Items for Sale in early Watchtower Magazines

by Kenneson 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • Kenneson

    In the earliest Zion's Watch Tower (i.e. 1882 and 1883) one might find offered for sale Pastor Russell's writings and "Bible Student's Helper" like the Emphatic Diaglott, Crudens Complete Bible Concordance, Young's Bible Concordance, Oxford Teacher's Bible, Tischendor's New Testament, etc) But one begins to see other items for sale in the pages of Zion's Watch Tower beginning particularly in 1892. Upon his return from the Holy Land, Pastor Russell began to offer for sale in the March 15, 1892 issue "Mementoes of Our Journey to Palestine." The price for these items which he ordered from the Baron Rothschild Industrial School, including 1700 pieces, consisting of paper weights, pen holders, egg cups and napkin rings, can be viewed at the end of that "advertisement." The money raised from this endeavor was to go into the Tract Fund.

    Nov. 15, 1892 ZWT

    "We remark now that we still have some of the Flower Cards brought from Palestine (cards upon which pressed flowers are pasted in neat designs), brought as Mementoes of the Holy Land. These are donated to the Tract Fund and sell as follows:

    Small Cards, 4 for 25 cents.

    Larger ", 2 " 25 cents.

    The Dec. 15, 1892 number indicates that "Cash receipts from "Good Hopes" and other donations, including sale of Olive-wood mementoes $8298.31."

    The Dec. 1, 1893 ZWT reports that some olive-wood paper-weights and flower cards (Mementoes of Jerusalem) are still available.

    July 1, 1897 ZWT


    "We frequently have calls for text cards, for home embellishment, and have heretofore found it difficult to describe them satisfactorily. Now we are arranging for an illustrated catalogue describing thirty-eight different styles and over two hundred mottoes and texts. Prices from 5 cents to 50 cents each. We are not permitted to cut these prices, but we can and will send all orders postage free, and with each dollar's worth of these motto cards we will send them free either one leatherette bound volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN or three copies of "Tabernacle Shadows" (leatherette), or of "Thy Word is Truth" (leatherette), or of "What Say the Scriptures About Hell?"

    "Orders for these catalogues will be filled in rotation as received."

    Motto cards of various types continued to be sold on an annual basis.

    The next hot item offered for sale in ZWT first appears in the Sept. 1, 1906 magazine.


    "For some time the friends have been inquiring for symbolic pins, and now we are able to supply them. One represents the scene of 'Isa. 11:6.' Sister Darlington drew the design for us and is very fine. The other is a representation of the Cross, crown and wreath which appears on the upper left corner of the TOWER cover. These are without metal rims, celluloid finish-beautiful. The latter design is in three sizes, 5/8 in., 7/8 in. and 1-1/4 in.; the former is 1-1/4 in. in diameter. Getting these made in large quantities permits us to supply them at 25 cents per dozen-postpaid. We will assort them three of each unless you specifically mention a difference preference. They are ready now. You may order at once. From their appearance you would expect them to cost each, the price we charge by the dozen."

    Also note that in this issue is offered for sale "WATCH TOWER BINDERS."

    "These are substantially made of stiff cloth boards, and can hold two years' issues of the WATCH TOWER. They prevent soiling and loss. Price, post paid, 50 cents."

    The Dec. 15, 1909 and subsequent ZWTs through the years give the following description of the "Cross and Crown Pins":

    "Gold, beautiful, good and cheap. The cross is red enamel, the wreath in green--$1.35. The same without the green on wreath, $1.25. In silver enameled wreath and cross, 25 cents; size 3/4 inch. Plain gold without enamel, 1/2 inch, $1.15. These are wholesale rates and include postage."

    If anyone has any of these "Cross and Crown Pins," they are worth a mint today. Go to Click on Catalog.

    Under "Miscellaneous" you will find "Cross and Crown Pin Various styles $500.00--800.00." Also for sale here is the "Pax Pin Distributed at Showings of the Photo Drama Movie in 1914" for $300.00.

    Pastor Russell never in his wildest imagination could have foreseen how valuable his pins would become!

    Russell was to once again make a return trip to Palestine and afterward offer "Palestine Remembrance of Olivewood" in ZWT. (Oct 15, 1910).

    "When in Palestine we thought of THE WATCH TOWER readers everywhere and surmised that they might like to have some little remembrance of our visit. Accordingly we placed an order for a sufficient number of olive wood articles to supply an estimated demand. These have only now arrived. The articles are paper-knives, paper-weights and pin-cushions...

    "It would especially please to send these out to the different friends without money and without price, but we cannot afford to do this. We can, however, supply these at a very low price 7 cents each, including postage or expressage."

    ZWT FEB. 15, 1913

    "In the Garden of the Lord"

    "This is the title of a very beautiful little poem from the pen of Sister G.W. Seibert. It has been published in booklet form with sixteen illustrations, twenty-four pages, paper. It was our hope that we should have had these in time for the use of the friends, as holiday souvenirs, but they arrived just too late for announcement. They are useful at all times, however. We suggest that the various Classes of Bible Students desiring these order them together. The convenience of making larger shipments will permit us to make a proportionately lower price--6 cents each, 65cents per dozen, post paid."

    There are other items offered for sale in the pages of ZWT but those above are some of my favorites.

  • kwintestal
    kwintestal Isreali dirt in a jar?


  • drwtsn32

    What about miracle wheat and miracle oil? :)

  • kwintestal

    Wow. Miracle oil was the stuff to buy! Do they still make it?


  • Kenneson


    Thanks for your observation. My research was confined to the Pastor Russell era. I went no further than 1916. So much has been written on Miracle Wheat that I opted not to include it. One of the best resources on that topic can be found at

    It is written by the Bible Students but is a thorough study of all articles in ZWT that make a reference to the topic.

    As to Miracle Oil, that's a new one for me. Thanks for including it. Wonder what else was offered for sale during Rutherford's administration.

  • ozziepost
    have heretofore found it difficult to describe them satisfactorily

    Nothing much changes in the Watchtower!

  • lawrence

    Excellent research, thanks for the post. Amazing to see the site where the pins and other artifacts are sold, didn't realize there was that big a market. Only knew of Randy's site. I can understand a 1st edition volume of Kafka being rare, but a Russell or Rutherford tract? Who are the big collectors? "Paul and Mary, please come into my study, I want to show both of you a complete collection of J.W. Year Books since 1927." "Mike, is that an AUTHENTIC Millenial Dawn series?" Mike with chest thrust out and in a pompus voice answers, "sure is! Look at the spine on Volume 1. Best specimen I've seen."

  • lawrence


    I tried to call the telephone number on the site but got a Spanish recorded request to leave a message. Also, the site hasn't been updated since 1999. I have a Berean Bible Teachers Manual (1909) bound with a WTS KJV (1901) and wanted to trade for a Fender bass, or snow shoes.

  • Kenneson


    I found an address on that site; hope it's still operative. Worth a try, I guess.

    Browsers Bookshop, 243 W. Aliso St., Pamona, California 91768

    Also an e-mail address [email protected]

    P.S. "...fender bass or snow shoes..." Why don't you trade for money?

Share this