Collecting Vintage Souvenir Tablecloths


Souvenir tablecloths
Most of us have cherished memories of family vacations, traveling through the United states by car, stopping at quirky tourist attractions. Today, vintage souvenir linens are very collectible, increasing in value every year as more and more collectors are drawn to the charm of these pieces of our past. Not only are they collectibles you can use, but they also convey a real sense of nostalgia of days gone by. They are a gentle reminders of the United States of our childhood- quaint roadside attractions, and rural small towns that today are rapidly disappearing. Collectors are attracted to the pleasing combination of strong graphics, bright colors and the dizzying array of designs and textures. Many different styles of state and city souvenirs were produced so there are literally hundreds of possibilities to collect. All states at one time sold souvenir tablecloths and tea towels. Although some examples are harder to find than others.



Although State Souvenir tablecloths were produced as early as the 1920s, they rapidly increased in popularity and by the late 1940s the combination of consumer demand and new car production reinvigorated American car culture and more people traveled by car on vacation. Americans were eager to take to the road to discover America, buying souvenir linens from the states they visited. It is easy to find examples of these souvenir linens with their original tags still attached, since they were put away in the linen drawer soon after the family returned from vacation.


By the late 1950’s you could even find a tablecloth featuring the “western states” and one picturing the entire United States on one cloth. The earlier 1920s state tablecloths were smaller, usually 34″ or 38″, and not as detailed as the later ones. Usually just one color and stamped with a simple design. By the late 1940s, state tablecloths were produced in a larger sizes of 52″ and 64″, with coordinating napkins for use at the family kitchen table. They also were printed with bold, multi-colored designs. State Souvenir tablecloths are an example of a “cross collectible”. Both the vintage printed tablecloth collector and the souvenir collector share a love of these pieces of American memorabilia.

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The most highly sought after state tablecloths are those that were not as popular as tourist destinations. Souvenir linens from the states of Georgia, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee are harder to find and can be valued as high as $575.00. California, Florida, New York, Alaska, Nevada, Hawaii, and Wyoming, as well as the states that route 66 cut through were the most popular destinations. These souvenir state tablecloths are easier for the collector to acquire. Occasionally, you will find a Startex, Hardy Craft or Simtex label on these tablecloths, demonstrating their immense popularity, as the large tablecloth manufacturers responded to the market demand for souvenir linens.


1Souvenir tablecloths and towels were also produced and showcase a specific popular tourist destination or city. You can find tablecloths featuring “Lake Michigan,” “Yellowstone Park” as well as “Washington D.C” and “Los Angeles,” just to name a few. These are a little harder to come by and are a delightful addition to state souvenir tablecloth collections.
We can use the records of the popularity of tourist attractions to generally determine dates for the linens. Trying to date the souvenir linen by the graphics is difficult, as designers used older model cars and graphics of people for 25 years or more. As the tourist industry in each state changed, so did the souvenir linens design

. Dude ranches, auto camps and small tourist venues came and went as the tourist landscape changed in each state. This is a great way to date your vintage souvenir linen. The tourist attractions were updated regularly so a quick check on the history of a specific tourist destination is a more accurate tool to date your souvenir.

13 Responses

  1. I am looking for a “State of Georgia” vintage tablecloth.

  2. Would you know if there is such a thing as a 1931 Yellowstone National Park handkerchief or bandanna? I have one, but I don’t know if it is actually from the year 1931 or maybe a remake. There is nothing on it that says anniversary. I could send photo’s if you would like. I appreciate if you can help or direct me to someone who can. Sincerely, Kathryn Botard

  3. love vintage tablecloths…I have quite a few.

  4. I recently purchased a souvenir tablecloth (Australia) at a Goodwill. I own another (Florida) that I bought from a tablecloth dealer at an antique fair. Do you know of any one who might be interested in purchasing either table cloth?

    Thanks.

  5. I want to thank you for another fantastic post. I am always on the look-out for fantastic WordPress theme to suggest to my own readers. Thank you for taking the time to write this post. It’s just what I was trying to find.

  6. family vacations in a nice tropical country would be very very nice `-.

  7. i recently found a Vintage Virginia Tablecloth in my Grandmother’s attic that was never used and has really vibrant color. How do I know how much to sell it for?

  8. I found a “Cuba” tablecloth, really good condition, no stains or tears in an old store in Charleston, SC. Wondering if anyone would know what it’s worth? It’s Cuba the country. thanks in advance, Sharon

  9. I am looking for tablecloths from North Carolina, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.

    Thanks

  10. It’s from the late 1950’s and if its in good condition about $75. – $125

  11. I’ve seen a 1960’s Pennslyvania one but the “Carolina’s” are harder find.. šŸ™‚

  12. It depends on the size – 30″ seemed to be the average size of souvenir cloths – if it’s in good condition and the smaller size I’d say around $95 – if it’s larger – then more like $175

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