I would like to share a personal story, something I rarely do. As a collector of Reisch breweriana, the Reisch Mildred Tray/Sign has eluded me for over 30 years. It’s a Reisch collectible that’s been on the top of my want list forever. My story begins on an early Friday morning, this past summer about 5:00 a.m. My friend Rob Malawy was adamant that we arrive early at a breweriana show called Swap A Rama in St. Louis, Missouri. When we arrived, Rob looks at me and says “you may have an opportunity at your holy grail today and it’s a paint over”. I looked at him in astonishment and thought “a paint over”, hmmmm. I’m thinking, what “beer can” could he possibly be talking about. You see, I also collect beer cans and paint over labels were common in the 40s and 50s.
A gentlemen walks up to our table about a half hour later and pulls out a “Reisch Mildred Tray”, my holy grail of Reisch Collectibles. I was totally expecting a beer can and not a Mildred. I became very excited but also cautious at the same time. I negotiated with the gentlemen for about 5 minutes and arrived at a price that we both agreed to. FINALLY, I added a Mildred to my Reisch collection. My next step and challenge was to find an individual who could remove the black paint that was painted over the word Reisch and other beer language without damaging it. You could vaguely see the word Reisch on the Mildred, it was visible, validating it was the “real deal”. Most of the Reisch Mildred’s that have surfaced are paint overs. People living in the early 1900s loved the picture of Mildred, but did not care for the beer language, so they painted over it with black paint. Not only was my Mildred a paint over with black paint, the artist also painted flowers over the black paint. YIKES!!!
I talked to a number of individuals about paint removal and did a considerable amount of research on the web to see if I could locate someone to remove the black paint and flowers. After one week of research, I reached a decision and selected Monica Mull, her business is Art CPR located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and her website is www.artcpr.com Monica’s experience and website sold the deal, she’s completed a number of breweriana restoration projects receiving outstanding feedback. One specific project shown on her website was a paint over, where she removed black paint from another beer tray, BINGO!!! I sent Monica an email with the Mildred information and pictures to see if I would be able to procure her services. She agreed and indicated that she would contact me when she was able to start the project. She was in high demand as a result of her outstanding restoration work. I soon received Monica’s email and overnighted the Mildred. Monica provided updates as she worked and sent pictures showing her progress. Then the magic day came, I received an email from Monica indicating that Mildred was finished. When I opened the pictures in Monica’s email, I was in AWE. The Mildred “before and after” pictures were astonishing, the after picture looked amazing, see above. Monica is a true professional, it shows in her work and her level of detail is incredible. Thanks Monica, GREAT JOB!!!
I would also like to thank the following individuals: Rob Malawy for your Mildred lead, Daryl Ponder for your PERSISTENCY of the Reisch Project and George Reisch for your TREMENDOUS Brew Master skills, you’re all good friends. I’ve been blessed with family, friends and now Reisch Charities.
“Reisch Gold Top Beer, Good Beer, by Good People for a Good Cause”.
Reisch Charities Board of Director
Pictures provided by Monica Mull of Art CPR, www.artcpr.com
Mildred before paint and flower removal and Mildred after paint and flower removal.