1850s American Locomotive Hand-colored Lithograph

Value (2005) | $3,800 Retail

Well, my father worked for a company called New York Air Brake back in the '30s, '40s, '50s and '60s. And he was in New York, but was originally from Providence. And I don't know whether he bought it, but I'm pretty sure he had something to do with picking them out. It was in his office, and when he left in 1968, it came with him as a gift. And it's been hanging in a house in Rhode Island ever since.

I see. Well, if he bought it in the '30s, he probably paid $10 or $15 for it, at most. Prints were very inexpensive back then. Since then, prints of American locomotives have become very popular-- the romance of the early trains that were so important. This is basically an advertisement for the Taunton Locomotive Works. And it just glorifies an engine. It shows so much little detail. The information on the pistons, the wheelworks and so on. It's just pristine and beautiful and it has a sense of power and majesty. Interestingly, right behind the locomotive you have this little milepost that says "40 miles to Boston." It's a real piece of New England history. Certainly, you know, Connecticut, uh... Rhode Island, Massachusetts, these were great manufacturing centers. And when we look at the copyright notice right through here, it mentions that Bufford in Boston is the lithography company that made it. We know that they were one of the earliest lithography companies in the United States. And so this is about 1850s. They didn't give it an exact date on this one. It's a really well-done piece in a New England landscape as well-- trees, mountains and so on. The minus part of this is that somehow it did get water stained in through here. And it's got a few little imperfections and little wrinkles in it. This particular one, I would evaluate it at around $3,800. If it was in perfect condition, probably $4,800, maybe even $5,500. That would be a fair-market price. It's really a fine piece of New England lithography.

That's great.


Good. (laughs) I like it.

Appraisal Details

The Philadelphia Print Shop
Philadelphia, PA
Appraised value (2005)
$3,800 Retail
Providence, RI (June 18, 2005)

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