1964-1965 New York World’s Fair Collectibles

1964 New York Worlds Fair Farris Wheel

Postcard: 1964 New York Worlds Fair Farris Wheel, U.S. Royal Giant Tire

Souvenirs from the N.Y. Fair in Flushing Meadows Include Everything from Unispheres to Uniforms

The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair was not an economic success, but 44 years later, there’s a strong market for Sinclair Dinosaurs, maps, coins, and more!

In the days before the internet, or even telephones, World’s Fairs and Expositions were a way to spread the word about industrial, cultural, and artistic advances.  The very first World’s Fair was at  the Crystal Palace in London in 1851, and after that, the World Exposition became a craze all over Europe.  For over 150 years, citizens of the world have been introduced to some mankind’s greatest technological achievements in the exhibit halls of World’s Fairs.

A Brief History of the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair

The year 1964 was chosen to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the colony of New York by the British.  Robert Moses, chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Transit Authority of  NY was appointed president of the Fair Board.  Moses had been active in promoting the Flushing Meadows site for the 1939-1940 World’s Fair, in the hopes that the profits generated would be sufficient to redevelop the site into a city park, but in this, he was disappointed.  The 1964-65 fair provided a second chance.

The Unisphere & Peace through Understanding

The Unisphere, a huge metal globe was the signature and central structure of the fair. The open grid-work globe sat in the center of a vast plaza, surrounded by a reflecting pool and  fountains with  the avenues of the fair radiating off the plaza.  Constructed by U.S. Steel of 250 tons of stainless steel, the 12 story, 120’ diameter globe perched gracefully on a slender three pronged base. The continents were overlaid on the grid, and world capitals were indicated by pinpoint lights that came on at night.  Encircled by three orbiting  bands commemorating international achievements in space travel, the Unisphere was meant to portray the Fair’s theme, “Peace through Understanding.”

Sinclair Dinosaurs, U.S. Rubber Ferris Wheel & We Try Harder

Due to a general lack of participation by most major European nations, the 1964-65 World’s Fair was more than any previous fair, a concentrated exhibition of commercial and industrial technology.  The largest exhibits were sponsored by Ford, General Motors, and IBM.  Sinclair Oil displayed animatronic dinosaurs,  US Rubber featured its 80’ tall Ferris wheel in the shape of a giant tire, and number two car rental giant, Avis introduced its ”We try Harder” campaign.  Sponsored by Pepsi, and designed by  Disney, the  popular It’s a Small World exhibit featured 289 animatronic dolls representing the children of the world singing the Small World theme song in five languages.

1964 New York World's Fair Unisphere and space rocket mechanical coin bank

1964 New York World's Fair Unisphere and space rocket mechanical coin bank

1964 New York World's Fair collectible souvenir plate

1964 New York World's Fair collectible souvenir plate

Collectible New York World’s Fair Souvenirs

Since the 1964-64 World’s Fair was a tourist destination, memorabilia and collectibles number into the hundreds of items.  All the typical  gift shop souvenirs exist: spoons, glasses, mugs, plates, pennants, postcards, salt and pepper shakers, handkerchiefs, scarves, playing cards, ashtrays, pins, thimbles, dolls, coins, maps, guidebooks, snow globes, serving trays, coin banks, rain bonnets, and more.

Collectible NY 1964-65 World’s Fair Memorabilia

Some of the highest prices for the fair’s collectibles are for items that were made not for sale as souvenirs, but for use during the fair. These are objects produced for the day-to-day operations of the fair, and include uniforms, employee ID cards, admission tickets, and posters.

-by p4A contributing editor Susan Cramer.

Reference & Further Recommended Reading:

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  1. Richard’s avatar

    I have a 7 foot tall Gemini Program sign that was at space park at the 1964 Worlds fair. It would have been at the Gemini Program exhibit. Im looking to sell it. I was wodnering what you thought it was worth and if you would sell it through your website.
    Thank you

  2. admin’s avatar

    Hi Richard, we don’t buy or sell anything on our site. Prices4Antiques is a reference database for valuation purposes only. Good luck to you!

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