Currier & Ives American Express Train (1870) - A Clear Gem!
Currier & Ives prints from the 19th century are highly marketable and sought after by collectors. Working from1834-1907, Nathaniel Currier's (American, 1813-1888) lithography printing firm, Currier & Ives, printed approximately 1,000,000 prints of over 7,000 different subjects. Images included genre scenes, illustrations of progressive technology, American nationalism, historical scenes and even leisure activities. Our May auction features American Express Train (1870)
Here, the printing firm has chosen to depict the advancement of technology. Society of the 19th century, driven by Manifest Destiny and a nationalized identity, viewed the train as a symbol of progress. Railroad lines were laid across the Midwest to connect the East and the West, which in turn influenced travel and settlement as well as the economcy and socio-political ideology
In 1932, twelve experts and collectors selected the "Best 50" large folio Currier & Ives prints, which were then reprinted in the NY Sun. After the acclaimed success, the same twelve reconvened in 1933 to select the "Best 50" small folios. The American Historical Print Collector's Society (AHPCS) created their own jury of historians in 1988 to pick a new collection of the Best 50 from both the small and large folios. This collection was published in Currier & Ives: The New Best 50 (1990). All though the large folio print, American Express Train, did not make any of the "Best 50" lists, a very similar small folio print, The Express Train (1970) made both the 1933 and 1988 list.
Similarities abound between the two and it's clear why the large folio can also be considered a clear gem amongst the the large archive of Currier & Ives prints.