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Civil War Patriotic Covers. Are they "salesman samples" or "pattern examples"for colorists?

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Civil War353 of 404Civil War Patriotic CardsBoston GAR reunion enameled delegate badge  c. 1890
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    Posted 11 years ago

    (2 items)

    I posted 10 pcs. from a collection of over 170 pcs. They are in an album
    ca.1930's-40's. All show mounting traces on verso 19th century.
    They are floated with corner mounts. I would appreciate any thoughts
    anyone may have. Conjecture thus far has been "salesman samples"
    for an itinerant salesman door to door or to other printers. Maybe in the
    Midwest? Another thought is that they were meant to be "examples for
    colorists". The album did have a title page labeled "Samples, Proofs and Cards of Civil War Patriotics"

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    1. solver solver, 11 years ago
      I don't know anything about this field but I think what you have is fabulous! This is just my guess, but I think you are correct. Your first photograph has Lincoln's portrait with crossed flags and below that "they can afford to do a wrong, I cannot." This image is shown in the patriotic envelope collection, Grand Valley State University Special Collections:

      In my opinion, what you have is more special than having the envelopes and certainly warrants an expert's opinion. If I were you, I would contact the American Antiquarian Society who has recently digitized their collection of civil war envelopes:

      Here is their contact page:

      Here is the Roosevelt Civil War Envelope Collection. It has an alphabetical listing at the top left of the page:

      and here is their search page that provides multiple ways to search the collection:

      Here is the link to the entire GVSU collection, comprising 161 items:

      I wasn't able to read anything on the others so I don't know if all of them represent civil war envelopes. There are quite a few digital libraries with images out there.

      Here is a Collectors Weekly article, by James Brush Hatcher, about patriotic envelopes. It even mentions the Lincoln envelope above.

      Another interesting discussion of "War Time Envelopes" in the "American Stationer, a journal devoted to the interests of the stationery & fancy goods trade," January 4, 1894:,%20I%20cannot%22%20patriotic%20envelope&f=false

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