Unusual Printing Specimen Book

Including Examples Done by Texas Lithographers

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499. [PRINTING SPECIMENS]. Scrapbook into which have been pasted approximately 100 specimens of checks and other financial instruments on seventy-one sheets; one blotter laid in. Contemporary blue pebble cloth. [Zacatecas, ca. 1910]. Oblong 12mo (12 x 28 cm). The instruments are either punch cancelled or stamped as specimens to prevent their being actually used. Overall in fine condition.

     Apparently collected and assembled by Zacatecas printer Miguel Espinosa, whose small purple ink stamp appears on many of the specimens. Includes sample checks from Mexico (27), the United States (58), Canada (1), Italy (1), Egypt (1), France (2), Greece (2), and Cuba (1). There are two examples of U.S. coupons, three ads from Mexico, one U.S. blotter, and one Mexican blotter. Among the companies represented are:

Banco de Jalisco
American Bank of Torreón
Banque Commercial de Grèce
Crédit Lyonnais
Border National Bank (Eagle Pass, Texas)
Banco Nacional de México
S. Balbin y Valle (Cienfuegos, Cuba)
Allegheny Steel Company
Wagoner Light & Power (Indian Territory)
Puente Oil Company
Standard Vitrified Brick Company
San Francisco Breweries
Wade Cook Cigar Stores (coupon)
Trenton Brewing Company
Wells Fargo Bank
State of Pennsylvania
B. Arnaud & F. Champenois (French printers)
Hartje Brothers Paper Manufacturers
Eureka Fire Hose Company
Gillette Safety Razor (New York)
Peerless Wire Fence Company
Gillette Safety Razor (Canada)
Willotta Ranch
Ohio Dairy Company
General Electric Company
Schmidt Lithograph Company
Indian Head National Bank
Givens Packing Company (Corpus Christi, Texas)

     The printing firms represented in the collection and the number of their samples are:

American Bank Note Co., New York City (1)
Artcraft, Detroit (1)
B. Arnaud, Lyons & Paris (19)
George D. Barnard (St. Louis) (3)
Boston Bank Note Co. (2)
Bouligny & Schmidt, Mexico City (1)
Buxton & Skinner, St. Louis (4)
Calvert, Detroit (2)
Clarke & Courts, Galveston (4)
Corlies, Macy, New York City (3)
Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ketucky (3)
Dietzer-Sale, Buffalo, New York (2)
Elliott, Philadelphia (4)
Gast Bank Note Co., St. Louis (2)
Gillies, Rochester (1)
William H. Hoskins, Philadelphia (1)
Los Angeles Litho. (4)
[Samuel] Maverick-Clarke, San Antonio (8)
Schmidt, San Francisco (7)
Smith, Toledo (2)
Union Bank Note Co., Kansas City (4)
Union Litho, San Francisco (3)
Ware Brothers (1)
Western Bank Note, Chicago (2)

     The range of styles is interesting and instructive. By far the most elaborate use of line, color, and layout are the examples done by Arnaud. In fact, the most stunning example in the sample book is one of their ads done in conjunction with F. Champenois for agent Armando Hugens in Mexico City. The next examples, simpler in design and color, are generally those by U.S. firms. Instead of overly emphasizing fancy lines, these printers tend to prefer vignettes, such as buildings or farm scenes. The simplest designs are those by other U.S. printers, such as Maverick & Clarke, whose work is fairly straightforward and unadorned. Nevertheless, all the samples do incorporate certain levels of complications as a guard against forgery.

     This collection is a fine example of an important but quotidien part of normal business transactions. It goes without saying that millions of such instruments have been printed over the centuries since the invention of the printing press. Such a tranche de vie as the present example, however, is an unusual survival for Mexico.


Sold. Hammer: $200.00; Price Realized: $245.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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