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    Auction Finds

    Elvis & Lone Ranger on TV-shaped lapel pins

    I’d seen cereal-box premiums that were the rage during the early years of TV advertising. These were aimed at children, enticing and coaxing them to get their mothers to buy cereal so the kid could get a prize inside or send off box tops for prizes.

    The small metal pieces on a tray in the glass case at this auction house were different. When I first saw them, I wasn’t sure what they were. And after holding them and turning them front to back, I still wasn’t sure. Neither was the auction-house staffer.

    TV-shaped lapel pins

    A sampling of the TV-shaped lapel pins sold at auction.

    There were nine of them, all in the shape of a screen and dial on a teeny tiny TV set. Each bore laminated images of several stars that I recognized: Elvis as an MGM movie star and singer, “The Lone Ranger” with Clayton Moore, “The Honeymooners” with Jackie Gleason and Audrey Meadows, Roy Rogers and Trigger, “I Dream of Jeannie” with Barbara Eden and Richard Boone as Paladin in “Have Gun Will Travel.”

    These were all TV shows (and characters) from the 1950s and 1960s.

    They were lapel pins with clutch-back fasteners, so I assumed they were cereal-box premiums, but I could be wrong. Maybe they were for adolescents and adults, since clutch backs weren’t likely made for the younger ones.

    TV-shaped lapel pins

    All nine of the TV-shaped lapel pins – in color, black and white, and sepia.

    Googling, I could find nothing about the TV-shaped pins, except for retail sales of several others (Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob Smith, “Get Smart,” the Three Stooges and cover art for KISS’ 1976 “Rock and Roll Over” album). Since pins were made featuring KISS, perhaps these were not cereal-box premiums but were actually made for retail sale to anyone.

    There were no markings on the pins, either, so that made them even tougher to find.

    Do you recognize these pins?

    TV-shaped lapel pins

    The back of the TV-shaped lapel pin, along with the clutch-back fastener.

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