Item #300760 "Toronto, Canada West" and "The Great Eastern" Charles Magnus.

"Toronto, Canada West" and "The Great Eastern"

New York: Charles Magnus, c. 1860.

Price: $500.00

About the item

Hand-colored lettersheets measuring 8-1/2 x 21 inches. 4to. A little grubby, but very good. Provenance: Estate of James and Katherine Abbe, Long Island, New York.

Item #300760

The two lettersheets here are unusual productions for Magnus, most of his lettersheets featured images of New York and its environs or of the Civil War. The first of these two is based on Edwin Whitefield’s "Toronto, Canada West" first published in 1854. Magnus is known to have reproduced it in the late 1850s. When launched in 1858, the Great Eastern was easily the largest ocean liner of its day. She was subsequently used to lay the Trans-Atlantic telegraph cable in 1865. This lettersheet was almost certainly issued between those two dates.
Charles Magnus emigrated to New York with his family in the late 1840s. His older brother published the weekly German language newspaper, Deutsche Schnellpost, and it was there that Charles learned the trade, eventually going out on his own. In the guises of a publisher, map dealer, bookseller and stationer, he issued more than a thousand pieces of illustrated stationery — lettersheets, envelopes, song sheets, as well as prints — usually copying the work from other sources without attribution, sometimes altering the images slightly. He continued to use lithography and hand-coloring long after other publishers turned to photomechanical reproduction processes.
Lettersheets were a convenient and thrifty form of stationery in an era in which postage was calculated on the number of sheets used. Folded in half, these four pages were charged as a single page.