Member Blogs > ten pound island book companyI've Had It

  • Sat, 22 Sep 2012 07:48:15    Permalink

    (Clipper Ship Sailing Card, Wild Rover. See Below)
    OK. Ive had it. Im fried. Im cooked. Get the fork Im done.
    The gallery is hovering in suspension of disbelief, the lawns are mowed, the gardens tended, the house painted, Seattle Book Fair books sent to Seattle, purchases mailed to eager buyers, and Maritime List 213 dispatched to the printer. For the moment, at least, I dont want to look at another rare maritime book.Wife and I are headed up to the farm (See "Bookman's Log" for July 2, 2012 "The Feldman Archive.") and, with the exception of a chainsaw fandango or two, I might not do anything except stare into space. Im sure as hell not going to publish a blog this week. Oh, wait a minuteIn 1848, prior to the discovery of gold, three ships from the east coast called at San Francisco Bay. The following year over 700 arrived. As commerce increased speed became increasingly important, and the American clipper ship began the final phase of its development. 
     Clipper ship sailing cards saw their greatest use in the 1850s and 1860s, as the many ship lines competed to attract freight. Their bright colors and alluring designs were aimed at catching the eye of brokers and prospective shippers. In fact, these cards are historically significant as the earliest form of multicolor business advertising in America. In maritime history, they represent the golden age of wooden sailing ship technology. Since each card refers to a particular vessel, each is also a document of specific history pertaining to that vessel, listing such information as sailing time, port of origin, and captain. It has been estimated that only about 3000 clipper ship cards survive today, and most of these are in institutional collections. The two cards presented here escapees from Maritime List 213 are rare and outstanding example of the genre.WILD ROVER (pictured above) - This 1859 clipper card presents an iconic sail beats steam image - an increasingly desperate illusion propagated by the clipper ship industry. A fleet horseman (representing a speedy clipper ship) outpaces and even lassos the driver of a lumbering coal wagon (symbolizing a coal-fired steamship). Alas, the voyage advertised here was anything but speedy. Four times the Wild Rover passed Cape Horn, only to be blown back and forced to try again. She finally arrived in San Francisco almost six months after leaving New York. This card measures 6 3/8 x 4 1/8 inches and is printed by Nesbitt & Co. of New York. Save for a minor spot of discoloration in the upper left margin, it is in fine condition.  $3000
    BLACK WARRIOR - Dark skin, exotic battle dress, and palm trees come together for a dynamic warrior image of a black Moor of North Africa on this 1858 clipper card. Note that this card has the Black Warrior sailing in Wells & Emanuels Empire Line.  Wells & Emanuel cards are seen infrequently, as the company folded prior to the prime clipper card period of the early 1860s. This Black Warrior card is certainly rare - it is the only example known to exist. It measures 3 1/4 x 6 inches, and is in fine condition.  $2500
    Next week Staring Into Space. Part II

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