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Historic Trade Cards

Historic Trade Cards

In the course of doing his work as a traveling salesman, J.B.F. Champlin left trade cards behind as he called on customers.

 

These cards were often larger than our modern business cards and usually had an illustration on one side, with printed information about Champlin products and warranties on the other.  Very few of these historic cards have survived.  The illustration on this first card is a bit creepy by today’s standards.

Champlin "Galvanic" brand trade card

Champlin “Galvanic” brand
trade card

 

 

Here are two cards from Michael Losicco’s collection.

J.B.F. Champlin trade card

J.B.F. Champlin trade card

 

J.B.F. Champlin trade card

J.B.F. Champlin trade card

 

 

These three matching cards were donated to the American Museum of Cutlery in Cattaraugus, NY in 2012.  They are in fantastic condition and are all dated 1882.   Many thanks to museum curator and village historian, Patrick Cullen for sharing these with us!!

Three JBF Champlin trade cards

JBF Champlin
trade card series

 

All three have the same printing on the back.  Notice the blank space at the top where retailers could stamp their own information or make notes.

Back of trade cards

Back of trade cards

 

All three of the “Mary had a little lamb” illustrations were also used on trade cards promoting “Lutted’s S.P Cough Drops”.  These particular cards appear to have all be printed at different times since the colors and type faces do not match well.  They are all blank on the back.

Lutted's Cough Drops  trade cards

Lutted’s Cough Drops trade cards

 

Here are two more cards of interest.  The first is marked “Honest Woolen Clothing” and the other is blank.  It appears as though someone had cards pre-pinted with a blank space at the bottom for the name of whoever wanted to use the card for their business.  The card on the left was found by Donna Broce.

Two more trade cards

Two more trade cards

 

This is the first card in our series that is marked “JBF CHAMPLIN & SON“.  This one is smaller than the cards above and is only 3 3/4 inches tall by 2 3/8 inches wide.  It’s blank on the reverse side.  It appears as though this card was originally printed with a blank space at the bottom as well.  The JBF impression is poorly registered into the blank space.

J.B.F. Champlin & Son trade card

J.B.F. Champlin & Son
trade card

2 Comments

  1. Great cards and really hard to find. Wonder if there are any more companies that used the Mary had a little lamb theme?

  2. The site looks great, I love all the stuff that’s being added! I have seen the Mary Had a Little Lamb card advertising a clothing company in Syracuse NY, I’ll e-mail you a pic to check out.

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