Ephemera 23 Auction

Since its founding in 1980, the Ephemera Society has held auctions whose proceeds have funded our many and various programs. Last year at Ephemera 22, the society's annual conference and fair, the benefit auction raised more than $6,000.

On Saturday, March 15, 2003, at 8:00 PM at Ephemera 23, the society will again conduct an auction and all income derived from sales will underwrite the organization's educational programs. The auctioneer will be Gary Garland from Swann Galleries.

Growing from 52 lots in 2002, this year's auction includes 163 lots of items, all having been generously donated by society members.

Lot number 1 is a wonderful way to begin the festivities. Not a piece of paper ephemera, but rather a guided tour, auction participants will have an opportunity to win a tour for four through the Carnegie Hall archives in New York City. Archivist Gino Francesconi, who single-handedly built the collection that he oversees, will conduct a behind the scenes look, as well as offering commentary about the items on display at the Rose Museum, the hall's gallery display area.

Bidders who are interested in the history of Carnegie Hall should also be drawn to lot 23, two tickets to a forthcoming concert at Carnegie Hall. Ticket choices will be subject to availability.

The earliest item of ephemera open to bids is a 17th century copperplate engraved print of Native Americans by de Bry; it is offered together with an issue of one of the earliest magazines published in American colonial times, The Christian History, from Boston, dated December 3, 1743.

More recent 20th century items include scarce photo cards of 39 Russian cosmonauts, President Carter's inauguration program from 1977, a lot of ten items relating to Punch magazine, and a stylistically creative 1964 ski poster for Jay Peak in Vermont.

The famous are represented: checks and a letter from Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, a 1908 autograph book from the United States Senate, and autographs of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, military figure Gen. Mark Clark, baseball player Stan Musial, and actor Lloyd Bridges.

A ledger records four year's worth of expenses incurred by Jacob F. Kreps as a cadet at the US Military Academy, West Point, class of 1883. A map of Polynesia from 1873, published by Edward Stanford, Charing Cross, London, is printed in black with highlights in yellow and red, the waters beautifully shaded in blue. More than 1,100 cigar bands in two loose-leaf notebooks comprise another lot; most of the bands are of conventional size, but two large ones are of special interest, showing as they do multi-colored head portraits of striking young women. There is a bibliography in two volumes, Shaker Literature, by Mary Richmond, Published by Hancock Shaker Village in 1977. And another special lot consists of a lot of 14 Oriental paintings on rice paper chiefly showing trades.

Collectors of nineteenth century lithography should be especially interested in two lots. Charles Magnus, an enterprising and most prolific publisher of games, stationery, landscapes, and cityscapes is represented by a sheet of Central Park, New York scenery, including 16 oval depictions in shades of blue, green, and black, all on a cherry red background. The firm of Currier & Ives, well known for its romanticized views of American life, is represented by two trade cards. "The Trotting King" advertises C.C. Warren, Waterbury, Vt., maker of harness and rein leathers, and "Trotter Trinket" advertises Vulcan horseshoe nails, said to have had no equal.

Not all of the items being offered for auction are paper ephemera. Forty-two magic lantern glass slides from the early 20th century stored in a wooden container illustrate China, Bangkok, Gibraltar, Pompeii, Egypt, and other worldwide locations. There is a nicely illustrated silk of George Washington accompanied by a manuscript which dates the silk to 1814. And there is a wooden cigar box with a colored pictorial label inside its lid of a scene in Syracuse, NY, showing the Erie Canal, a trolley, several early automobiles, and the Gridley Building.

Rounding out the auction are valentines and other greeting cards, stereo cards, calling cards, scrapbooks, prints, advertisements, real photo postcards, and other items that ephemerists have come to value.

Members of the Ephemera Society received a 36-page illustrated catalog of the auction in early February with instructions for submitting bids by mail, preview dates and times, and further particulars.

Join us for the auction on March 15, 2003 at Ephemera 23. We are gathering once again at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Greenwich, Ct., located just minutes from I95 and close to the town's train station.

E. Richard McKinstry
Past President

[This article originally appeared in the Northeast Journal of Antiques & Art.]

   © 2011 The Ephemera Society of America