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AUCTION 20

113. [SAN FRANCISCO]. HESS, Frederick. [Central vignette title] San Francisco. [below neat line at right] Frederick Hess, Publisher, San Francisco. | Orders for Engraving on steel promptly executed. N.p., n.d. [Baird suggests end of 1860s based on architecture]. Steel-engraved panoramic view surrounded by 12 vignettes of landmarks: Merchant’s Exchange.; Montgomery Street.; Kearny Street.; Masonic Temple.; Bank of California.; S.F. Savings Union Building.; Cal. S.S.N. Co’s Wharf.; Bush Street.; California Street.; Nuceleus [sic] Hotel.; Fireman’s Fund Ins Building.; Lincoln School. Letter sheet format, folded (as issued), to 4 pp., on thin wove paper, uncolored. Overall sheet: 30.8 x 49.7 cm. Image, neat line to neat line: 14.9 x 22.4 cm. Other than slight discoloration along fold, very fine.

     See preceding entry. Baird, California Pictorial Letter Sheets 232 (noting this was one of the last of the letter sheets, and remarking on letter sheets in general): "Manifestly, the pictorial letter sheet of California was an extraordinary phenomenon-unparalleled in development anywhere else in the United States." Gary Kurutz in the introduction to Henry H. Clifford’s letter sheet catalogue remarks: “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 foothill sun, pioneers pushing their way across the continent, terrifying city fires, vigilance committees marching down San Francisco streets, and California's spectacular natural wonders. Because of this union of pictures with stationery, historians call the letter sheet the forerunner of the modern picture postcard.... Artists delineated the mushrooming growth of Queen Calafia's cities, towns, and mining camps. Together these form a remarkable visualization of urban development not found elsewhere in the country.” ($500-1,000)

Sold. Hammer: $500.00; Price Realized: $587.50

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