Friday, March 8, 2013

Butterfly Planet

It looks a bit like Animal Planet here today, but they're only paper butterflies. The colorful die-cut trade card above is a particularly nice chromolithograph specimen, dating from 1860 to 1870 and is about 8 inches wide. It was printed by the Brett Litho Co. of NY, which had a very colorful history itself. The entire collection of butterfly trade cards seen here was a recent eBay listing. I hope the buyer intends to put them under glass. Considering their age and condition (and their final bidding price) they certainly deserve to be.

This chromolith specimen was printed by the Donaldson Brothers of Five Points, NY. and likely dates between 1870 and 1890. The flip side is a particularly fine specimen of typographic achievement for the merchant H.O'Neill & Co.; makers of hats and bonnets for the ladies. Like most all job printing goes, these trade cards were designed in-house by highly skilled employees of the individual printers who specialized in artful printing of the period. Together, the combined talents of these brilliant artists and job printers invented the notion of advertising as we once knew it. How have we gone so far astray since then? 


  1. Gracious! Another confusion of (mostly) moths as butterflies, a kinda goofy-looking Saturniid moth to start off with. :) (I'll write via your home e-mail soon.) T

  2. I knew that! I was just baiting you Tom. But have you ever seen such moth specimens as these with the lettering on them? Science is SO amazing.


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