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Raising the Bar...on eBay

Updated on March 8, 2013
1953 US Brewers Foundation Print Ad (Art by John Falter)
1953 US Brewers Foundation Print Ad (Art by John Falter) | Source
1940 James E. Pepper Whiskey Print Ad (Artist Unknown)
1940 James E. Pepper Whiskey Print Ad (Artist Unknown) | Source
1946 Hiram Walker's Blended Whiskey Print Ad (Art by Howard Baer)
1946 Hiram Walker's Blended Whiskey Print Ad (Art by Howard Baer) | Source
2010 Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky Print Ad
2010 Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky Print Ad | Source
1968 Bacardi Rum Print Ad
1968 Bacardi Rum Print Ad | Source
1957 Gilbey's Vodka Print Ad
1957 Gilbey's Vodka Print Ad | Source
2007 Stella Artois Beer Print Ad
2007 Stella Artois Beer Print Ad | Source
2010 Riedel Wine Glass Print Ad
2010 Riedel Wine Glass Print Ad | Source

I earnestly hope that Prohibition never comes back.

Not that I drink, mind you, because I don't...by choice. Don't get me wrong. I used to enjoy the wide spectrum of social graces that alcohol afforded me, or I afforded it (there were times when the fine line grew fuzzy).

But age and the increasingly challenging pursuit of whatever good health happens to mean at any given time; the huge responsibilities of raising and providing for a family; factors involving my constant wrestling with issues of faith and, sadly, faithlessness, brought me to a soul-searching point in my life.

Actually, the decision was quite simple. I wanted to walk away from the rat race and work for myself. I thus needed to have the sharpest of mental, emotional, and spiritual faculties. I say what I am about to say with the greatest respect, tolerance, and political correctness: I am totally okay with other people partaking of alcohol. As for me, if I am to be the best husband, father, son, sibling, relative, friend, and citizen of our global village, I choose not to indulge in a substance that dulls my mind...correction...whatever mind I have left.

No, I hope our ever-increasing foray into socialism doesn't trigger the initial well-intending yet resulting loss of civil liberties that Prohibition brought about. But my hope is grounded more in the way I make my living.

For if history repeats itself and the Feds clone another Special Agent Elliott Ness, these beautiful ads promoting alcohol will also be prohibited.

A good portion of my ad sales have come from the commodities that carry a sin tax. The reason for this is quite simple, actually. People in general love to be surrounded by things that evoke great memories. For better or worse (more of the former, I pray), that's how this phenomenon works. And as long as people choose to have those memories by purchasing collectible ephemera in the form of vintage (or even contemporary) print ads, my work is secure.

Does that make me a hypocrite? I honestly don't think so. I'm selling memories...nostalgia...the good old days. What I'm not selling is a Pied Piper's tune encouraging people to drink. At the end of the day, I sleep quite well, thank you.

eBay has a simplistic system of checks and balances in place, more to hold its sellers accountable, in my opinion, than its buyers. Being on both sides of the equation, but definitely more involved on the sales side, I respect the system yet am very aware of its shortcomings. That said, I'm very thankful that I'm blessed with a good feedback score. It does what it's supposed to do--bring buyers my way with a higher level of confidence that I won't defraud them. In turn, I do what I'm supposed to do--continue being responsible in my entrepreneurial duties.

In eBay transactions involving collectible ads that market(ed) alcoholic beverages, and doing so in a manner that promotes and encourages responsible behavior, my customers and I are maintaining and reinforcing the same norms and mores one would find in a warm and socially secure pub, tavern, alehouse, bar, or whatever one's community refers to as its friendly neighborhood waterhole.

Just as a successful bartender doubles as the local layman shrink--you know, the guy whose empathetic shoulders are broad enough to lighten an individual's burden--it's my job and my privilege to broker these marriages, if you will, of customers and nostalgic icons.

And it's my joy! always! to share these entrepreneurial and socially acceptable tidbits with my fellow hubbers.

You might say, that's my way of getting drunk these days.

My Favorite Media, Bar None

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Benjamin!

    Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my hub.

    I'm still amazed (and very grateful) that people find these vintage print ads compelling and are willing to pay reasonably good money for them. So much of this is simple piecemeal work, but I do enjoy gleaning valuable historical, social, cultural, and entrepreneurial benefits from the experience.

    Thank you again for your visit and your gracious comments.

    Aloha!

    ~Joe

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    Benjamin Chege 3 years ago

    Hi hawaiianodysseus, nice and informative hub. Voted up, useful, and beautiful. I have learned a lot from your work. Nice to know the ways in which such ads can help pay the bills. Nice read