Hires To You headerThe Illustrated History of Hires Root Beer

Fantasy/Fake Items

This pinback button is a fantasy creation.  A photographed image of the Hires Boy was applied to a blank pinback button and coated with a protective Mylar covering.

(Fantasy-01, celluloid pinback button, 2.25” diameter)

Hires did not produce or distribute paperweights.  This fantasy item was created by someone who “married” a glass paperweight and a trade card.  The paperweight’s original insert was removed leaving the gold-colored, oval “frame,” and then a portion of a faded and worn Hires trade card (see Figure 1907-30) was trimmed and glued onto the back of the paperweight. 

(Fantasy-03, glass paperweight)

This brass-plated “Hires cash register topper” was offered at an on-line auction site.  Hires did not produce or distribute this item; it is a fantasy creation, most likely imported from India or Asia.

(Fantasy-04, cash register topper, front)

(Fantasy-04, cash register topper, back)

This fantasy porcelain sign was not produced for or by Hires.  If authentic it would date to 1918-1919.

(Fantasy-05, porcelain sign, 4.0” x 6.0”)

This brass-plated belt buckle and matching medallion are English-made, fantasy items.  The back of the buckle bears two marks.  The brazed-on belt loop depicts an eagle in flight and wording reading "WARRANTED FINEST MINTED BRASS."  The plate was cast (not die-stamped) with wording reading "MADE IN ENGLAND - THE CELEBRATED - E. GAYLORD - MASS. - PATENT BUCKLE - FINE PRESIDENTIAL AND ROYAL GRADE."  To learn more about these fakes, visit https://bogusbuckles.com.

(Fantasy-06, brass-plated belt buckle, 3.0” x 3.0”)

(Fantasy-07, brass-plated medallion)

An on-line auction seller advertised this cloth patch as a “rare, original 1940s Hires Rootbeer soda patch,” while also describing it as “brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged.”  Actually, it is fantasy item made circa 2017.  If authentic, it would date to 1932-1934 as “Hires” is inside the circle, and the “For Real Juices” wording isn’t included.  The words Hires and Root Beer, however, would not have been totally in the blue field, nor superimposed over the red R-J circle.  The fraud artist who designed this patch didn’t do his/her homework.  

 (Fantasy-08, cloth patch, 3.0” diameter)

This fantasy item pictures the cover of Hires’ 1939 Football Book (see Figure 1939-25) as a cloth uniform patch.  This example and thousands of other fantasy cloth patches are listed at an on-line auction site by a seller in the Philippines.

(Fantasy-09, cloth patch, 3.5” x 5.0”)

At first glance, this paper calendar appears to be authentic, as the upper portion bearing the Hires logo and the 1944 calendar pad both look genuine.  Unfortunately, this is a fantasy “marriage.”  The 1944 pad definitely isn’t original to the calendar, given that the Hires check mark logo wasn’t introduced until 1948.  Caveat emptor!

(Fantasy-10, paper calendar, 9.0” x 16.75”)

Examples of this tin thermometer are frequently offered for sale at on-line auction sites.  They don’t bear a Hires item number and are always in totally mint condition, strongly suggesting they are fantasy items.  If authentic, they would date to circa 1948.

(Fantasy-11, tin thermometer, 3.5” x 13.0”)

This cardboard hanging sign is a reproduction made circa 1995.

(Fantasy-12, cardboard hanging sign, 23.0” x 6.0”)

An on-line auction seller described this reproduction "heavy baked metal" hanging sign as "vintage," being careful to note "do your own research as vintage does not necessarily mean original."  Caveat emptor!   

(Fantasy-12.5, metal hanging sign, 12.0” x 4.0”)

This attractive “first day of issue” envelope is a fantasy “marriage.”  The envelope is genuine, having been mailed November 19, 1954, the day the 4¢ Abraham Lincoln stamp was issued.  Unfortunately, the envelope was subsequently altered by the addition of a Hires six-pack sign image (see Figure 1958-16) featuring the trapezoid Hires label and stripes introduced in 1957.   

(Fantasy-13, first day cover)

This refrigerator magnet is a new fantasy creation.  A photograph of a 1955 Hires metal sign (see Figure 1955-27) was applied to a magnet blank and coated with a protective Mylar covering.

(Fantasy-14, refrigerator magnet, 2.25” diameter)

Multiple examples of this 36.0" x 8.0" porcelain over steel thermometer sign started being offered at on-line auction sites in late 2018.  One seller describes these signs as "used...possible new old stock."  Actually, they are fantasy items produced and shipped by a Canadian firm specializing in manufacturing reproduction signs.  Carefully investigate a seller's feedback rating and their other listings before you consider bidding. 

(Fantasy-15, porcelain over steel thermometer)

The on-line auction seller offering this "Hires Root Beer porcelain metal sign" cautions potential bidders "Don't get confused with cheap thin porcelain signs!!! Or even worse powder coat/sublimation signs, that will fade and are nothing more then (sic) computer printed images...that most people sell as vintage or original...used...limited production."  Actually, the original image was only used for cardboard blotters (see Figure 1932-11) and this "porcelain metal sign" is a fantasy item.  As of this writing, the seller has 455 reproduction and fantasy signs listed along with negative feedback from several buyers who figured out the sign they purchased wasn't authentic. 

(Fantasy-16, porcelain over metal sign)

Fortunately, the on-line auction seller offering this "Rare Telechron Hires Root Beer Soda - Diner - Cafe Wall Clock Sign" further revealed that "although the face of the clock is extremely nice it is NOT original & has been modified to give it that old soda shop appearance."  While the clock is attractive, one has to wonder if future owners will realize it is a fantasy item.  The plastic case measures 6.625" x 6.50" x 2.25" deep.   

(Fantasy-17, plastic Telechron wall clock)

The same on-line auction seller listing the fantasy Telechron wall clock shown above is also offering a fantasy "vintage General Electric wall clock.  Measures 7x7...The case has been done in gloss black and blends well with the Hires Root Beer logo that was added to enhance the appearance...vintage style cord has been added...Selling as is with no returns."  Caveat emptor!

(Fantasy-18, General Electric wall clock)

Although this Brunhoff Advertising Specialties glass change tray with a wooden base is authentic, the incorporated image of the Hires Boy holding a Villeroy & Boch mug appears to have been added at a much later date.  On-line auction bidders drove the  closing price up to $158.50 (+ $19.80 for P&H) for what is likely either a fantasy or at best a reproduction item.    

(Fantasy-19, Brunhoff Advertising Specialties change tray)

This 1.5 ounce, clear, shot glass is a fantasy item offered by an on-line auction seller who also sells glass marbles, chinaware piggy banks, salt and pepper shakers, nightlights, etc., all bearing reproduction logos.  Hires did not distribute shot glasses! 

(Fantasy-20, clear shot glass)

This wooden barrel is a fantasy item, possibly created by lettering an otherwise unmarked barrel in an attempt to advertise Hires Root Beer.  The metal chain attached to the top may have been used for display purposes.  This barrel wasn't a dispenser and it wasn't used to distribute Hires Fountain Syrup; the bunghole located in the middle of the back side would have made dispensing or pouring impractical.  Although the front lettering was neatly done, a very confused artist mistakenly combined upper case letters for the "HI" and lower case letters for the "res."  Caveat emptor!   

(Fantasy-21, wooden barrel, 18.0" tall x 11.125" base diameter)

This tin sign is a failed attempt at reproducing a 1939 Hires R-J sign with the word "Hires" extending slightly outside the circle (see Figure 1939-01).  Comparison with the original reveals the designer didn't include the words "ROOT BEER" below the R-J emblem when designing this sign.  The lower edge is marked "Hires Root Beer is a trademark of Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., and used by Kool Collectibles under license (www.koolcollectibles.com).  Item HB-01."


(Fantasy-22, tin sign, 11.5" diameter)

An on-line auction seller described this 2.0" x 1.5" x .5" cardboard matchbox as "a 1940's box of wood matches advertising Hires Root Beer.  Pin-up Girl.  An advertising giveaway item from Knox Grocery in Westville, Ohio."  Actually, this is a fantasy item with a poor quality copy of a 1917 Hires paper wall poster (see Figure 1917-19) illustrating the top of the box.  Caveat emptor!  

(Fantasy-23, cardboard matchbox - top with box partially open)

(Fantasy-23, cardboard matchbox - bottom)

An on-line auction listing describes this item as a "Vintage pocket mirror advertising Hires root beer.  Appears to be celluloid on metal.  Girl with curly hair on front.  Edge appears to be discolored.  Mirror on back side shows rust on the metal rim."  Unfortunately, this mirror lacks any manufacturing information confirming it was either made by or for the Charles E. Hires Company, strongly suggesting it is at best a fantasy item.  The "Girl with curly hair" was the "Hires Girl for 1917," a young woman whose image was utilized for a variety of Hires advertising items (see Figures 1917-09 and 1917-10).

(Fantasy-24, celluloid pocket mirror, 2.125" diameter - front and back)

The on-line auction seller offering this Starr X, zinc-plated, cast iron, wall mounted crown cap bottle opener lists hundreds of brand new, fantasy openers.  This example measures 3.25" x 2.625" and includes an attached, authentic, Draft Hires Root Beer crown cap. 

(Fantasy-25, crown cap bottle opener, new in box)

(Fantasy-25, crown cap bottle opener)

An uninformed on-line seller is offering five examples of this item described as a "vintage (possibly antique) 'HIRES' ROOT BEER stamped tin-clip badge (or fold-over lapel pin).  It measures approx. 2" in diameter, and is in great shape commensurate with its age, never used, and comes in its original sealed wrapper."  Actually, these badges are brand new, fantasy items featuring a poor attempt at reproducing the artwork utilized for a Josh Slinger tin tray (see Figure 1914-10).  Caveat emptor! 

(Fantasy-26, tin badge)

Although an on-line auction seller describes this item as a "rare circa 1901 eye wash cup...2 1/2" tall, 1 3/4" wide at the base," this is definitely a fantasy item.  Hires didn't produce or distribute eye wash glasses.  The reference to 1901 is absurd given the application of a decal featuring Hires' check mark logo that wasn't introduced until 1948.  The manufacturer and seller failed to do their homework.  Caveat emptor! 

(Fantasy-27, garnet-colored, glass eye wash cup)

This 11.5" x 14.5" tin sign is such an obviously fake item that it almost doesn't warrant bothering to include it in this chapter.  After all, the on-line auction seller accurately described it as "brand new," and the rounded corners, rolled top and bottom edges, phony-looking surface aging, and "sturdy brass grommets for easy hanging and display" are dead giveaways.  Then again, the sign bears no manufacturing information or permanent labeling clearly indicating it is a reproduction and after a few re-sales someone may think it is real.  Check out Figure 1949-12 to see an example of the original sign. 

(Fantasy-28, tin sign)

In addition to the "TO BE USED FOR PEPSI-COLA ONLY" wording stamped into the base, the red, white, and blue color scheme used for the syrup container cover is another clue this was originally a Pepsi-Cola dispenser.  The front and back of the dispenser feature a Pepsi-Cola crown cap image with "ON DRAUGHT" printed below the cap.  Someone, perhaps a store owner with a soda fountain, apparently decided to reuse this fixture to dispense Hires Root Beer.  Two Hires decals were trimmed slightly and applied directly over the original Pepsi-Cola signage, creating an attractive fantasy item. 

(Fantasy-29, Pepsi-Cola syrup dispenser, 20.0" tall)

The on-line auction seller offering multiple examples of this "old school retro vintage sign remake banner" is careful to indicate this fantasy item is "brand-new."  Unfortunately, there's no permanent labeling documenting this is fantasy item and it is only a matter of time until others will be attempting to re-sell them as "vintage" banners.  Caveat emptor!  

(Fantasy-30, vinyl banner, 2.0' x 4.0')

This is one of the thousands of fantasy tin signs offered at an on-line auction.  The seller describes the item as an "1895 Hires Root Beer Vintage Rustic Retro Metal Tin Sign" while also being careful to clearly indicate it is "brand-new."  The source of the original image is an 1895 newspaper advertisement (see Figure 1895-20).  The sign has been "aged" to make it appear to be weathered with rusty edges.   


(Fantasy-31, tin sign, 8.0' x 12.0')

Ingraham and Company of Bristol, Connecticut produced this electric wall clock during the 1950s or 1960s.  The addition of a Josh Slinger image from a 1914 Hires sign (see Figure 1914-07) to the face of the clock makes it more attractive, but also clearly indicates this is a fantasy item.  It is unknown whether the Josh Slinger image was originally added by Ingraham and Company, or added later to make the clock appear to be more "vintage."  This fantasy clock definitely wasn't produced for the Charles E. Hires Company, as they totally ceased using Josh Slinger's image after 1914.  The pictured example was recently listed at an on-line auction site and drew several bids before the seller suddenly cancelled the auction "because the item was lost or broken."    

(Fantasy-32, electric wall clock, 7.5" diameter, 2.5" deep)

The seller listing this fantasy sign at an on-line auction site described it as a "vintage porcelain machine or chest sign advertising Hires Root Beer."  The choice of a white background apparently inspired the designer to enlarge the dark blue circle portion of the logo to fill the entire area behind the word "Hires."  The addition of grommets, lack of a Hires item number, and the age "chips" in the lower left and upper right corners are additional clues that this is a fantasy item.  Caveat emptor! 

(Fantasy-33, porcelain sign, 10.5" x 6.5")

Here are two homemade fantasy items created by re-using the Hickory, Inc. poster picturing a young boy riding in a two-wheeled cart being pulled by a rooster (see Figure 1976-01).  Although an on-line auction seller described this first example as an "Antique Hires Root Beer Soda Pop Wood Advertising Hanging Memo Grocery List," it is simply a cut-down version of the Hickory, Inc. poster.

(Fantasy-34, wooden grocery list)

This second example was created by attaching the Hickory, Inc. poster to a wooden plaque with tacks and coating it with varnish ("decoupage") in an attempt to give it an antique look.  An on-line auction seller accurately described the item as "circa 1970s."

(Fantasy-34, wooden plaque, 9.0" x 7.5")

The artistic designer of these glass mugs apparently had free reign, as the lettering of the word "Hires" is unlike anything Hires ever utilized. 

(Fantasy-35, glass mugs, 5.5" tall)