Some of the really neat things about early-to-mid 20th century radio and television programs came in the forms of promotional items related to the shows and their characters. The Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring immortalized in the 1983 film classic, The Christmas Story, quickly comes to mind. At times sponsors went all in with merchandise and contests as illustrated with the famous Ralston Rocket Clubhouse in this earlier post. For collectors today, these promotional items are precious gems to be searched out and acquired.
Hake’s Americana and Collectables is perhaps the best source for finding a lot of these treasures. Currently Hake’s has a very rare item available in a post auction sale. It’s a 1940 Lone Ranger prototype secret compartment ring designed by Orin Armstrong of the Robbins Co. which specialized in premium rings. Originally intended as a premium offering from sponsors of the program, an inconvenient design flaw kept it from mass production. The one currently listed at Hake’s is only the fourth ever seen by the auction house.
The listing says that the miniature glossy photos of The Lone Ranger and Silver inside the top ‘are an added attraction to the secret compartment feature.’ For today’s collectors they just might be the deal maker. Seasoned collectors might not be too surprised by the price of this scarce find, but it could come as a shock to others. It’ll cost $1,725.00 to add this to your treasured belongings. Hake’s previous sales have been between $2300 and $3200.00, so this price is actually a deal. You can find the entire listing here.