Saturday, October 31, 2009

Graf Zeppelin Pictorial Cancel

Back in 1990, I was just beginning to follow the Postmark Pursuit column in Linn's Stamp News , a weekly newspaper dedicated to all things stamps or Philately if you want to be proper about it. After my initial exploration with First Day Covers , I started following the Postmark Pursuit column, purchasing stamps that had something to do with the theme of the cancel, creating the art work on the cover, and then sending them off to be canceled. I received many cancels that were not at all what I was expecting, and many that were. I was selling most of those I created through a local gallery and frame shop. The gallery owner would mat and frame them, hang them on the wall, and I developed a group of local people who decorated their walls with my miniature art work.

There were a number of anniversaries celebrated in 1990 of the visit of the Graf Zeppelin to the United States. It was the 60th Anniversary of the issuance of the U.S. stamps depicting the Graf Zeppelin which occurred in April of 1930. Even back in 1990, the famous C13, C14 and C15 stamps were very expensive to acquire, but I went out on a limb and purchased three of the C13 variety. I think I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 for each of them. I had prepared four covers, but I simply couldn't afford to purchase any more of the stamps, so I had one cover that went uncanceled, and as it turns out - what goes around, comes around.

A couple of months ago, there was an announcement in Linn's about two pictorial cancels relating to the Graf Zeppelin flights. I chose the more appropriate looking cancel of the two, had a C18 stamp purchased for myself by a collector, and sent off to have my nineteen year old cover canceled. What you see here is the result of a long wait. It is now on its way to the fellow who purchased the stamp for me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Buffalo Skull - PFF #13

The stamp on this cover was issued on the 16th of May, 1996 to honor the American artist Georgia O'Keeffe. I have friends who live in Colorado and were willing to drive to New Mexico, buy the stamps in Albuquerque and then drive to Abiquiu, New Mexico, to have my covers canceled on the First Day in the town that Georgia called home for the last years of her life. She was famous for overly large paintings of flowers, but also incorporated cow skulls and bones that she found in the desert near her home into many of her paintings. My favorite artist C. M. "Charlie" Russell, and the one who inspired me to do 'envelope art' in the first place was famous for using the buffalo skull as part of his signature. I decided to use the buffalo skull and do it "Georgia" style for this issue.

Marie's skulls over at the French Fatrice are all underground, but if you're interested in what she and others have done with the theme, check out her post for Postcard Friendly Friday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

La Belle Chocolatière - Again

This one is a little larger than the last, and consequently a little finer. And I know from experience doing the covers that the second time I do an image I'm always happier with the results.

I obtained the image for this rendition from Susan E at This Old Paper, and I'll continue to link to her blog as often as I use this image. I've several more bill heads that have Baker's Chocolate as line items, so this won't be the last.

The paper itself is a bill head for C. W. Rank & Company, a general store in historic Virginia City, Montana. There are a number of interesting line items on this bill head including Fruit of Paradise, which this confectioner did not make. Fruit of Paradise was (and still is) made by the Startup Candy Company of Provo, Utah.

Excuse me while I go make myself some hot chocolate.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Six Dozen Trout Flies

This piece of paper was more fun than I've had in a long time. As some of you may be aware, a couple of weeks ago I went paper shopping - locally. I came away from that little excursion with some pretty fine paper. One of those finds was a bill head for the Montana Candy Company, also known as Webster & Koontz. They were one of the first confectioners in Montana - and I should add here - Montana Territory, for when the paper was dated, Montana was not yet a state.

This piece is also very unique. It also is a piece of territorial paper, and it also was a billhead from the Parchen Drug Company of Helena. I'm certain that there are interior views of this business, and unlike Webster & Koontz, Parchen Drug did publish an address.

The note is of particular interest. It says: "We send the largest we have (the word at is crossed out) can (the word get is crossed out) be had in Town". Apparently J. H. McKnight & Company at Forth Shaw, M.T., had BIG fish in mind...

Fort Shaw was known as the "Queen of the Montana Posts". It sat near the Sun River, about twenty-five miles West of the present city of Great Falls, where the Sun River entered the Missouri. There was an Indian Trading Post there run by J. H. Mcknight, as well as a Saloon. Of course, there was also a regiment of soldiers garrisoned at the Fort. The fort was abandoned in 1890, and an Indian School at Fort Shaw became world famous in 1904. An all-Indian Girls Basketball Team from the school became World Champions at the St. Louis Exposition.

I really am torn about this piece. Part of me wants to keep it for I'll probably never see another piece of paper quite like this - a bill for six dozen trout flies, but - I know there will be other paper just as unique as this one is.

Gummed! PFF #12

Before I knew that there was such a thing as a First Day Cover that had a cachet on it, I created a number of First Day Covers - with cachets! Montana celebrated its Centennial in 1989, and the USPS announced they would be issuing a stamp to celebrate that event in January. Since I had been putting art work on envelopes since I was a youngster, I decided to do some 'envelope art' and obtain the stamps, get them canceled, and save them for family and friends.

On January 15th, 1989, I went to the Post Office to get the stamps only to discover there were literally hundreds of people waiting to buy stamps and was told there would also be a ceremony at the Capital building later in the day. While waiting in line, the gentleman behind me asked me where I got my envelopes and I replied that I'd created them myself. He then asked if he could buy a couple, to which I replied "Sure". I sold them for $5.00 a piece, and it didn't take long for the word to spread up and down the line that I was selling decorated envelopes. Within twenty minutes I had no envelopes left to put stamps on, but I did remain in line and bought the stamps anyway.

The envelopes I was using had a gummed flap. First Day Cover collectors prefer envelopes that do not have gum on them as the gum deteriorates over time and discolors the front of the envelope. Within the course of the next year I learned a lot about what collectors do and do not want when it comes to envelopes!

Most of the covers that I did for this first issue all looked a lot like this one. I grew tired of doing the same thing over and over, so the lettering changed as well as the basic design. I discovered this one and another done in silver ink just last week - while looking through my huge paper stash.

Be sure to check out what Gummy Treats Marie has to offer for Postcard Friendly Friday, as well as everyone else who is participating today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

La Belle Chocolatière

Or ---- Baker's Chocolate Lady to those who are familiar with one of the first commercial advertising images to be used in the United States. But I digress - I'll begin with the paper.

I looked at a lot of paper last week, most of it was local and none of it was later than 1900. That's right - it was all earlier than 1900. The only problem with paper that's this old is coming up with advertising images which are appropriate for the time period.

I only found one piece of Confectionery paper, and it's dated February 16, 1881. Montana was not a state, but Helena had a Candy Factory! I have yet to determine where in Helena the Montana Candy Factory was located, and I also have yet to determine where J. H. McKnight & Company was located, but I do note that whomever the Candy Factory employee was that sold this candy states on the bottom of the bill head that he "Will send by Gov Team". Apparently, it took men with weapons to deliver your candy in 1881!

In 1760, Jean Ettiene Liotard did a pastel entitled "La Belle Chocolatière". Liotard's model for the pastel was Anna Baltauf, the poor (literally) daughter of a Viennese knight and a chocolate server, who later married Austrian Prince Ditrichstein. The Prince fell in love with Anna one day when he chanced to go in a House of Chocolate shoppe. He later married her and had the pastel commissioned.

In 1852, Walter Baker, the man who founded Baker's Chocolate died and left the business in his will to his brother-in-law Sidney B. Williams and a nephew, Henry L. Pierce. Under the management of Williams and Pierce, Walter Baker & Company, grew into a large chocolate business near Dorchester, Massachusetts.

In 1881, while traveling in Europe, Henry Pierce saw the pastel of La Belle Chocolatiere in a gallery in Dresden, Germany. Immediately, he decided to adopt "this chocolate server" as the trademark for Walter Baker's.

I have a number of bill heads from after the turn of the century which list Baker's Chocolate as a line item, and I intend to portray the Baker's Chocolate Lady on more than one of them. This paper was in such good shape that I simply couldn't resist doing this one as a first effort.

I obtained the image for this rendition from Susan E at This Old Paper, and she's getting a Thank You as soon as I'm through posting this.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lana from Montana

Well not really, but Lana (a good friend of ours) found this piece of paper in an Antique Mall, although I despise doing business with malls (too many ways to cut the pie to get a decent piece at a decent price). This was another over-the-phone purchase, whereby she described it and I decided if I wanted it - at any price. I think there must have been at least two if not three phone calls on this paper hunt, but I decided I had to have it because I already knew what I was going to put on it.

Closset & Devers sold Coffee and other slightly more perishable goods out of their Portland, Oregon, facility. The Kerr Glass Company (of Economy Fruit Jar fame, also of Portland) produced glass jars for Closset & Devers Golden West Coffee Brand, and I was given one of these jars by my good fruit jar collecting friend, Larry Munson. It has a lithographic label on it, and I plucked the Cowgirl off of it (figuratively speaking) and used REAL gold leaf for the Golden West lettering. I am really, really happy with the PVA I purchased as a raising compound. I can letter the whole shebang with no concern about time-to-tack because you activate the tack with your breath. It sucks up the gold and allows me to apply a good burnish no matter how much 'pillowing' I'm looking for.

I'm really happy with the results, and thank you Lana for finding this nice piece of paper.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

PFF #11 First Date

Marie's idea of a theme this week is MAIL Babies. My contribution predates the baby delivery thing by more than 9 months, or at least it should. I actually decided to post this one after looking at the Tattered and Lost EPHEMERA blog all week, looking at early illustration advertisements for Coca-Cola.

This one was a lot of fun, although I chose early Fifties for the time period, I remember the Rockola booth Jukebox selectors from the Snack Shack in my hometown when it came time to do this cover. The title was also a play on words, since the Love stamp First Day of issue was the reason I did this in the first place.

And that's two paper straws and a single cherry in a cool, refreshing glass of ice cold Coca-Cola. Who gets the Cherry?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Uneeda Biscuit Boy #1

Another fabulous marketing marvel from the folks at Nabisco. Just where did the Biscuit Boy come from? The Uneeda Biscuit was the first use of the In-Er Seal packaging. The In-Er Seal package was a combination of waxed paper and cardboard, guaranteed to get mom's biscuit and cracker purchases home to her even in a driving rainstorm. Before Uneeda Biscuit was introduced by National Biscuit Company in 1898, crackers (and biscuits) were sold unbranded and packed loosely in barrels. Mothers would give their sons a paper bag and ask them to run down to the store and get the bag filled with crackers. National Biscuit Company used this as part of their Uneeda Biscuit advertising symbol which depicts a boy carrying a pack of Uneeda Biscuits in the rain. In 2009 (after over 110 years) Nabisco discontinued the Uneeda biscuit out of concern that the product was not as profitable as other product lines. What a shame. After discovering all there is to know about Uneeda, Ineeda Biscuit. Uneeda was also one of the first product names that used a compound, made up word.

This paper is once again a piece that came from the only biscuit factory in town, and the building, or at least the first two stories, still stands.