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American History Packed into One Ephemera Collection

The dictionary defines ephemera as “collectibles (as posters, broadsides and tickets) not intended to have lasting value.” However, these items have indeed become valuable as snippets of history like those found in a time capsule, only in better condition. This week we present a representative collection of ephemera spanning the 20th century. Take a look at some of the outstanding pieces below.

Interest in space exploration and travel is firing up again, and demand from collectors is at an all-time high. A collectible from the NASA space shuttle era is a crew-signed STS-38 launch date cover. The commemorative envelope is dated Nov. 15 1990, the day Space Shuttle Atlantis, on her seventh voyage, carried a classified payload for the U.S. Department of Defense. The cover is signed by Richard O. Covey and crew.

NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis mission STS-38 launch date crew-signed cover. Estimate: $80-$100. Jasper52 image

 

The resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974 as a result of the Watergate cover-up was a dark moment in U.S. history. A limited-edition commemorative broadside marking the swearing in of Vice President Gerald R. Ford as the 38th U.S. president on August 9, 1974 marked a fresh start for the nation.

Limited-edition broadside of President Gerald R. Ford swearing-in ceremony for the 38th president of the United States, Aug. 9, 1974, numbered 114/175, 15 x 22 in. Estimate: $115-$130. Jasper52 image

 

The broadside includes the full text of the president’s swearing in address, which reads in part: “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here, the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice, but mercy. … let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and hate.”

Going back to the early 1950s is a four-page sales brochure from the Ravenswood Novelty Works of Ravenswood, West Virginia, for its glass marbles. The cover photo features boys playing a game of marbles, while the other pages picture “American-made quality marbles.”

Four-page sales brochure for “American made quality marbles” by the Ravenswood Novelty Works of Ravenswood, W.Va., page size about 8 1/2 x 11 in. Estimate: $55-$75. Jasper52 image

 

Several lots date to the World War II era, including a group of 87 envelopes printed with patriotic scenes and mottos. All are unused and in very good condition. Some salute branches of the military, while others feature specific events or public figures. During the war patriotic mail was one of the many forms of support that helped sustain the morale of those abroad and at home.

Set of 87 different World War II patriotic envelopes. Estimate: $350-$400. Jasper52 image

 

Another WWII-era lot consists of four black and white photographs of U.S. Navy pilots in flight gear with their planes.

Early photographs of Native Americans are always of interest and this collection has two unusual examples. One is an 1880s magic lantern glass side of three girls from a Yuma, Arizona, tribe. Magic lanterns projected images on a screen for entertainment or educational purposes. No photographer’s name is stated, but the image is numbered “08” in similar fashion to Elias Bonine’s photographs of this era. A lesser-known photographer, Bonine established a studio in Yuma in 1881, where he produced images of local tribes in situations mostly staged for the benefit of the public.

Glass magic lantern slide picturing Native Americans from a Yuma, Arizona, tribe, 1880s, 3½ in. x 4 in. Estimate: $280-$300. Jasper52 image

 

The other photographic image of a Native American is the famous Chiricahua Apache leader Geronimo, taken by W.H. Martin in 1905 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The postcard bears a 1909 copyright, the year the Apache leader died.

Postcard of Apache leader Geronimo, photographed as a prisoner in 1909 by W.H. Martin, 3 3/8 x 5 3/8 in. Estimate: $180-$200. Jasper52 image

 

Also featured in this curated sale, is a collection over 60 20th century road maps and travel brochures. Take a look at the full auction here and enjoy.

Discover 19th Century United States in 13 Antiquarian Maps

One interesting way to understand historical picture is through antiquarian maps. Maps can tell stories with a unique geographical, objective perspective in a way no other medium can. And they make great wall art.

Today, we’re traveling back in time through these 13 historical maps of US states from the 19th century:

Florida, 1835

Map of Florida by Illustrator and Cartographer Thomas G. Bradford, First Edition, 1835. Estimate: $200-$250

 

Arkansas, 1841

‘Tanner Map of Arkansas – A New Map of Arkansas with its Canals Roads & Distances,’ Cartographer: Henry S. Tanner, 1841. Estimate: $200-$250

 

Atlas Map of Texas, 1873

Gray’s Atlas Map of Texas, Illustrator: O. W. Gray, 1873. Estimate: $250-$300

 

New York, 1846

A New Map of New York with its Canals, Roads & Distances, Cartographer S. Augustus Mitchell, Illustrator H. Burroughs, First Edition, 1846. Estimate: $150-$200

 

New Jersey, 1814

The State of New Jersey, Compiled from the Most Authentic Information, Cartographer M. Carey, 1814. Estimate: $600-$800

 

Illinois, 1874

Warner Beers Map of Illinois: Political and Geological – Political Map of Illinois / Worthen’s Geological and Climate Map of Illinois, ca 1874. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Indiana, 1846

A New Map of Indiana with Its Roads & Distances, Cartographer: S. Augustus Mitchell, Illustrator H.N. Burroughs, 1846. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Iowa, 1853

A New Map of the State of Iowa, Cartographer: S. Augustus Mitchell, Publisher: Thomas Cowperthwait & Co, 1853. Estimate: $150-$200

 

Nebraska & Kanzas, 1855

Nebraska and Kanzas, Cartographer: J. H. Colton, 1855. Estimate: $200-$250

 

Minnesota, 1882

Rand McNally Map of Minnesota – Rand McNally & Company’s Indexed Atlas of the World, 1882. Estimate: $100-$150

 

Ohio, 1887

J.T. Barker’s Rail Road and Township Map of Ohio, 1887. Estimate: $100-$150

 

California, 1892

New Business Atlas Map of California, Rand McNally, 1892. Estimate: $150-$200

 

Texas, 1883

Texas, Cartographer: George F. Cram, 1883. Estimate: $120-$200

 

Want to explore more of the United States or perhaps jump continents? Check out this week’s Antiquarian Map auction for beautiful map prints.