Dealers and collectors are heading west for outstanding postcard, paper and more

While the rest of the country is mired with blinding snow storms, whipping winds and sleet and ice, a trip out west may be just what the doctor ordered. And for postcard and paper collectors alike, there are quite a few shows sprinkled along the West Coast for collectors in the coming weeks and months.

The past several weeks have been busy for Ralph Bowman of the Paper Gallery. That’s because he’s been putting on several postcard and paper shows throughout the West Coast. In December, he was at the Greater San Diego Postcard, Stamp and Paper Show for a two-day event. Just this past weekend the Greater Phoenix Postcard & Paper show –another two-day event took place; and coming up this coming weekend will be the Greater California Postcard, Movie & Paper Show on January 26 and January 27.

In a recent telephone conversation, where it was 75 degrees at Ralph’s end, he spoke of the shows. “The San Diego show was just a one-time and done as we can’t get the location again,” he said. “The Phoenix show is one of the bigger shows with 40 dealers from almost every state and two from Europe.” Ralph said the Phoenix show is always well-attended due to many factors. “People who come to Arizona to get away from the cold are visiting,” he said, also noting that a large flea market that’s nearby draws people to the area. “The Phoenix and Buena Park shows are offered once a year and draws a great deal of collectors.”

“(At the Phoenix show) we will have 350 to 400 people come through the doors,” he said. Anyone who shows an out-of-state driver’s license enjoys free admission. “It’s definitely different than most shows – at the last show, we had people from 22 different states and three foreign countries,” Ralph said. “There’s always a variety of people and collectors.”

And as for what’s available for sale at the show, the variety is there as well, he said. “Everything in postcards as well as photography, ephemera and travel posters is available.”

But the upcoming show in Buena Park will have all that and more, Ralph said. “The Buena Park show is a higher end poster and paper show with movie memorabilia. There won’t be any dollar postcards or 25-cent postcards at this show.”

He is expecting buyers of movie memorabilia to come from far and wide including Atlanta and Dallas, he said.

Three leading dealers who exclusively sell movie posters will be at the show and will be offering posters ranging from the low hundreds of dollars to more than $1,000, he said. In addition, there will be military and advertising paper and higher-end postcards at the Buena Park show, Ralph said.

There will also be photography dealers, which includes some famous names selling photos as well as daguerreotypes and other collectible, vintage photography items. “Their items can also range from the hundreds of dollars up to thousands,” Ralph said. “We have a first-timer photographer coming to the Buena Park show who will be bringing some very interesting items.”

“The photography is a hot collectible right now,” he said. “It’s a whole other world, and imagery is everything.”

Ralph’s business, The Paper Gallery, specializes in “better postcards” and movie memorabilia as well as movie props, film costumes and awards. For more information about The Greater California Postcard, Movie & Paper show, visit the web site, The Greater California Postcard, Movie & Paper show is January 26 and January 27 at the UFCW Union Auditorium at 8550 Stanton Avenue in Buena Park, California. The hours are Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. E-mail for information is with Ralph Bowman at or telephone at (619) 508-3299.

And there’s gold in “them thar’ hills” at the Gold Rush Paper Show in El Dorado Hills, California, which also takes place on January 26 and January 27 at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel located at HWY 50, Exit 30A Latrobe Road, 4360 Town Center Blvd. (Enter at Post Street), in El Dorado Hills, Calif. Mark Baker has more information about this show at

The original Van Nuys Sunday Stamp show is Feb. 4 and will be held at the Masonic Hall, 14750 Sherman Way in Van Nuys, Calif. Stephen Pattillo has more information about this show at or (888) 995-0548.

Looking ahead to February, the Greater Seattle Postcard and Paper show takes place February 17 and February 18 at Kent Commons, 525 4th Avenue North in Kent, Washington. Hours for the show are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission of $5 is good for both days. This is the West Coast’s premiere show series featuring postcards, trade magazines, CDVs; Collector Cards, Valentines, Posters, Magazines, Movie Memorabilia, Sheet music, Scrap, Covers, Art, Aviation/Train/Auto Paraphernalia, Photos, Supplies, Stereographs, Autographs & Much More! Northwest Productions. For further show info or FREE appraisals, contact: Jeremy LeRoque: (626) 665-9435. Web site: Email: