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Mementos, keepsakes, reminders and remembrances have been acquired by island visitors since the late 19th century when tourists first started visiting Santa Catalina Island. By the mid-20th century, mementos became available on the military islands of San Nicolas and San Clemente Islands as well.

Academic researchers have divided souvenir mementos into several broad categories, including: Souvenir Trinkets; Paper Mementos; Destination Specialties; and Picked-up Objects. Souvenirs generally include mass-produced merchandise of mundane objects, which are branded with a particular location. The list of Santa Catalina Island souvenir items is long, and has evolved greatly over time.

The earliest mementos consisted of fairly high quality products such as engraved or embossed sterling silver spoons, porcelain tea set pieces (tea cups and saucers, demitasse, creamers and sugar bowls), vases, souvenir plates and paperweights.

Through the years Catalina-branded items evolved to include ladies’ make-up compacts and silk scarves. Labeled ashtrays and post-1928 miniaturized Catalina Casino items became popular, as did pressed pennies.

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