The International Brick Collectors Association
Comes To California

If you're a brick collector, you may be interested in this organization: The International Brick Collectors Association (IBCA). The IBCA website is at This is a non-profit organization of collectors and others with a common interest in bricks and/or paving blocks as collectible items or as objects of historical interest or both. Their annual membership fee is only $20. Members receive a wonderful journal three times a year covering brick collecting, brick histories, and brickmaking. They hold brick swap meets across the country every year, where members bring and swap bricks for free. They have over 500 members knowledgeable about those antique and not-so-antique bricks.

IBCA Brick Swap 2003, Fair Oaks, California

Finally, after 20 years since its inception, the IBCA held its first ever brick swap in California, on June 7, 2003. Bill McDowell, an avid brick collector from Fair Oaks, California, hosted the swap meet at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Fair Oaks. Brick collectors converged on the parking lot at 8 a.m. to display and swap bricks from all over the country. The swap was over by 9:30 a.m. This was followed by a brick auction to help raise funds for the organization. Among the bricks auctioned off was a rare NILES brick from Niles (Fremont), California. The auction was followed by a great buffet lunch. Everyone had a great time. A huge thanks goes out to Bill McDowell for bringing the IBCA swap meet to California.

On the right, Clem Reinkemeyer, Jr., President of IBCA, holds up a brick at the auction.

Left to right: Bill McDowell, Virgil Green, and Clem Reinkemeyer, Jr.

Left to right: Jack Bower and Bob Piwarzyk, a couple of fine California brick collectors.

A Tribute to Bill McDowell

Bill McDowell, #486, of Fair Oaks, California, passed away on September 30, 2005. Bill was a retired colonel and pilot in the Air Force with 32 years of service. He was a long-time member of the IBCA and served as vice president and board member. Bill and his wife Mattie hosted the first IBCA swap meet in California in 2003, as mentioned above. Bill first contacted me by email in 2001 after he saw my California Bricks website. He told me that he had over 3,000 bricks in his collection and over 200 of them were from California. We then corresponded about several California-made bricks. In 2003, Bill generously surprised me by signing me up as a new member of the IBCA. When I received their wonderful Brick Journal, I was hooked and have since remained an IBCA member. I will be forever grateful to Bill for his help and generosity. I wished that I had met him decades earlier to converse about California bricks.

IBCA Brick Swap 2008, Agua Dulce, California

On May 9 and 10, 2008, the second IBCA brick swap was hosted by Blacky and Gerry Blackwell and Ron and Patty Rose at the Blackwell's residence in Agua Dulce, California. This swap meet was dedicated to the late Bill McDowell, who hosted the IBCA swap meet in California five years before. About 50 members attended the swap meet to watch a demonstration on cleaning bricks, hear about researching brick history, and finally to swap bricks. There were many interesting marked bricks from across the country as well as a good selection of bricks from the old brickyards of Southern California. I gave away 60 California red pavers made in Niles, California! After the swap, an auction was held to raise money for the organization. Everybody went home with new bricks for their collection and had a great time.

IBCA brick swap, Agua Dulce, California.

Dave Garcia and his bricks to swap.

That's me at the brick swap.

Blacky Blackwell (left) host of the brick swap.

Doug McIntosh and family posing by the brickmobile.

IBCA Librarian Jim Graves and Swap Host Ron Rose.

Copyright 2003 Dan L. Mosier

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