A Ride to SchoolChristmas Snow

Currier and Ives Original Prints
from the collection of:

George Cohenour
4301 Beaumont Road
Dover, PA 17315

Phone: (717) 292-5345

Orders & Information, e-mail: cohenour@currierprints.com


Information from "CURRIER & IVES LITHOGRAPHS VALUE GUIDE" 


REPRODUCTIONS

Reproductions of Currier & Ives started in the 1930’s and continues today. Currier’s images have been used in all manners. Some usage’s have been for soap, after shave lotion, playing cards, Southern Comfort Whiskey, beer, Christmas cards, dinner ware, calendars, stove top covers, and the list goes on. Currier did not make or authorize any of these reproductions. All the work produced by the firm was on a sheet of paper, with most designed to be framed and enjoyed.

Many of his lithographs have also been reproduced the way they were designed, on paper for framing. These are the prints that at times we need help in determining, if it is a reproduction or an original.. "Original", defined, means the print was lithographed by Currier while the firm was still in business.

WAYS TO TELL AN ORIGINAL

Currier & Ives Lithographs have a certain look. After handling them for a while, you can spot that look over some distance making this extremely useful when attending large antique shows. If however you have just become interested in collecting, inherited, or found a Currier & Ives Lithograph you will want a faster way to determine if it is an original or reproduction.

Many times the answer is already on the print. If there is wording stating it is "reprinted from", "reproduction of", "from the collection of", "courtesy of", "printed in the USA" or wording similar there is no need to check any further. The same is true if your print is made by, "The Mississippi Lime Co.", "Artistic Picture Publishing Co.", "Columbus Bank Note Co.", "Donnelly & Sons", Donald Art Co., etc. these statements are only found on reproductions

Not every printing firm was so kind as to put this information or their name on their product so to further our investigation we can consult a reference book for information about the complete title and image size.

There are two very good reference books available for this purpose. "Currier & Ives Prints An Illustrated Check List" by Frederic A. Conningham which is out of print and "Currier & Ives A Catalogue Raisonne’" by Gale Research also out of print.

If the wording does not exactly match that found in these reference books most likely it is a reproduction. Please be aware however, we are finding new titles and variations of a title so you should review some of the other determining factors.

The vast majority of Currier's titles were only made in one folio size.. There are some exceptions to this and those are mainly Trade Cards. If you find a print that does not correspond to the folio size of other known Originals of the same title the print should be considered suspect.

Not to confuse you but depending on which reference book you are using will determine how the print is measured. If using Conningham the image size is determined by measuring the outside of the picture area or from black line to black line, in sixteenths of an inch. If using Gale the size is determined by measuring the outside of the picture area or from black line to black line and to the bottom of all the text, in tenths of an inch.

If one of the measurements is off, usually the longest measurement of a large folio, by more than 3/8 inch or its counter part in tenths then the print probably isn't an original. This figure allows for the shrinkage of the paper over the years.  Please note that medium and small folio prints shrink in proportion.to their size.

Some times it is necessary to check both guides. Since Gale choose to include all the text in their measurement, if a print is missing the lower publication line, your measurement will be short. 

The paper used to produce a print is another way to tell if it is an original. Currier used a cotton based, medium to heavy weight paper depending on the folio size for his prints until the late 1860’s. From about 1870, Currier & Ives used paper mixed with a small amount of wood pulp. Reproductions are made on mostly all wood pulp paper, which is usually thinner and has an applied finish.

If you are looking at one of the better reproductions the print may have past the above requirements yet still is not an original. One of the best and fastest ways to tell a reproduction is to look at the inking of the print.

Currier’s inking process resembles a mixture of elongated splotches and dashes of ink with a few spots. For an exaggerated view, shake ink from a fountain pen onto a piece of paper, while still wet, run a rolling pin over it.

Reproductions are most likely to have been produced using a modern printing process. There are many printing types but almost all are made up of some form of geometrical pattern be it dots in a row, a dot surrounded by semi circles, etc. If you can see a printing pattern it is a reproduction.

RESTRIKES FROM STONES THAT SURVIVED

In 1907 when the firm was liquidated most of the lithographic stones had the image removed and were sold by the pound with some stones final home as land fill in Central Park. Those few stones that managed to survive intact were of large folio Clipper Ships, small folio Dark Town Comics, a medium folio "Abraham Lincoln" and a small folio "Washington As A Mason". Most of the later prints – restrikes - pulled from these stones have the name of the new publisher, Joseph Koehler or S. Lipshitz added to the print and are easy to spot.

Max Williams, who bought 6 large folio stones of Clipper Ships, did not add his name to the print. This makes them slightly more difficult to tell from the original.. Points to look for are the restrikes from these stones are not of Curriers printing quality, the applied water coloring is light by comparison making the print look washed out, and the paper is of a thinner wood pulp base.

Titles and publication dates of these prints are:

Clipper Ship Dreadnought ‘Off Sandy Hook’ 1854
Clipper Ship Dreadnought ‘Off Tuskar Light’ 1856
Clipper Ship Flying Cloud 1852
Clipper Ship Ocean Express ‘Outward Bound’ 1856
Clipper Ship Sweepstakes 1853
Clipper Ship Three Brothers 1875

These above mentioned prints, even though made after the firm went out of business, do have value because they were printed using an original stone. Most of the Dark Town comics are valued at 75% of an original Currier print in the same condition

The prints done by Max Williams, however, because of their lessor quality are valued between $1200 – $1800 when margins are  1 1/2" and the coloring is very good.

THE BEST REPRODUCTIONS

Of all the companies that reproduced Currier & Ives Lithographs the one firm that stands out is Andres’ Inc. of New York. Andres’ produced their prints in the early 1940’s and stopped production when War broke out. Their prints made with the collotype printing process reproduced the image of the original down to the original lithographic inking making them very hard to distinguish. The print was then water colored based on Currier’s original color scheme.. These prints are now old enough for the paper to have developed some of the problems associated with antique prints, age toning, foxing, water stains, back board stains,etc.

To identify these prints first find an area that is neutral, not light or dark. Using a magnifying glass look at and between the inking.. Currier’s inking is well defined and looking between the splotches of ink through the coloring you can see clearly to the paper. Looking at an Andres’ the inking does not appear sharp and looking through the coloring there is a slightly grayish haze. Depending on the strength of your magnifier, you can see a very fine line connecting the inking.

Below are the 20 titles, as shown on the print, Andres’ reproduced with this system. Please note some titles are different from the original making it much easier to distinguish as an Andres’.

Across The Continent
American Express Train
The American National Game of Baseball
American Winter Scenes – Evening
American Winter Scenes – Morning
Central Park – Skating Pond
Clipper Ship "Sweepstakes"
Clipper Ship – "Red Jacket"
High water on the Mississippi"
Home to Thanksgiving
Hudson Highlands
Landscape Fruit and Flowers
The Lightning Express Trains
Low Water on the Mississippi
May Morning
New England Winter Scene
The Old Grist Mill
The Road – Winter
Seasons of Life – Childhood
Seasons of Life – Middle Age

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A Ride to SchoolChristmas Snow

Currier and Ives Original Prints
from the collection of:

George Cohenour
4301 Beaumont Road
Dover, PA 17315

Phone: (717) 292-5345

Orders & Information, e-mail: cohenour@currierprints.com

Currier & Ives Prints: Listing of currently available original prints
Print Consignments: Have a print you wish to sell ?
Collectors Books: Books dealing with the firm of Currier & Ives
Birds Eye Maple Frames: Custom Cut, Pricing & Samples
Conservation & Restoration: Describes Problems & Treatments
Restoration Examples: Photos show what can be done
Restoration Estimate Sheet: Helps with determining costs
Currier & Ives Lithographs Home Page

All Text and Images  1998-2009
George Cohenour, All Rights Reserved