Catalogue of Old Cataloguestm
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National Cloak & Suit was founded about 1888. Around 1910 a reorganization brought about National Bellas Hess, into which Charles Williams stores were merged in late 1929. Bellas Hess survived until the late 1970s. Their name has been in the news within the last few years because of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1968 the Court decided in the company's favor against the state of Illinois. This landmark case declared that Illinois could not cause Bellas Hess to collect taxes on sales in the state unless they had a "nexus" (physical presence) in the state. Until the last few years, this has been the guiding principal for mail order companies. The state bureaucrats are now so desperate for revenues that they brought another case to the court in 1992 in Quill vs. South Dakota. The Court again confirmed the major part of the Bellas Hess decision on the grounds that to require out-of-state firms to collect sales taxes interfered with interstate commerce. In essence, the Court handed the problem to the Congress. Something seems to be a little out of kilter in all this sales tax controversy. In our humble opinion, no state official should have the authority to go after a company, mail order or otherwise, on fishing expeditions, just because their state coffers are empty.
At one time National Bellas Hess was one of the top five mail order companies in the country, but slid into bankruptcy in the late 1970s. In the 1960s it did about $250-million a year with 25 million catalogues mailed annually. Former employees attribute their demise to the fact that the company more or less abandoned its mail order mission in favor of discount retail stores and supermarkets. A look at these following catalogues shows that there was nothing cheap about their wares in 1909 to 1918. The quality stands out!
02691- Catalogue- CHARLES WILLIAMS STORES, NYC. 1916. Standard Automobile Supplies. All the parts and supplies for these old cars: Tires, pumps, chains, jacks, several type of horns, auto clocks; electric, oil, & gas lights; tools, gas storage system, flashlights (7 shown in large engravings), goggles, touring conveniences, wood spoke wheels. Lots of items for "the Ford Car," trailers, robes, Ford bodies, cameras, mens & womens automobile clothing. Yes, you had special clothes for automobiling then! Great art. Catalogue is becoming fragile, edges chipped and cover stained. 8-1/4" x 11" x 48pp. $65.00
Broadsheet- NATIONAL BELLAS HESS, INC.,
New York and Kansas City. ca 1931.
Large advertising broadsheet
with beautiful sepia tone graphics on semi-coated paper. Suitable for
framing and display if you can choose just which side to display! Some
edge tears have been repaired with archival tissue tape. Folded down to
5-3/4"x 9" and unfolds to a large 23"x 15-3/4". $28.00
01531- Flyer- NATIONAL BELLAS HESS, NY & KC, 1953. Clearance sale flyer. Clothes, shoes for family. Nice black and white half-tone illustrations on coated stock. Light corner stain. 6-1/4" x 9-1/2" unfolds to 25" x 19". $14.00
Catalogue- NATIONAL BELLAS HESS, NY & Kansas City. Spring Sale
1968. Clothing, shoes, household, barber set, etc. Very good condition.
Catalogue- NATIONAL BELLAS HESS, NY & Kansas City. Summer Sale
1968. Clothing for entire family. Some pages in nice color. Wrist watches,
rings, ESKA outboard motor, transistor radios, record players, fishing outfit,
.22 Ithaca lever action rifle, cameras, portable reel tape recorders, barber
outfit, lawn and home decorations, tools, more. Very good condition. 6-1/2”x
9-3/8”x 124pp. $14.00
Catalogue- NATIONAL BELLAS HESS, NY & Kansas City. Sensational
Summer Sale 1968. Different than #07190. Clothing and shoes for family, home
goods, wristwatches, transistor radios, cordless radio phono, reel-to-reel
5-transistor recorder, barber outfit, Ithaca .22 caliber Saddle gun, wigs, more.
Color & black/white. Very good condition. 6-1/2”x 9-3/8”x 80pp. $14.00
Catalogue- NATIONAL BELLAS HESS, NY & Kansas City. Spectacular
Fall Sale, 1968. Fashions and shoes for family, household/kitchen goods,
barber outfit, tools, rifles, transistor radios, reel-to-reel tape recorder,
portable record player, wristwatches, more. Excellent condition. 6-1/2”x
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