Chromolithograph Album Card Set, "Street Scenes in New York"
Chromolithograph Album Card Set, "Street Scenes in New York"

Chromolithograph Album Card Set, "Street Scenes in New York"

Boston: L. Prang and Company, [1868]. Unbound. This is a complete set of 12 album cards. Each measures 2.5” x 4”. All are in nice shape with light soiling at the corners. In the company’s product list published in the April, 1869 issue of Prang’s Chromo, the set is titled, “Street Scenes in New York.”

The cards depict a variety of people that could be seen on the city’s streets. They are individually titled:

1) “The Drum Major” – A finely uniformed drum major with faint images of other musicians in the background.

2) “The Convoy Over Broadway” - A uniformed man helping two women and a young girl cross the street.

3) “Emigrants Just Arrived” – A mother with babe in arms and two young children carrying small bundles.

4) "Muddy Street" – A beautifully dressed young woman lifting her skirt while walking her beribboned dog.

5) "The Fruit Pedlar" – An African-American woman carrying two baskets, one filled with apples.

6) “French Nurse” – A prim and proper nanny with two well-dressed children, standing in front of a lion statue (looks a little like one of the famous New York Public Library lions, but that can’t be as ‘Patience’ and ‘Fortitude’ weren’t carved until 1911).

7) "Newspaper Boy 'Tribune Sir?'" – A street urchin waits with outstretched palm while a top-hatted businessman pulls a coin from his waistcoat.

8) "The Old Coin Merchant" – A seated man sits by his kiosk while a soldier and two other men examine his inventory as a basket-carrying girl walks between them.

9) "On Broadway" A well-dressed swell and a fashionable young women walk down the sidewalk past window-shoppers.

10) "The Street Singers" – An accordion-playing woman and her two children, one with a tambourine, perform in front of display of broadsides.

11) "Street Musician" – A grizzled organ-grinder and his monkey perform as a family looks on.

12) "Walking Advertisement Balloon Seller” – A ragged young street seller with a bunch of red balloons attempts to speak with a tired, worn-out man advertising an all-weather coat and hat by wearing one festooned with large slogans testifying to its quality. Very good. Item #009191

Prang was an American pioneer in color printing who first gained fame selling Civil War maps. In 1864, he traveled to Germany to learn about cutting-edge German chromolithography. Upon his return, Prang began producing a variety of color prints and card sets, specifically sold to be mounted in company-produced albums or scrapbooks.

A very attractive and exceptionally scarce set of early cards. Burdick’s American Card Catalog identifies this set (W70), as one of the seven most desirable sets of album cards, much less common than Prang’s “Views of Central Park,” other landscape series, or animal sets. As of 2019, there is one other set for sale in the trade as part of a larger Prang collection. The Rare Book Hub shows no records reflecting any auction sales. OCLC shows that only one incomplete set is held at an institution, the American Antiquarian Society.

Price: $2,000.00

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