Gettysburg Mementos May Not Gain in Value

Special anniversary labels become big seller in Gettysburg.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images/National Geographic

    For 23 years, Paul Selmer has owned and operated Gettysburg Frame Shop and Gallery.

    He's learned that most visitors who buy souvenirs at the shops downtown aren't looking for something that will mature in value so they can sell it for profit.

    "They want it as a memento of their trip to Gettysburg," Selmer said.

    And that's a good thing, if you ask shop volunteer Linda Marshall.

    "I don't really know if we have anything here that if you buy it, in 50 years it will be worth what the Mona Lisa is worth," Marshall said.

    Well, not the smaller knick-knacks, she clarified.

    The limited-edition paintings, like those by artist John Paul Strain, that capture scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg might appreciate in value.

    But they're not the biggest sellers.

    "Pretty much anything that says '150th,' people like," Selmer noted.

    That was an idea potter Cathleen Lerew picked up on this year.

    She owns and operates Under The Horizon Pottery & Arts Studio in Gettysburg. With that business, she offers pottery classes and art classes, and other hands-on instruction.

    But she decided to use her own art to capitalize on the 150th anniversary.

    "I don't do a lot of production pieces," she said. Then, looking down at a pie plate she detailed with "Gettysburg 150th," said, "You might as well take your piece of the pie."

    Lerew got to talking to someone inside the Gettysburg Frame Shop and Gallery earlier this year. She decided to make a few production pieces to sell from the shop.

    She said she makes her living as a potter, so it's nice to make money off the pieces and "it's nice to be recognized for your work."

    The Adams County Winery boosted production of its commemorative wines to accommodate wine lovers and wine collectors.

    Rob Leonard, business development manager for the winery, explained that the winemaking process was not changed for the commemorative wines. Rather, each of the six varieties of 150th commemorative wines — Chardonnay; Traveller; Tears of Gettysburg; Turning Point; The Engagement; and Rebel Red — have special anniversary labels.

    He said the Adams County Winery is the only winery selling the 150th anniversary commemorative wines.

    Carl Whitehill, media relations manager for the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the Adams County Winery was the only winery to apply to sell the commemorative wines, and they were granted that opportunity.

    Leonard said the 150th labels have been on the shelves for about a year now, and he anticipates they will continue to be big sellers.

    "People do come in to collect the six labels," he said. He noted that 150 bottles of Tears of Gettysburg, the winery's signature variety, were labeled as limited edition and signed by the winemaker. They are available at the store on Chambersburg Street in Gettysburg.

    Although he encouraged people to collect the bottles, Leonard made one strong suggestion. "Enjoy the wine first, then save the bottle," he said.