Statement of Purpose
Welcome to the Citrus Label Gallery! The goal of the Citrus Label Gallery is to present to the viewer every citrus label ever produced. We recognize that this task is an impossible one. Many labels have been lost to history, becoming simply a title brand name on some fruit association list. The task of bringing you every label possible with information about each one will take years to achieve. We are starting with California citrus labels (Orange, Lemon and Grapefruit) and will build from there.
In regard to a definitive number of California label images—an oft asked question by the general public—the only thing we can say for sure is that there are approximately 400 label titles that can be assessed as common. There are enough of the common labels available to fill any demand for them for decades to come. When it comes to the rest of the label titles and images that have surfaced, the availability is much, much less. Individual citrus brand titles may have existed in a number upwards of 8,000 generating a 20,000 label image guesstimate when the smallest of detail differences between them are factored. To illustrate, for the Pet Brand label out of San Dimas in San Bernardino County we have found 16 known variants. For the Sunflower Brand, we have found 37!
There is the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” We will add the word “forgotten” to finish this adage. The purpose in creating this site is that these label images be not forgotten and that interest in viewing and collecting them continues and perhaps reaches new heights. We think they are beautiful to behold and think that you will, too.
Navigating the Gallery
The Citrus Label Gallery can be accessed in a variety of ways. Seven fields have been factored into it. The fields are as follows: By brand name from A—Z, fruit type, packing house/distributor, city, county, state and scarcity rating. If you would like to do a more specific search, for example, viewing all of the labels from a particular county, you can do so one letter section at a time. We have not, however, made fields for some of the more esoteric details. Therefore, fields have not been included for the label lithographers, date of origin, or symbols by the distributor, i.e., the Sunkist and red ball logos. The gallery is designed to be a viewing gallery that will sustain and generate interest in the collecting of labels. Those doing historical research about labels will find great value in the gallery, but it is only a starting point for the serious researcher.
The scarcity ratings provided by the Citrus Label Gallery are the best educated guess of the collectors of the collections that have been gathered together and presented in the gallery. Scarcity, in combination with factors such as age, condition, composition and design usually determine a label’s price. Citrus labels can start as low as a few dollars and reach prices of several thousand dollars.
Labels assigned a “common” rating exist in quantities of at least a few thousand. These labels are highly accessible to the public-at-large and are generally inexpensive.
Labels rated as “uncommon” in the scarcity ratings usually number under a thousand, but in the case of some labels listed in this category, it can be a little more. These labels are accessible to the collector, but the collector must usually be willing to do a little leg work to find them.
Rare labels are exactly that, rare. They probably do not number over a hundred copies. They are hard to find. Taking into account their age, condition, composition and art design, rare labels can be expensive to acquire. Rare labels can also be inexpensive when the condition, composition and art design are of low quality. Such labels might be deemed “undesirable” to the general collector, but highly so for the special interest collector.
Ultra rare labels do not differ greatly in quantity from the rare labels defined by our website. Ultra rare labels number from a single known copy to about a dozen. Needless to say, ultra rare citrus labels can be very expensive to acquire relative to other labels. Pricing for an ultra rare label is subject to the same factors described in the category for “rare” labels—age, condition, composition and design.
The Citrus Label Gallery is in the process of adding a “price opinion” which can be found by clicking on the “details” box under the individual label image. The price opinion disregards the actual condition of the label shown in our galleries, but considers a standard condition which would be an unused and complete label with original colors, but allow for visual signs of handling and storage. Letters A through R have been done so far.
The price opinion is just that, an opinion. It is the average price derived from the opinions of three major California citrus label collectors, all of whom have contributed their collections to the gallery (Campos, Jones and von Oettingen). The opinions are based on a combination of the following: known sales of particular labels, the frequent requests made for particular labels, rarity even within the scarcity rating scales and aesthetic appeal.
We remind visitors to the gallery that it is not a place to buy or sell citrus labels. But, selling or buying has always been an important element of our hobby and will always be. Our principal goal is to upload as many California citrus labels as we can find from the label-collecting community. So, why are we adding a price opinion? The answer to this question is that selling and buying labels is in most cases subject to a high degree of uncertainty on both sides. The purpose of our price opinion, therefore, is to lend guidance, create discussion and provide some level of transparency in regard to prices in the citrus label collecting hobby.
Because of the scarcity of the vast majority of labels represented in the gallery, no true market price can ever be affixed to them. When a rare label becomes available to a buyer, the actual price paid may vary considerably from the opinions expressed here.
The labels you are viewing in the Citrus Label Gallery come from a variety of label collections, large and small. It is a labor of love from many individuals with a passionate interest in collecting citrus labels. Alphabetically listed, the labels come from the collections of Lorne & Bob Allmon, Leon Baden, Art Bustillos, Jim & Valerie Campos, Emmanuel, Tom Green, Joseph Jones, Tom Herod, Levi & Dorothy Hirschler (c/o Larry Hirschler), Llaird B. & Fleeta Hudson, Bob & Mary Kintner, Peter Kniffin, Dan Luna, Steven Mains, Richard McInnis, Dirik von Oettingen, Bob Phillips (c/o John Phillips), Tom Pulley, Bud Rauber, Eileen Ritchie, Clyde Searcy, Steve Sibbett, James Snyder, Tom Spellman, Bob Taaffe (c/o Geoff Balkan), and Paul Whyte. We are fortunate that collectors continue to contact us to offer scans of their labels for inclusion in the gallery. Many thanks. We are the largest gallery on the Internet and growing!
Are you a collector who is interested in submitting a label image? Just curious about citrus labels general? E-mail us with questions, concerns, rants and raves, and we'll make sure it gets to the proper label authority.
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