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GregAlex

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Reply with quote  #1 
As a collector of nearly all things related to the American Bank Note Company I'm always finding interesting items that I know very little about. Many years back I picked up an ABNC piece about 5" x 8" printed on card stock. It was in a bin of other century-old ephemera priced at a few bucks each. I especially liked the locomotive engraving.

 Poor's 1888 frontis front sm.jpg 
Poor's 1888 frontis back.jpg 

Not thinking too much about it, I tucked it away with some other curiosities. A few years ago I pulled it out again and decided to figure out what it was. The back side was an advert for American Bank Note. A quick Google search for the "Manual of Railroads of the United States" brought up a number of results. From there I went to the Interenet Archive and learned about the "Poor's Manual of Railroads," which was published from the 1870s into the 1940s. This eventually became Standard & Poor's. These manuals are 3 to 5 inches thick and chock full of financial statistics on every U.S. railroad, along with maps.

1892 Poor's RR Manual.jpg 

From 1873 through 1917, the books all had engraved frontispieces. I made a project of scouting down all the different varieties -- there are eight of them, plus a couple bonuses. The first was engraved by Continental Bank Note Co. The next two were by Franklin Bank Note, and in 1884 American Bank Note stepped in and produced the frontispieces from then on.

This was a brilliant sales tool -- all the railroad financiers bought these manuals to assess market values, and these were the same people who ordered stocks and bonds to be printed. What better place to show off a bank note company's abilities? In fact, several of the locomotive vignettes also show up on railroad stocks from the same era.

Here are the results of my research …

1873 – ’78 // ’80
T1 9th Poor's 1876 copy.jpg 

1879
T2 12th Poor's 1879 copy.jpg   

1881 – 1883
T3 15th Poor's 1882 copy.jpg 

1884 – 1890
T4 20th Poor's 1887 copy.jpg 

1891 – ’93
T5 25th Poor's 1892 copy.jpg 

1894
T6 27th Poor's 1894 copy.jpg 

1895 – 1911
T7 35th Poor's 1902 copy.jpg 

1912 – 1917
T8 46th Poor's 1913 copy.jpg 

After 1917, Poor's decided to stop using frontispieces, or perhaps ABNC decided the cost was no longer worth it.

There are a couple other ABNC frontispieces from similar publications. "Poor's Directory of Railway Officials" was published from 1886 through 1895. It stuck with one style of frontispiece, changing only the date.

Rwy Official 1895.jpg 
                        
Poor's also recognized the need for statistics on businesses besides railroads and published "Poor's Hand Book on Investment Securities". I located an image of the frontispiece from an 1892 copy but I'm not sure whether other years had different designs. (If the eagle looks familiar, it was ABNC's signature engraving -- and my avatar.)

1892 Handbook of Inv Sec.jpg

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Dan Cong

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Reply with quote  #2 
more stuff to be on the look out for 😉

From the classic age of engraver's art
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trainmaster247

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thats some cool stuff I got into trains but never much the paper side of things.
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mikelaw

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Reply with quote  #4 
Very cool train vignettes. Some of them look like Baldwins made in Philly from 1830-1956. Here’s a couple of links. Thanks.

http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/locomotive-manufacturing/

http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=1-A-3D6

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GregAlex

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Reply with quote  #5 
Grant Locomotive Works included an engraved ad in a few of the Poor's Manuals (actually this was just their letterhead).

Grant Locomotive ad.jpg 

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