MastroNet December 2005
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
Victorian-era trade cards were originally intended to be collected in quantity and then mounted into scrapbooks. There, the items' beautiful designs and captivating themes would act as a custom-made gallery of history, pageantry and fantasy—not to mention remind the scrapbook-maker of the issuers' products and services with every turn of a page! Now, these trade cards were fashioned, generally, in small, manageable dimensions, both for economy in manufacture and to enable the fastening of large numbers of pieces onto pages of finite size and number. A trade card having the proportions, appearance and substance of the one here offered—clearly, the granddaddy of them all!—was, for obvious reasons, almost never encountered. And even fewer survived the close of the 19th Century. This is the absolute flagship of the genre, a visually overwhelming trade card produced by a grocery monolith to honor the 20th U.S. President, James A. Garfield. It's difficult to reconcile the notion that The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company ("A&P") would risk a portion of its clientele's affections by endorsing a partisan politician, so it's doubtful that this fabulous item was created to abet a campaign. Rather, it's likely that it constitutes a spectacular, respectful remembrance of Garfield, who was felled by an assassin's bullet in 1881 after barely a half-year in office. Constructed in the shape of an artist's palette (on extra-thick, die-cut cardboard) the outsized advertisement measures a bit over 10-1/2" in length. Delectable colors complement its central portrait, and the item features a detailed, wood-grain background motif on both sides. The reverse carries a list of A&P branches as well as a big-lettered boast about the firm's prominence in the tea and coffee markets. With evidence of handling limited to a couple of tiny, essentially trivial edge chips and a nearly invisible tack-hole at the top edge, the card presents at the EX/MT level. The offered item's design is illustrated in Sullivan's Collecting Political Americana (1991 Edition) at Plate 59. An extreme rarity, and a real treasure of vintage Americana!
Gigantic (10-1/2-Inch!) 1880's James Garfield A&P Trade Card
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