Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2017 Issue

Print on Cloth


Ephemera is a very large category.  By some estimates it’s at least a hundred times larger than old books.  More likely, it’s five hundred to a thousand times larger.  And it is a broad category that includes many sub-categories that are themselves significant.  Books require commitment and planning, ephemera a press and a few words to communicate.  For those who love books some ephemera is relevant.  Announcements of events and publications, letters by or to an author, as well as sundry related images are often appealing.  Such ephemera however, taken together, probably represents .001 of all that exists.  But what of the rest.


Within the ephemera category here are some of the sub-categories:






Trade Cards


Metals and Ribbons

Flags and buttons

Invoices and Receipts

Post Cards


And inevitably there are others including printing on cloth.


Some used and rare book dealers recognize that a few categories of ephemera are valuable and that Printing on Cloth is one of them.  A search for ‘satin’ finds 7,764 references in the RBHD, 1 for ‘cloth broadside,’ 7 for printed muslin, 1,070 for printed cloth in quotes, while the same without quotes is 273,198.  On the William Reese website, a search for “printed on silk” finds two very collectible pieces, a Jackson proclamation for $2,250 and a copy of Jefferson’s inaugural for $8,750.  Such silk material is a recognized, if quite scarce, category.


But there are many other works on cloth, more plebian, but also very interesting.  They seem to fall into three categories; advertising, notices and warnings.  These often-interesting advertising items were sometimes printed on cloth bags and have by-chance survived.  So too have notices and announcements printed on cloth because they were more durable than paper when posted out-of-doors.   


The printing, whether on paper, cardstock or cloth, seems to have been done on the same or similar presses that printed paper notices.  What seems most different are the numbers involved.  Works on cloth survive better but we assume much rarer because so few examples appear. 


As to why this category is generally unknown there are few reference books as well as few steady sources.  You can decide you are interested but you’ll be frustrated in your search for such material both because appearances are uncommon and descriptive words not yet codified into a category that sellers can use to identify and buyers use to search.  This will change. 


In my collecting area, the history of the Hudson Valley, such material exists and is generally neither important nor expensive.   It is simply rare.  This is a category that I happened upon in local Hudson River Valley sales and later found randomly at shows and online.  It’s extremely appealing.


Books are the lynchpin of collectible print but it turns out, only one, of many subcategories that are increasingly visible and therefore methodically collectible.


Here are some examples that I have acquired.


The first is a 15” x 9” silk broadside, prepared by Richard H. Pease of Albany, to commemorate the New-York, Albany and Troy Steam Boat Line.   A printed notation includes “Rebuilt in the Winter of 1836” [the 6 could be an 8].  It’s an early example, a marvelous survival that I purchased from Antipodean Books, Maps and Prints for $1,600.


The second is a 17’6” square advertisement on cloth for “The Celebrated Heidielburgh Portable Hurdle F E N C E  For Sale.  The firm is F. T. Rhoades, Milton, Ulster Co., N. Y.  It appears to date to about 1870. Mr. Rhoades’ facilities were probably located near the Hudson River as this advertisement mentions “Cash on Delivery, to any part of the City of Po’keepsie.”   Poughkeepsie is a few miles north on the east side of the Hudson River.  Milton is on the west side.


The third is James McKinney, Iron Founder – Store Fronts, Machine Castings, Iron Sash Weights, Window Cap and Sills, Roof Cresting, And all Castings Plain and Ornamental, used for Building Purposes.  Nos. 18 & 20 De Witt St., Albany.  24” wide x 16” high.  No date but probably 19th century.  Items 2 and 3 cost $75 together.  Both appear to be printed on muslin. 


The forth example is a 12” square notice on muslin apparently intended to be posted along roads and land lines.  N O T I C E – Take Warning!  Trespassing of Any Kind, or Hunting or Fishing Forbidden and will be Prosecuted.  It reads:


On Lands of J. E. Hasbrouck in Town of Plattekill, Bounded by State Highway running from Highland to Gardiner and State Highway running from Newburgh to Kingston, and Bounded by Lands of J. E. Hasbrouck, Jr., H. Alhusen, E. E. Miller, Albino Shultis, A. L. F. Deyo Est., Mary Deyo, Black Bros., Mrs. Anna LeFevre.


Dated August 2, 1928, J. E. Hasbrouck


The fifth, and final, example is a 15.5” wide by 21.5” high advertisement with a substantial image of the company’s facility for:


Judson, Parsons & Haskell, Wholesale Dealers in COFFEES SPICES &c. and Manufacturers of Ground Coffee, Spices, Mustard, Cream Tartar, Chocolate, Cocoa, Saleratus, &c.


Southeast Corner of Exchange and Dean Streets, Albany, N.Y.


Signed in print:  A. C. Judson, S. H. Parsons, Wm. H. Haskell


The material is, to my eye, deeply appealing.  If as you read this you remember having such material and would like to sell it I’m interested.


Print on cloth should become a subset of ephemera and I would hope, in five years, to see both dedicated dealer catalogues and auctions focusing on the category.


If you have older printed on cloth material to sell please let me know.  Contact me by phone at 415.823.6678 or by email at bmckinney@rarebookhub.com    

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000

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