Clipper Ship Cards Sale

Tomorrow at PBA Galleries, a fantastic collection of seventy clipper ship sailing cards goes on sale (pun intended). Pictured here is one highlight: a card for the clipper ship Sparkling Wave, in the Merchants' Express Line, 1859, printed on porcelain coated stock, with color wood-engraved illustration. It is estimated at $2,000-3,000.

ClipperShip,jpg.jpgAccording to the American Antiquarian Society, "The publication of clipper ship sailing cards began in 1853 and continued through the Civil War, reflecting the enormous increase in commerce between the east and west coasts after the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in California." The ephemeral cards were made for advertising ship departures--"Current Rates and No Deception"--and they often feature full-color illustrations and beautiful design. AAS also notes that those cards which carry an imprint reveal that just three printing offices issued most of them: Nesbitt & Company and Watson & Clark of New York and John H. Bufford of Boston. The one seen above is a Nesbitt production.

The PBA auction also includes more than two hundred lots of Americana, Californiana, and maps. Check out the full catalogue here: