Pat Jacobsen's

440 Pages
800 Illustrations

5,400 Current Prices
88,000 Words of Text (+plus, the lists)!
Over 20 Years in the making

ISBN # 0-9640703-2-4
Library of Congress Card No. # 99-096066

Copyright 2000 Thomas P. "Pat" Jacobsen

Crate Expectations Publishing

Post Office Box 791
Weimar, CA, USA, 95736-0791
Phone/Fax: 530/637-5923


PRICE: $59.95
(Ordering information bottom of page)

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Fruit and vegetable crate labeling began on the Pacific Coast in the mid-1880s and has flourished for over one-hundred-thirty years -- an art-form whose preservation was never intended! Labels pasted onto wooden crates, were specifically designed to identify and "sell" the product, and then be discarded with the empty crate. Thus, the fact that so many original labels still exist and are collected today is truly miraculous!

This Millennium Guide is the most definitive work available on the subject of Crate Label Art and has taken more than twenty- years to compile. It provides historical facts about labels and their use. It introduces you to the lithograph companies who printed label art, and to the agriculture-industry who used them. It also discusses myriad aspects of collecting including: the collecting craze; supplies and demand; reproductions and forgeries; pricing; strategies for label investment; preservation & mounting; the future of collecting, auctions, exhibitions, organized clubs; labels on the Internet and World Wide Web, and much, much more.

It also contains a current Price Guide for over five-thousand authentic labels available to collectors, decorators, artists and historians from a host of dealers online and off. There is an extensive index of information on the lithographers who created label art. Plus, detailed descriptions of: What labels are, Who made them, Who used them, When they were used, and what are they worth today, has been included. The hobby's most complete and authoritative information source, all at your fingertips, conveniently arranged!

It's no secret anymore that labels of all kinds are being sought for their beauty, topical diversity, ephemeral value and now monetary values, by an ever-increasing number of people. Labels as a decorator item and collector's item have been flourishing for thirty years since the late sixties. But today, an ever- growing awareness of their unique cultural significance is blossoming, too. Fruit and vegetable crate-label collecting has become a swiftly growing hobby not only along the Pacific Coast, but, in Texas, Florida and throughout much of America. Labels are being actively collected in Australia, Canada, Argentina, Holland, France, South Africa, Mexico, and Spain. Each of these countries created and used labels of their own over the last century and many people eagerly collect them today for their beauty and historical importance. Many label books and exhibits have been created.

And, what is most amazing about all this, is that labels were never meant to be saved, which is why it is so incredible and delightful that so many still exist today. New finds seem to be turning up all the time around the country. A thousand collections are now vigorously being formed around the globe and tens of thousands of people have been decorating with them for more than a quarter-century. Many fine museums already have a well developed collection, or are actively building one. Some institutions have spent considerable sums of money sponsoring major exhibits of label art and lithographic history. Since the early 1970s, publishers in the U.S. and Europe, have created dozens of "coffee-table" books featuring labels, and books about regional agriculture around the world, featuring labels. Even more books about labels are presently in the planning and production stages in California, and a book is coming out on Australian and Tasmanian apple and pear labels by a Tasmanian label collector, which has been ten years in the making. There are also ongoing projects toward an educational documentary for national public-television, now that the half-hour pilot has proven a success. I am now regularly seeing photographs of labels framed in kitchens on the pages of Better Homes & Gardens type magazines, and Architectural Digest -- Sunset Magazine. They are even in the movies and on t.v. as props in kitchens on the sets of several television shows and home shows. I have contributed label art to a half-dozen t.v. documentaries so far, in Nova Scotia, Washington, San Francisco and Hollywood, and a new production for the Discovery Channel.

Every day new labels are found and every day new collectors join the ranks. Evidence shows that people have been collecting and saving American labels since before the turn of the century -- almost since the mid-1880s when labels first started being used. Collectors interested in the hobby today, come from many livelihoods: from fruit growers to doctors, musicians to Lt. Colonels, stamp-store owners to airline pilots. There are publishers, secretaries, lawyers, museum curators, police officers, archivists, chemical salesmen, Hollywood producers and prop departments seeking labels. Artists and antique store owners, farmers, commercial fishermen, chefs, advertising executives, truckers, dentists, interior decorators, fire fighters, restaurateurs, optometrists, teachers, gold miners, homemakers, and even millionaires are now actively building collections. Today, there are over one-thousand collectors and dealers actively trading in labels -- a number that does not include many "casual" label buyers at the retail level.

Decorating with labels has also skyrocketed in the past three years, (mostly due to the Internet and ebay) and hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on framing labels for decorating. Today, anyone can easily build a collection of hundreds of labels, or cover a wall with colorful art without spending more than a few dollars each. This is because so many beautiful, original labels were found in large numbers in recent years. Occasionally, the supplies are so great, that one could literally "wallpaper" an average home in labels, and only spend a few hundred dollars supplying the art.

It is a fact that in the past 30 years, fruit and vegetable labels have become a multi-million dollar hobby. Literally millions of dollars have been spent by collectors and dealers to purchase labels from others during the past twenty-five years. In the single fiscal year of 1992, it was calculated that about $250 thousand to $300 thousand dollars changed hands for label sales hobby-wide. But, it is much more today!

In the past twenty years there have been sales of individual collections and/or bulk-stocks of labels worth significant dollar values: Such as, $250,000.00 for an early citrus collection and stock, $150,000. for another, $51,000. for a Washington state apple collection, $40,000. for a different Washington collection, $35,000 for a single sample book of citrus labels and $10K for another, $32k for an old California citrus label collection, $23k for a different citrus collection, $42K for a Florida citrus collection, and, several other $10K sales for this and that small collection, and more than $50K for the stock and goodwill of one veteran dealer. So, just these sales alone total $700,000.00. On top of this, there have been at least twenty dealers of labels operating along the Pacific Coast, circulating mail-order lists, and making a fair income per year for the past twenty-five years. Plus, hundreds of thousands more dollars have been spent and generated publishing the thirty or so books on the subject. Then there are new items bearing label images, like refrigerator magnets, t-shirts and textile products of many kinds, tin trash- cans, food tins, postcards, stickers, calendars, and so on. Let's not forget, too, all the antique dealers nationwide who now deal in labels, and dozens of regional collector-dealers who are small-time sellers of labels. There is even one person trying to sell labels on QVC -- The Shopping Network. On the Internet, there are nearly 50 label "dealers" or sites online selling labels at the time of this book's printing.

Because of this steadily increasing popularity of labels of all kinds, devoted collectors everywhere, have seen many dramatic increases in many prices. This is especially true of "rare" labels at the retail level, at swap-meets, and in trades. Simultaneously, labels in the "common" to "uncommon" range still vary from only $5.00 to about $25.00 and have become much more widely available, through an increasing number of dealers. Rare labels are increasing in price faster than ever, from $25.00 to $100.00 and up. The current "crowned jewel" of citrus labels is still, "UNCLE SAM" Brand (also called, "I Grow These Myself in California,"), which typifies the exception and not the rule, would sell today for $2,500.! Paying $450 to $700 is not that uncommon anymore for the top-of-the-line rarities. In 1994, the next highest price ever paid was around $1,000.00 for a "KLONDIKE" Brand, and $500.00 for Earl Fruit Company's early "YOSEMITE" Brand. Today those would go for $3,500. and $1,750 respectively. In the modern label market, for these "rarest" labels, prices are rapidly climbing. Some early citrus labels, Washington apples, and Florida citrus labels are now floating around the $400. to $800. mark. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that labels will fetch many thousands of dollars each at auction in the next twenty years, and not on eBay, but at Christie's or Sotheby's, or, in one or another of the great auction halls.

Meanwhile, many cheap (I should say inexpensive) or "common" labels continue to slowly dry-up in quantities and proportionally increase in value -- ones we dealer/collectors have taken for granted for twenty years are now disappearing. Although, because more people are dealing labels and hunting around for them, more are being found all the time, and in many parts of America, not just the Pacific states. So, there is a rate-of-attrition in labels and collectors happening all the time as the hobby evolves.

Nowadays, "uncommon" to "rare" labels are beginning to go through the roof, just like a dozen other American collectible printed art -- prints, cigar labels, seed packets, trade cards, maps and cartography, just about any form of early, ephemeral, stone litho color advertising of almost any kind. And, with the turning of the twenty-first century, anything from the 1900s will be from the "last century" and, therefore, worth more intrinsically.

That is why this book has been created. It is an updated, revised, new and improved version of my two previous volumes from 1994. It contains nearly all the same historical and biographical information as my first two books (for all my new readers), and has tons of new information and price updates (for veteran collectors). The biggest additions are the new price guide and the new Internet area. By merging the two previous volumes and adding new information, eliminating the redundant information, and combining every important point from both books, this is now a single, more manageable book.

In the Price Guide section of this book, I will include the prices of "most of the available labels on the retail market," also known as "the body of collectible material." Plus, I will go deeper, and include a large number of rarer labels for reference. The other thing I am doing is adding many more kinds of labels, like vegetables, grapes, melons and other whole classes of labels which were not in my earlier books. I have tried to hang on to the best parts of both other books, and include many new facets -- including a section on the Internet, World Wide Web, eBay, web sites devoted to labels, home computing and the changes and effects that are happening now and in the near future. It also answers the letters, emails and suggestions of many folks who have contacted me since my first books in 1994.

For those of you who are online and computer-savvy, this new volume has also been designed to work in conjunction with my Website "Fruit Crate Labels (dot)Com" ( The website not only covers information in this book, but also offers thousands of labels for sale, a huge gallery of images, links to other sites, and many other services and items of interest -- all kept current by yours truly.

It has taken over twenty-years for the labels to surface and the facts to be gathered, recorded and published in this book. Seeking and coordinating such an amount of data and experience has been a monumental task, requiring great investments of time, money, travel, meetings with collectors, research and patience. The result, I hope, is the most comprehensive and complete information source on the subject of labels and label collecting ever written, designed to tell you what labels are, where they come from, why they are so interesting, and how much they are each worth today.

During the first twenty years I collected, I saw a small community of regional collectors, trading amongst themselves only, and having an occasional show. Today, many of the "old' timers," with the greatest collections, and the most hours in hunting labels around the countryside, have sold out, passed on, lost their labels in a fire, lost interest, had them stolen(!), became disenchanted with the "money factor" and stashed their collections for another day. Now in the second twenty years, I see the Internet and ebay have opened up entirely new avenues of marketing to interested folks, and not just regionally, but globally. It has also opened up a way for people who already have labels, to find dealers and sources of new information. That's why dozens of newcomers who didn't know much about labels before, but saw the Internet's potential to make them money, have now gone out and purchased the stocks and even whole businesses of other dealers and are on-line with a passion. It's a new game.

As we turn the corner on the Twenty-first Century, we leave behind 175 years of American lithographic history, hundreds-of- thousands of designs, and countless billions of printed labels, we find there are still a few remaining millions of original labels still existing -- ones that never got used.

From 1798 to 1928, most commercial design and printing was done from stone. From 1928 to 1998 from multi-roller high-speed presses. Today it is done on a computer screen (and the latter mentioned presses). We are ushering-in the future evolution in this hobby with three gigantically powerful tools, the Internet, the World Wide Web and eBay, the largest global marketplace the world has ever known. Global information of every kind, is now instantly available to anyone, anywhere, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, all free. And this book, and it's symbiotic website have both been created to help you experience and appreciate the beautiful art-form that is "Fruit Crate Labels" in these modern terms. Hopefully it/they will answer all your questions, and help you enjoy and appreciate this wonderful art-form.

Thanks for buying this book! T.P. "Pat" Jacobsen -Agrilitholigist-


Send check or money order payable to T.P Jacobsen

Millennium Guide $59.95 each
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And, send it to:

Crate Expectations Publishing
Post Office Box 791
Weimar, CA, USA, 95736-0791

Phone/Fax: 530/637-5923

Please allow two weeks for delivery, U.S.P.S. Book Rate Delivery.

(Page last updated: 1.06) I will be publishing new books in 2006. Email me to get on the list for release information!!