Hamm's Beer memorabilia

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2015-06-26 11:01:43

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Hamm's Beer memorabilia comprises the promotional signs, steins and breweriana commissioned by Hamm's Beer. These products often feature Hamm's mascot bear character, Sascha.

Background

Theodore Hamm took over the Excelsior Brewery in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1865. Hamm's beer memorabilia, although no longer directly related to Theodore Hamm, continues to bear his name.

Hamm's beer memorabilia comprises an array of scenorama signs (also known as Scene-o-Rama and scenarama), beer steins, clocks, advertisements, ash trays, salt and pepper shakers, glasses, 'bear' decanters and crockery.

Sascha the bear was Hamm's official mascot and features on a great deal of Hamm's Beer memorabilia. Sascha was dropped by Hamm's current owner, Miller Brewing, among accusations that the cuddly bear character was a way of marketing alcohol products to children.

Signs and scenoramas

The most coveted items among collectors are Hamm's Beer neon signs and scenoramas from the 1950s and 1960s.

Hamm's scenoramas come in two sizes: small (approximately 3 feet wide) and large (approximately 5 feet wide) and are known for their rotating mechanisms, though some are non-moving. Every hutch-like scenorama has a dark brown "roof" which has been decorated to resemble shingles, and which sits above the scene. These (often scrolling) advertisements also feature clocks.

Scenorama images commonly feature pastoral lake-side scenes, smouldering camp fires, canoes, and flowing waterfalls.

"Ripplers" were produced in 1956 and 1965. The 1956 version of this sign is colloquially called the "TV Box Rippler" as the scenic image is housed inside a frame that resembles a 1950s television set.

A sunrise/sunset scenorama features a view of a large lake from a wood-framed porch. The area of sky above the lake appears to change from day to night. (Versions of this sign include one with a quartet of goblets positioned above the Hamm's logo and another with a small clock in the same spot.)

Signs depicting "Hamm's Beer" in a round, white logo panel are significantly rarer than signs featuring "Hamm's Beer" in the typical square logo form.

Beer steins and breweriana

Commemorative and celebratory beer steins were often released by Hamm's: a formal centenary stein was offered for sale in 1965, for example, and lidded steins featuring Sascha the bear were created for Octoberfest and Saint Patrick's Day.

A Brazillian company called Ceramarte made many of these ceramic steins, as well as salt and pepper shakers and ceramic ashtrays. More ornate are the lidded, high relief steins from the 1980s, made in Germany by Gerz.

Price Guide:

  • A Hamm's Beer neon sign was sold for $5,750 by R M auctions in Indiana, Jun 2006.
  • A Hamm's double roller sign was sold for $850 by Shultz Auctioneers in Minnesota, February 2007.
  • A Hamm's merchandising calendar was sold for $800 by Shultz Auctioneers in Minnesota, February 2007
  • A Hamm's Beer light up, motion sign was sold for $500 by Victorian Casino Antiques in Las Vegas, October 2012.
  • A pair of Sascha salt and pepper shakers with matching ceramic teepee was sold for $50 by Woody Auction, September 2010.
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