Treasures for Decorators; Warehouse finds and NOS
Collectors are very acquainted with the terms New Old Stock (NOS) and Warehouse finds, but much of the standard public is not.
As the name implies, this is in essence old stock discovered in a warehouse that is in new or mint condition. These finds are treasures not only for collectors but also for interior designers; a great example is antique fruit crate labels.
Many of the antique fruit crate labels that are obtainable come from warehouse finds; this is why the condition and colors are so vibrant. Often warehouse finds are items that were printed fifty to over 100 years ago. Having never seen the light of day since being printed they are in pristine condition and are often found in large amounts, making them incredibly cost-effective.
One of the best areas for warehouse finds is vintage antique crate labels. Packing houses once had labeling rooms where they would store labels. Often they used a range of brands. The bigger packing houses would pack 100,000’s of crates a year. Over the decades they would update their labels or change brands. Their older stock would just get buried in the label room.
Since they did cost money to print and there was always the possibility that they may be used in the future, these labels just sat at the warehouse. When the fruit industry moved from wood crates to corrugated cardboard boxes there was no longer a need for the labels since the cartons were preprinted. During the 1960’s folks started gathering up the old orange crate labels, apple crate labels, pear crate labels and so on, from the packing houses. This is the base not only for the fruit crate label hobby, but also the source of these antique crate labels for decorators.
For interior designers, these warehouse finds are a gold mine . The ability to buy 70 to 100 year old color prints for as little as five dollars opens the door for a wide variety of decorating options. At these low prices, pasting original fruit crate labels on plaques is a viable and inexpensive way which adds color to a wall. It also cuts down on the overall cost when having custom framing done.
When you factor in the history of fruit crate labels, which represent American agriculture throughout the county, they become an instant conversation piece. Fruit crate labels bring back recollections of an earlier, simpler time.
Vintage fruit crate labels were printed using early 20th century methods, making them so much more vibrant than a color copy. Color copies, or art prints, are often the same price or higher than the original fruit crate label. Be sure to look before investing in color copies to see if you can find the original fruit crate label.
When you do come across the terms “NOS” or “Warehouse find”; or for that matter “vintage”, “antique”, or “original” ; take the time to recognize these are the real thing, not a color copy from a machine. These fruit crate labels were printed before many of us were born, and have survived all this time. By recognizing all this, it adds special meaning to original fruit crate labels, which also ads special meaning to your decorating style.