Below is an article contributed by fellow appraiser, author, radio talk show host, and friend Brian Kathenes. Brian is an International Society of Appraisers Member, and ISA CAPP, who specializes in autographs and manuscripts.

Betcha Didn’t Know That!
Antiques and Collectibles Trivia Tips From Brian and Leon

By: Brian Kathenes and Leon Castner

Issue: NJN103

Rhyme Time

Does this bring back any memories? If it does, your age is showing (but probably not your whiskers).
What well-known soap
Could shave your chin
And leave you with a hairless grin?
It advertised in ’26
With roadside signs on top of sticks.

…Burma Shave!

Burma Shave was revolutionary — a brushless shaving soap that could be slathered onto the face by hand. Remarkable!

Even more remarkable were the Burma Shave signs that dotted the nation’s highways and byways for nearly 40 years. The familiar white on red signs, grouped by fours, fives and sixes, were as much a part of a family trip as the kids asking “Are we there yet?”

At the height of their popularity, there were 7,000 Burma-Shave signs stretching across the country.

Burma Shave ads first appeared in 1926, when Americans were taking leisurely drives on country roads. By the 1950’s, however, the “need for speed” meant faster cars and faster speeds — and no time to read.

In 1963, the American Safety Razor company bought out Burma Shave and the last ads disappeared from the road.

As time goes by,
And memories cave,
We won’t’ forget you

…Burma Shave!

Burma Shave advertising signs are quite collectible. Some originals sell for hundreds of dollars. Complete sets go for even more.


The Burma Shave company sponsored an annual contest for people to submit the rhymes with winners receiving a $100 prize. (Sure beats paying a copywriter!) Some contests received over 50,000 entries. Here’s one: “The poorest guy / in the human race/ can have / a million dollar face / Burma Shave.”


Professional, Certified Appraisers Brian Kathenes and Leon Castner are the hosts of the weekly Public Radio call in program; Value This! With Brian and Leon. Hear them locally every Sunday at 9:00 AM eastern on 91.9 FM WNTI, or on the web at
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