers can find additional information about the show on the website at or by calling Bruce at 217.821.1294.

March 25, 2013

The Indy Ad Show and the Road Map Collectors Association
This year at the Indy Ad Show in September for the first time the unique Road Map Collectors Association will be showing. This group of avid collectors of many types of road maps will have tables full of old original road maps for sale or trade and of course buying from anyone that may have maps. At many of the previous RMCA shows around the country people often ask what types of maps are collected. There is a wide variety that include specific states, oil companies, points of interest, specific routes, birth year, special events or even by publisher. Look for an interesting article on Road Maps in the next issue of Antique Back Roads which comes out in May. To learn more about the Road Map Collectors Association, visit the web site at and they are always interested in new members.

October 15, 2012

Celebrating 40 Years
The Indy Antique Advertising Show celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. In 1972 L-W Promotions (Neal Wood) of Gas City, IN and Ray Klug of Akron, OH launched the very first show on March 25-26th at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Several of our current dealers started in the 70’s with the show and recently Myron Huffman, who set up at the very first Advertising Show, gave me a copy of the two original advertising flyers that were used by. One of the flyers read:
Here for the first time ever, a mountain of Advertising Items for Sale

These words written over 40 years ago are still true today. The name has morphed into The Indy Ad Show, yet the original vision of the Show has remained the same even through changes in ownership. This is a strong indication of how buyers and sellers feel about the integrity and quality of the show.

The items offered at the show in 1972 included soda fountain, country store, drug store, tobacco, tins, brewery, ephemera and early vending machines. These items have just as strong appeal in today’s market as they did 40 years ago. While other types of vintage collectibles have seen their decline in recent years, the vintage advertising continues to be a strong market. It is being collected by a new generation.

It’s interesting that the following advertisement for the show written 40 years ago could still be used today. Here for the first time ever, a mountain of Advertising Items for sale. For those of you who say you "can’t find it," here’s your chance. Don’t miss it. This is the only show of this type in the country. A must for those refurnishing country stores, soda fountains, old saloons and drug stores. A chance for Companies still in business to fill their Museums with their early advertising. A real education for those who have not seen or have seen very little of this type of Antique.

After the show is over, I always hear, "Did you see …" and inevitably I always miss something great. The dealers at the Indy Ad Show always do such a fantastic job of bringing great vintage merchandise and it is impossible to see it all. This September was certainly no exception as both the beginner and advanced collector had lots to choose from.

We are excited to announce that the Road Map Collector’s Association (RMCA) will be joining us during the September 2013 Show. This type of automotive collectible is a great addition to the show. Members of this group will have a specific designated area for their displays so that all customers will have an opportunity to visit RMCA during the show.

Mark your calendars for 2013; March 15-16 and September 27-28 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis. You won’t want to miss it!

February 8, 2012

Indy Ad Show Promoters Announce Show Changes for 2012
The promoters of the Indy Antique Advertising Show have announced changes for 2012. In response to customer surveys, the show will open with a preview on Friday afternoon from 2pm to 6pm. Preview tickets are $50 which includes the preview on Friday and admission on Saturday. After 40 years of no early buying, B & D Promotions is responding to customer surveys that were completed during the March 2011 Show.

"We strongly feel that we need to continue to make strides to keep this show the premier antique advertising show. Since becoming involved as promoters in 2010, the feedback from the customers has been overwhelmingly asking for early buying on Friday." Friday has traditionally been just for the dealers to set up.

On Saturday, the show will open an hour earlier at 9am and will close at 4pm. Admission remains the same at $8 per person with free admission for those under 12 years of age. The show ends on Saturday. "Many of our dealers still have traditional jobs besides their antique business. Closing the show on Saturday allows Sunday for travel and therefore one less day away from work. Since announcing these changes at the September show, we have been approached by several dealers wanting to come back and/or set up for the first time."

It is anticipated that the March show will surpass 2011 which had the largest attendance in 10 years with 30% growth in number of dealers.

For more information on getting tickets go to:

January, 2012

Small Businesses Join Forces
Irene Davis of icollect247 and Donna Weir of B & D Promotions have teamed up to bring you Antique Back Roads. Small businesses’ co-opening on projects makes perfect sense to be able to compete on a larger scale with the big companies. It’s a natural fit for us to work together – while we are both in the antique industry, we do not directly compete against one another. Icollect247 has dealers selling online and B & D Promotions sponsors the Indy Antique Advertising Show.

With the current antique related reality shows on television, there is a resurgence of interest in antiques. By pooling their marketing dollars, both companies will be able to reach a wider population. Now is the time to be riding this wave and become more involved with helping people discover their interests in antiques. The re-use / re-purpose generation is continuing to evolve and antiques is certainly a part of this.

Irene’s passion for helping small business combined with Donna’s passion to build business makes this a natural fit to work together. We feed off either other and have a good working energy together.

One night while sharing libations, we discovered we both wanted to develop a special type of newsletter. We were looking to promote our business, support the antique dealers that work with us and elevate awareness in the antique industry.

Antique Back Roads is to fill a void in the current trade periodicals. It is a collector – to – collector approach rather than being filling with advertising and press releases. It is designed to be a quick read, informative on a wide range of subjects with a bit of humor tucked in. We take our jobs seriously but not ourselves.

Icollect 247 and B & D Promotions are the only sponsors so you won’t see the typical advertising; except a plug now and then for icollect247 and Indy Antique Advertising Show. Antique Back Roads is available online. Go to to sign up to continue receiving a free subscription. Yes you can still get something of value free in America and not be asked for anything in return.

Let us know how you enjoyed this publication – peanuts for the work monkeys is always good.


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