At Auction: Los Angeles Imprints 1843 - 1873

- by Bruce E. McKinney


A sumptuous early LA printed piece.

Item 29. So what did a kid do for fun in LA in the 1850s? He left town. The action was at the California State Agricultural Society's Third Annual Fair, Cattle Show and Industrial Exhibition, held at San Jose, October 7th to 10th, 1856. The program, printed in San Francisco, has no typos [as northern Californians will notice]. It's estimated at $700 to $1,000.

Item 31 is for the educated rich. To appreciate it you need to read Spanish or at least have someone in the building who can translate it for you. It is "Oraciones para Todos los Dias de la Semana..." a very nice 10-page pamphlet printed in Los Angeles in 1857. It is estimated $3,000 to $5,000.

Item 34 looks to be heading for the Charlton Heston crowd. "The honor of your company is respectfully solicited to attend a Ball, to be given by the Southern Rifles...Saturday, July 4," [1857?]. It's estimated at $300 to $400.

Item 43. Here is an item that many people do not have: "Laws Concerning Rodeos, and Defining the Duties of Judges of the Plains." This sounds like it was written by Governor Arnold S. but no, it was printed at the office of the Los Angeles Star [1859]. Apparently before there was Arnold there was Arnold. Estimated $1,200 to $1,800.

Item 44. [Mojave Indian Uprising]. Extra! Important from the Colorado!! Outbreak of the Mojave Indians! This is an extra of the Los Angeles Star, Saturday, July 30, 1859. It's a two column broadside and may incite another uprising as collectors of Indian material, newspaper broadsides and Los Angeles history meet to decide WHO is serious about their collecting. It's estimated at $1,500 to $2,500. Expect another massacre.

If item 44 blew by you quicker than a tsunami perhaps you can console yourself with item 46, a printed billhead made out to Brewer and Ashburn on blue stock: Los Angeles, December 4, 1860. It's early and estimated low: $200 to $300.

Item 50 is evidence that Los Angeles took part in the Civil War. Admittedly it was a small part. The city that would fifty years later produce Birth of a Nation seems to have actually slept though the original event. Southern California had many groups that sympathized with the south. This is the by-laws of the Los Angeles Council that supported the Union cause. Buy this item and take it with you to heaven to prove to the grand inquisitor your sentiments were well placed. Estimate $800 to $1,200.

Item 58 is the By-Laws of the Los Angeles Chapter, No. 33, of Royal Arch Masons, Held at Los Angeles [and printed in San Francisco by Frank Eastman, 1867]. Freemasons will be watching this item carefully but the battle will be decided by a test of wills between those who favor location of subject versus location of printer. It's estimated at $250 to $350. The tension will be unbearable.

Item 60. What is the price of a receipt for $2.50 if it is dated Los Angeles, July 7, 1867. According to the high estimate it will cost you 72 times the amount paid that day and it may prove to be a bargain. It's estimated $120 to $180. It's a bill from the tax office.