1863 Railroad Temperance Lithograph Print
Appraised Value: $2,200 - $2,500
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:25)
Folk Art, Prints & Posters
The Philadelphia Print Shop
GUEST: It was originally my grandfather's. He was a huge train enthusiast.
GUEST: Steam engines, trains... uh, and I know that's why he bought the picture. When he died, it came down through the family. Now... now it's here.
APPRAISER: Now it's yours. Have you heard of the temperance movement?
APPRAISER: Which was the beginning that later became Prohibition in America, and of course, there was a good reason for that.
APPRAISER: the old-fashioned saloon. People were being poisoned. Families were being wrecked. Alcoholism is a problem, always has been. Yep. But let's start with your concept of a train. Here is your train here. And what does the engine say on it?
APPRAISER: "Distillery," yes. This is the engine that pulls the train, The "Distillery," and the title of the print, the Black Valley Railroad, is on the coal car, the tender. And if you look in the first car, you see people drinking away. (chuckles) Drinking too much. And on this side of the train, the print really focuses on people in all sorts of stages of drunkenness. And as you go across the print, there's people pouring into an ambulance here. They need to be carried away. There's also a religious element to this. So as you go up to this part, here's the forest, but there's a serpent in the trees. It's the Devil that made us do it. But in the background is this beautiful American landscape, which is part of what's going on in America at the time. If you look at the copyright notice right here, you can see it was done in Boston in 1863. And the American Civil War was going on at that time. Men are being killed and battles are being fought, but they're still pushing this kind of social reform. Railroads were coming into their prominence. The American Civil War saw railroads used strategically for the first time in history. Now, on either side, you have, like, a train schedule. There's two columns giving towns that are fictitious towns. And these are towns that you don't want to go to. For instance, "Sippington" is one town. Along the whole bottom part, is a notice about a temperance movement going on in Boston at the time, and how you could be a member of it. So it's a print filled with all sorts of meaning and history. Plus, you've got the original frame. It's a beautiful 19th-century Gilded Age frame that fits it perfectly. I would recommend a retail value on this at between $2,200 to $2,500 for it. It's a wonderful piece of history. It's quite scarce. (chuckling) And so on. What do you think of that?
GUEST: I think that's fantastic.
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