Welcome to October 2020!
At the moment, I plan on having several posts throughout the month that will be fitting for the Halloween season. Some knickknacks, some movies, maybe (maybe) even an appropriate video game – provided there’s one I feel like playing and getting fired up enough to exhaustively write about.
Of course, those are my plans now. Naturally I don’t know if real life is going to intervene and heartlessly bellow at me “y’all ain’t postin’ on no stupid blog today!” But for the time being, my *intentions* are good…
Anyway, let’s kick things off with a cool little promotional item I picked up on eBay recently. It’s not from a location local to me, but as a collector of restaurant/food memorabilia, as well as someone who is pretty much always a sucker for old “monster-related stuff,” it’s directly up my alley. Especially since it combines those two elements, which is something capable of turning me into a veritable babbling maniac. (I’ll try not to be here. Not too much, at least.)
Dig this: from Lewisburg, PA, it’s an old promotional wooden nickel for an establishment named Art’s Frank-N-Stein Pizza & Subs. I officially deem it “neato.”
I don’t know how long they were around or from what year(s) this nickel hails, and I haven’t really found much corroborating evidence via online searches (more on all that in a bit), but I’m reasonably confident in stating “it old.”
Well, there’s no area code in the phone number or web address printed here, so at least there’s that. And while there’s no caricature of the Frankenstein monster anywhere on this nickel either, it’s reasonable to assume they had one of some sort in their advertising. I mean, how could they not have?
The idea of using the “Frank-N-Stein” name for restaurants, advertising, beer glasses, etc. is actually a pretty common one. As far as restaurants go, I’m unclear if “Frank-N-Stein” was every actually a chain or just a popular naming convention, but either way, there have been multiple Frank-N-Steins in multiple places over the years. Obviously, it’s a moniker that lends itself particularly well to establishments that specialize in hot dogs (frank) and (n) beer (stein). GET IT???
The omission of that particular aspect from this particular nickel is, believe it or not, something that added, erm, additional endearment to me when I stumbled upon it on eBay. Like I said, I collect old restaurant stuff in general, but I have a particular affinity for pizza places (and burgers/drive-ins and steakhouses, while we’re at it). I focus mostly on local-to-me memorabilia, but joints from all over are fair game, provided they sufficiently pique my interest- which is obviously the case here.
In short, I really like the fact that this wooden nickel specifically advertises pizza, as opposed to hot dogs.
Though, with that name, it’s probably a safe guess that they sold hot dogs and beer at Art’s Frank-N-Stein, too. But then again, maybe not; it’s not like I have any real idea here. At any rate, there’s no doubt it’s a cool name nevertheless.
Wooden nickels weren’t always just promotional pieces; some had a coupon-like aspect that, ostensibly, kept the customer coming back for more. Judging from the back of the coin we’re looking at today, this Art’s piece was one such example.
As you can see, this nickel advertises the offer of collecting 15 total to net yourself a free pizza. Of course, the combined profits from the orders that would get you those 15 wooden nickels in the first place probably more than made up for the eventual free pizza, as you would expect, but it’s a nice gimmick, and hey, if you were gonna eat there anyway…
So how much did this old promo piece set me back?
For something I was immediately enamored by at first sight, I actually didn’t buy it right away. The seller had it listed at $29.99 with free shipping, and while it may very well be worth that, that was a bit more than I was willing to pay. So, I sat on it, though truth be told, I did seriously consider taking advantage of the “make an offer” option and trying for $20.
However, for once my procrastination paid off; unbeknownst to me beforehand, eBay was honoring their long, long time members (of which I’m one) for their 25th anniversary with $25 coupons. You had to buy something for at least $25.01 to take advantage, and while I don’t know how many they wound up sending out or to who, I imagine they could afford it. (My guess? You probably had to have been fairly active over that period of time, which I have been, to warrant such a generous gift. Or maybe not; what do I know?)
Needless to say, upon arrival, that $25 coupon was not long for the world.
After taxes, my total cost for the Art’s Frank-N-Stein wooden nickel? $7.01. That’s certainly a lot better than $30, or even $20. Plus, I would assume eBay reimbursed sellers any differences when buyers used these coupons, and if that was the case, then everyone came out a winner here.
This nickel is a welcome addition to my collection, but I’d still like to know more about the actual Art’s Frank-N-Stein location. When did they start? How long were they around? Was it part of a chain or a standalone? Did they use some kind of Frankenstein caricature in their advertising? Is there info online somewhere that I just didn’t see? Hey, any Lewisburg, PA residents (or former residents), chime in! Please?
While digging around online, I came across this Pennsylvania location with a similar name that closed just last year, but I don’t think there was any relation between the two. Or was there?
The most helpful bit of info I found was this fantastic Universal Monster Army forum thread that not only features a pic of another one of these specific wooden nickels, but also pics of memorabilia from other Frank-N-Stein-named places. A plethora of it, in fact; there are some things seen there that, should I come across them during my travels, why, you just may hear me flipping out from wherever you happen to be.
And with that, the Halloween season has officially begun here at the blog! Stay tuned, there’s more to come! (Well, I hope there’s more to come; just stayed tuned anyway, okay?)