Friday, November 13, 2015

Lindbergh Air Mail

This is a First Day Cover for the 10 Cent Air Mail stamp released to the public four weeks after Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic. It is believed that although he was offered $1,000 to carry a small package of mail, he declined because of his concern for weight. It is also believed that he did carry a total of five covers, and only two of those have ever come to market.

There was a huge surge in promotions of Lindbergh's name on everything from a dance to cookies, but the National Biscuit Company didn't create a Lindy Snap. This piece is what is called a Corner Card, carrying the name of the business in the upper left hand corner of the envelope serving as a return address. The image is taken from a cigar box label under the company name of Mazer-Cressman of Detroit, Michigan.

Now that this piece is finished, it's flying off to the patron who commissioned it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Watch Me Soak It.

Another commissioned cachet for a long-time patron of mine who happens to collect the first U. S. stamp celebrating the centennial of baseball. I've done a number of these for him, and I've still more to do. This particular image is from a tobacco card using a caricature representation of Hall of Fame power hitter Dan Brouthers.

I'm including a photo image I gleaned from the web while I was researching the tobacco card. I discovered that the artist apparently was unaware that Dan batted left his entire career. He dominated 19th-Century baseball by winning 5 batting titles and two home run titles during his career. Some little known facts about the man: He accidentally killed a fellow baseball player while sliding into home plate when he was 19 years old. He was the vice president of the first baseball players union. He briefly held the record for the most career home runs before it was broken by Babe Ruth.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Home Run firecrackers

Another commissioned First Day Cover for the same patron who commissioned me to do the Brownie Nine cover. I've done firecrackers before...The links to my previous efforts are here, here and here. Doing the packages is a lot of fun, as the images used are brightly colorful and imaginative.

I have a third First Day of Issue cover that was serviced for Mr. Kleinod, and I haven't decided what I'm going to put on it. Perhaps another baseball themed cigar label...

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.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Irish Jig on a Pig

Hams. This Irish Brownie is hamming it up. A little history is in order, and for the record, I have several more pieces of this Swift & Company paper that will hopefully keep me high on the hog for awhile.

Simeon R. Buford drove an ox team to Virginia City, Montana Territory, in 1865 at the ripe old age of nineteen. He started a freight business on a route from Fort Benton to Virginia City. When the Union Pacific Railroad reached Corrine, Utah Territory, he began hauling freight from Corrine to Virginia City, as the railroad was a more reliable source of transportation that the steamboat.

In 1878 he opened a mercantile business in partnership with Henry Elling, and built the largest mercantile business in Montana in 1900. This billhead is for hams - $20.00 worth. Swift & Company had a Butte processing plant, and I'm assuming that the ham was transported to Virginia City by freight wagon.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Footprints Success

I had eleven Thank You cards to send after the Western Heritage Artists Footprints on the Trail Art Show and Sale this year. This first one was not a sale, but a gift. These folks bought the very first piece of old paper that I framed up and sold off the wall at an antique show here in Helena. They've been patrons ever since. They came to my room this year and gave me a color proof sheet from the second printing of "Good Medicine", which was a compilation of illustrated letters and envelopes by Charlie Russell. The proof sheet is old and brittle and stained in a couple of places, but it is like gold to me.

The second is to the patron who purchased My Brownie Baking Company piece which I did for the Quick Finish on Thursday evening, and a fun piece it was! He wanted the Chocolate as much as Uncle Sam did.

The third is to the patron who purchased My Breakfast Brownie piece on Saturday evening at the Art for Causes Quick Finish and Auction. And a lively auction it was! Our primary cause this year was Breast Cancer Awareness and we raised over $11,000.

To call this year's show a success is an understatement. And to top it all off, we welcomed a new grandchild to the family at 11:00 AM on Sunday, the last day of the show. Her name is Celine.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cannon Crax for Virginia City

C. W. Rank & Company prepared for the 1904 4th of July celebration in Virginia City by ordering some 'crax' from the Passmore Paper Company in Butte, Montana. Don't you always go to your stationery store to buy your fireworks? Just another piece that I'll have in my room for the Western Heritage Art Show and Sale in Great Falls, Montana, from March 18th through the 22nd.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Want Your Chocolate!

For this year's Western Heritage Art Show & Sale, I will be participating in two events: The Quick Finish and Auction on Thursday evening, and the Quick Finish and Live Auction on Saturday evening. I have not yet decided which one of these I will be doing for which event, so I could use some assistance from the audience.

I realize that  these images are not really 'finished', but that's the idea behind the Quick Finish events. Potential patrons get to watch more than twenty of us put forty-five minutes to good use.

The Thursday evening event supports the Western Heritage Artists by raising funds to defray the cost of putting on the five day show. The Saturday evening event is called Art Competing for Causes, and this year we are supporting Breast Cancer Awareness along with other worthy causes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Coaled Feet Too

This is the second of two letterheads that I acquired from the Waterworks Art & Heritage Center in Miles City, Montana, in the Spring of 2012. The Custer County Historical Society was forced to close their office, and the folks at the Art & Heritage Center allowed me to purchase any paper that I found that was of interest to me.

The letter itself is a bid submitted to the City for coal, delivered by rail from the mines mostly West and a bit North of Miles City by approximately 225 miles.

I completed the first of the two letterheads in July of 2012, and I posted it in early August. That piece sold in September of 2012 at auction to support the Waterworks Art & Heritage Center. This one will be going to the Footprints on the Trail art show and sale in Great Falls, Montana, opening the 18th of this month for four days.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sugar Coated, Nickel Plated Ceegars

The Morris Brothers were here in Helena so early their business didn't even have an address, save for Main Street. This is a piece of billhead/letterhead that I acquired by trade from a patron who purchased one piece of J. H. McKnight paper from me, and commissioned me to put my art work on another similar piece which he supplied.

The only thing that the Morris Brothers didn't sell was whiskey, although I doubt that the whiskey was very far from their front door.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Old School Canoe

In March of 2013 during Western Art Week in Great Falls, Montana, one of my patrons brought me a piece of advertising from the Old Town Canoe Company. Their request was that I put some of my art work on this letterhead. Included in the envelope with this sales letter were two pieces of canvas so that potential customers could see and feel the difference between the quality and durability of their competitor's finished product, and that of the Old Town handcrafted canoe.

I investigated old advertising of the period and tried a number of different designs using that advertising to come up with an image I was satisfied which would fit on this piece of letterhead. The harder I tried, the bigger the funk.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I had a recollection of a C. M. Russell illustrated letter which depicted a Kootenai Indian canoe. I have a copy of the Brian Dippie book, C. M. Russell, Word Painter. It didn't take me long to find it.

This is the (cropped) first page of a two page letter Russell wrote to Philip Goodwin in October of 1907. The canoe in the upper right hand corner was done from a model constructed by a fellow from Kalispell, and it is still in the Museum in Great Falls. Russell explained in the letter that since the model had no 'thorts' (thwarts), it was not of much use as a model. I was torn. I didn't stay that way for very long.

The patrons who commissioned me to do this piece were the very first folks to purchase one of my pieces of old paper art. That art depicted another C. M. Russell piece, the original which sold in 2008 for over $5 million dollars. I delivered Old School a couple of weeks ago. They're happy, and so am I.