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Circa 1890 Stevengraph Firefighting Silk "For Life or Death" with Rare Allen & Ginter Advertising Mount
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $593
While many collectors are familiar with the classic nineteenth-century Stevengraph silk titled "For Life or Death," they have rarely, if ever, encountered it displayed in the manner offered here: housed in an Allen & Ginter advertising mount. This is the first example of a Stevengraph "For Life or Death" silk in an Allen & Ginter advertising mount we have ever seen, let alone offered (they are normally found in a Stevengraph mount bearing the title of the piece on the front and advertising for other Stevengraph silks on the reverse). The central display, executed in a tapestry of woven silk, features a steam fire engine and a group of firefighters sitting on a carriage pulled by a team of horses. A burning building is depicted in the background. The medium of silk weaving allows for extraordinary detail and brilliant color. As noted earlier, the silk (6 x 2 inches) was produced by Stevengraph Works, the preeminent woven silk manufacturers of the era. The large, cabinet card style mount (10 x 6 inches) advertises for Allen & Ginter's "Richmond Straight Cut Cigarettes," with the text along the base extolling the cigarette's virtues: "Made from the Most Delicate Flavored and Highest Cost Gold Leaf Tobacco Grown in Virginia." The reverse label warns consumers not to be fooled by other company's offerings of "Straight Cut" cigarettes. The silk remains in Near Mint condition, with all of the colors bright and vibrant. The mount displays a few tiny border chips, as well as light wear, while the reverse is moderately toned. In Excellent condition overall. This is an extremely rare variation of this very substantial and interesting nineteenth-century issue and one that will likely have a special appeal to tobacco-memorabilia collectors. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $593
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