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The California pictorial letter sheet provides the best visual

chronicle of the California Gold Rush and the golden

decades of the 1850s and 1860s. Imprinted on sheets of

writing paper were views of rough-and-ready mining

camps, Argonauts panning for gold in the boiling Sierra

foothills sun, pioneers pushing their way across the conti-

nent, terrifying city fires, vigilance committees marching

down San Francisco streets, and California’s spectacular

natural wonders.... Joseph Baird, in his monumental

Califor-

nia’s Pictorial Letter Sheets 1849-1869

, wrote: “Manifestly,

the pictorial letter sheet of California was an extraordinary

phenomenon—unparalleled in development anywhere else

in the United States.” This phenomenon, which grew out of

the Gold Rush, satisfied an urgent need to communicate....

California pictorial letter sheets...served to graphically tell

the story of the Golden State during its most crucial decade.

Recognizing their importance, historians and picture

researchers have used them to illustrate countless books,

articles, exhibits, and films. Because of their direct linkage

to the California Gold Rush and their charm, rarity, and

visual quality, institutions and collectors alike have long

prized them.—Gary F. Kurutz

12. [CALIFORNIA PICTORIAL LETTER SHEET].

Dividing the Pile

[upper illustration, four miners in a cabin

weighing gold, one stands at left and weighs gold dust over a

gold pan; of the three seated, one watches the weighing care-

fully, the others smoke as they await the outcome];

Hard Road

to Travel

[lower illustration, miner on mountain trail with

packed mules]; [below border]:

Lith & Pub. by Britton & Rey,

Cor Mont & Comm

l.

S

ts.

[upper right]:

7

. Lithograph, double

sheet, white wove. Fine.

Baird 54. Peters,

California on Stone

, p. 69. Britton & Rey

numbered series.

($250-500)

and will be let to mares at the low price of $15 COMET is 7 years

old this spring, 17 hands high, and for form is not surpassed by any

horse in the State. He is a fine deep sorrel, and sired by Old Comet of

Ky. I have lost his Pedigree, but suffice it to say, he was a fine a horse

as I ever saw. Young Comet’s Dam was sired by Bertrand, he by the

celebrated Running Bertrand of Ky., and out of a sister of Woodpeck-

er’s Mother, raised by Col. Buford of Ky., his grand dam by Hambel-

tonion, great dam of Tup Imported. Further Description is unneces-

sary, as the horse is here to show for himself, and I will be ready to

show him at any time. Please call and see for yourselves. Great care

will be taken to prevent accidents, but responsible for none. Tramuel

Conn.

[Dated at end]:

Gonzales

[

Texas

]

, March 15, 1855

.

Broadside printed in five different type fonts. Several moderate

stains, professional reinforcement at folds (minor losses to

blank areas). Manuscript note in ink offering $50 prize for the

best colt shown on the fourth day of the Court in Gonzalez in

October 1846. Preserved in a half burgundy morocco and

maroon cloth slip case with matching chemise.

This type of stud advertisement is rare, especially for

Texas. Not in Winkler.

($1,000-2,000)

Item 12

CALIFORNIA PICTORIAL LETTER SHEETS