Saturday, October 3, 2015

Brownie Baseball

Occasionally I accept commissioned work to  supplement my passion for old paper. On top of that, I began to create collectibles in 1989, although it was unwittingly at the time. Having begun to put art work on envelopes in the mid Fifties after seeing the art of C. M. Russell, I had no idea that there were people who collected these little gems. I have posted a number of pieces of 'mail art' since I began publishing my blog, and looking for the mail art label HERE will keep you busy for awhile. Properly called first day covers, these regular envelopes carry stamps cancelled in the city where the stamp is first released for public sale, and in this case it was Cooperstown, New York.

In 1939, a person interested in creating a first day cover would have to send self-addressed envelopes and cash to cover the cost of the postage to the postmaster of the city where the stamp was to be released. I have three of these envelopes with the same name on them, and a little research informed me that Mr. Kleinod was a member of the American Philatelic Society as early as 1921.

As for the art work, it is a cigar label for the Beckett & Brown Company of Eastport, Maine, who sponsored and fielded a baseball team called the Brownie Nine. The cigars were a nickel. Before 1920, there were over 25,000 cigar manufacturers in the United States. Cigar sales were strictly regulated and taxed by the government, and the labels produced between 1880 and 1920 were works of art produced using a method of printing called stone lithography.

I urge those who are interested in the label as an art form to visit the Cigar Label Junkie for a virtual library of labels of every description. This is either my fourth or fifth cover that I have created for the same gentleman, and I have not run out of baseball related cigar labels quite yet.

Monday, September 21, 2015

India Company, 3rd Battalion 26th Marines

The above is artwork to be added (or tipped in) to a book which I had rebound for the only Marine I met from Montana while I was in the service. He sent me the book so that I could look at it and make copies of photos and names that I remembered.

The above is the cover of the book.

This is a photograph of Mitch McCarley and myself after a wet day on patrol. We were not happy campers. Mitch and his wife Brenda came down to Montana from North Pole, Alaska, last year, and we got to spend the day getting reacquainted and remembering the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ruddy Duck, 2015

This is my Federal Duck cover for the 2015 Federal Duck stamp. The cost of the stamp went from $15 to $25 this year, but that didn't deter me. It is also the 25th Duck stamp issue I've done.

For a number of years now, the USFS has provided two different formats for the Duck stamp, both lick-and-stick and self-adhesive. I ordered the number that I needed in early June, and they were waiting for me at the Last Chance Station post office on June 26th, which was the earliest I could have them and was the First Day they were available nationwide. An error in filling my order presented me with a wild sight when I opened my package: Instead of sending me nine of the lick-and-stick stamps, the USPS sent me NINE sheets, each sheet containing twenty stamps. In other words, I had $4,500 worth of stamps instead of $225. I'd never seen so many Duck Stamps in one place at one time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Indian Scout, 1928

I used an image of a 1928 Indian Scout from a full page ad for the Indian Motocycle Company in Springfield, Massachusetts, as a model for this piece of billhead. It is the third piece that I have done on paper from Curnow the Indian, In Butte, Montana. 

Michael Curnow opened a bicycle shop in Butte, Montana, at 205 South Montana Street in late 1908. I know that because the 1908 Polk's City Directory for Butte has no listing for him, whereas the 1909 directory does have a single line listing for him. In 1911 he became the Indian Motocycle dealer, and by 1913 he must have had a fairly decent business because he purchased a quarter page advertisement in the directory. I would dearly love to find a photograph of him, but so far I've come up empty.

This piece was done as a commission, so it is headed for its new home as soon as that can be arranged. If you look at the labels on the right side of my home page for Old Paper Art, you will see a label for Indian. There are now ten Indian Motocycle related posts.

UPDATE: Marianne Dow just posted a PHOTOGRAPH of Curnow which she found in Motorcycle Illustrated Magazine, so I'm posting the link to the photograph right here

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Out Of The Box

A billhead from the Fulton Market in Butte, Montana, dated the 26th of January, 1904. One dozen quail, as ordered.

This is what the document looked like before I decided to embellish it with my art work.
The text reads "Quail scarce - hard to get at any price. Can you use Finnan Haddies at 12 1/2 4 ??? choice stock". 

Finnan Haddies or Haddie is cold smoked Haddock, and I suppose you could consider it an imported table delicacy, although I seriously doubt it was imported.

This is the box top I found for the image I used as a model for the art work. I will include a copy of the original document with the finished piece when it finds a new home.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Brownie Number 1 - I Shutter

A very significant piece of old paper from the ledger of C. W. Rank & Company in Virginia City, Montana. Water stained on the edges, chipped on the upper edge, and toning all around. Am I happy I found it? Yes, yes I am.

As can be seen in the lower section, the invoice is dated April 15, 1901. This date is significant not because it's the date our income taxes come due (income tax would not be a burden for another twelve years), but because by October of 1901, the Brownie Number 1 camera would be discontinued. George Eastman, the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, began selling the Brownie Number 1 in 1900 for the princely (not really) sum of ONE DOLLAR. Of course C. W. Rank got a discount of 33%, which brought his cost to only fifty cents, since his was a retail establishment. Probably a good move on C. W. Rank's part to turn around and sell this one camera, and order a few more.

For those of you interested in the history of the Brownie Camera, I urge you to visit a page devoted to all things Brownie Camera related, called The Brownie Camera Page. I decided a long time ago that if I ever found any Kodak paper that was of the right period for a Palmer Cox Brownie, I knew what was going to end up on it.

George Eastman was a marketing genius, and because this camera is considered to be the most significant camera in the history of cameras, he chose to team up with Palmer Cox. It was a good move. Children (and adults) at the turn of the century were well aware of the Brownies, and there was never a better way to encourage the sale of cameras to the common folk than Brownies.