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$250 Reward! - 1875 Wells Fargo Robbery Reward

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    Posted 8 years ago

    (4084 items)

    This was found tacked to a wall under the paneling in an old house in my neighborhood. I thought it was pretty interesting. Do you think it's authentic? Is it valuable, even though the condition is pretty worm-holed?

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    1. scottvez scottvez, 8 years ago
      Interesting poster-- this has a chance of being real!

      This type of poster is heavily reproduced. Finding it tacked to a wall in a house doesn't bode well for its authenticity nor does the old taped residue in the top corners.

      With that being said, the font on this example looks good as does the variation in ink coverage on some of the letters. I'd check the back to see if you can feel the raised letters confirming it was press stamped.

      If real, it would certainly have a good value. The holes will detract from value, but it could be framed and make a great display item that would be attract significant interest from Wells Fargo and Old West Collectors.

    2. zguy2112 zguy2112, 8 years ago
      I couldn't agree with Scott more, this poster is heavily reproduced and with today's technology, it is easy to machine age paper in great detail.

      Like Scott said, if original, these posters were all "Letter Pressed" during that time, which was a form of printing that involved raised letters from the original paper surface for coloring. If you carefully check the back of the poster you should be able to look for signs of this process. This poster should also measure approximately 16 1/2" x 11 1/2" if original. The original paper would be an extremely thin newspaper type material also because these were printed quickly and cheaply and were only meant to be displayed temporarily.

      The good news is, IF this poster is actually original it could be worth between $5k - $12k although condition will play a huge factor. If you do find this to be an original, you should professionally linen back it as soon as possible and spend some $ on restoring it. This process will not only improve the look of the poster but also dramatically increase the value. Hope I was of some help.

    3. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 8 years ago
      thanks for the info mustangtony, scottvez and zguy2112.
      it's 13.65" x 11.8" and made of stiff but very thin paper - kind of different than paper you see used today. it's not tissue-paper thin. you can see slightly indented / pressed areas on the front, and a tiny bit on the back, which appears to have been eaten away more than the front.
    4. zguy2112 zguy2112, 8 years ago
      The size sounds right, the paper almost sounds right (perhaps it was mounted to board?) the paper should NOT be tissue like, it should be more of a parchment paper or newsprint, similar to what the WW II posters were printed on if that helps you. And sounds like the pressed areas you found match the Letter Press style of printing. Still difficult to say for sure without seeing the piece in person. Would love to see a photograph that would show the indented/pressing that you see, if possible.
    5. zguy2112 zguy2112, 8 years ago
      My bad, the size does NOT sound right, I just re-read what you posted. The size is way off from the original!
    6. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 8 years ago
      the size is odd. i don't know of any posters which are printed in such an 'off' size as this. it seems like if it were fake, it would be made in a size which could be easily reproduced and this isn't. i don't think i can photograph the indentations, because they are so slight, but i'll give it a try later. the paper is stiffer than newsprint - more like parchment. it's hard to describe, but the back looks like a very thin layer has been eaten away from almost the whole piece. when i hold it up to the light, it's all mottled like parchment.
    7. scottvez scottvez, 8 years ago
      What is the source for the 16 1/2 X 11 1/2 size?

    8. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 8 years ago
      i just saw an official 1985 reproduction of this on ebay which shows the light portions - where the ink didn't get laid down evenly exactly in the same spots as this one - which makes me think that this is a fake. it sure does look older than 1985 though.
    9. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 8 years ago
      i just remeasured it. it's 13 and 11/16" x 10 and 3/4".
    10. zguy2112 zguy2112, 8 years ago
      16 1/2" x 11 1/2" is the common size for ORIGINAL late 1800's Wanted and Reward signs. This of course is an approximate measurement but will not vary by much and certainly not by up to 3 inches. Keep in mind there ARE exceptions to this common size but they would be rare and very few in existence.
    11. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 8 years ago
      thanks zguy2112. ist there a site where i can go to look for more info on this type of thing - particularly old western ephemera? how did you learn about it?
    12. zguy2112 zguy2112, 8 years ago
      There isn't 1 single site that I have found however if you check past auctions you will find many originals and re-pops (Reproductions) of the same or similar paper. These past auctions will usually have some detailed information regarding sizes, dates, approximate value, etc.

      I myself am a poster collector, most stone lithos but I am very knowledgeable on the different printing methods that were used during the 1800's through today and have most of the paper sizes memorized by now. You should understand though that paper sizes are always approximate when referring to true vintage or antique paper. Some paper sizes will vary a bit by about 1 inch or less on each side. The same goes for standard vintage poster sizes that you will see as standards when you do the research, due to prehistoric approximate measurements. One helpful auction site for vintage paper is Hope this helps.
    13. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 8 years ago
      thanks again zguy2112. it's been very generous of you to share your knowledge. i learn so much from folks like yourself who assist us in researching our trash and treasures! i also try to pass it on when i can. i use liveauctioneers quite a lot.
    14. zguy2112 zguy2112, 8 years ago
      No need to thank me, we all seem to have a passion for antiques on here so just pay it forward. Save my name and feel free to contact me anytime, I am always happy to help when I can. Good luck with this piece and let me know what you find out. Enjoy!
    15. scottvez scottvez, 8 years ago
      Thanks for the info-- I never knew there was a "standard size". I would have thought that the various companies and printers would have varying sizes.

    16. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 8 years ago
      zguy2112 - i have a few interesting posters, but the one which has been most mysterious and interesting to me is this one:
      all of the feedback i've gotten from museum people have said that they think that it's not a particular site or event, but i'm certain that they are wrong, but have hit a wall. any ideas?
    17. zguy2112 zguy2112, 8 years ago
      ho2culcha, thanks for sharing that print with me. It looks more like a painting then an actual poster. I'm not really sure what to make of it. The size is a bit small, even too small to be a Window Card, were there any other markings on it besides what you stated? Such as a Litho co., or printing co.??
    18. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 8 years ago
      no, it doesn't have any other words on it. it appears to be a silkscreen - even though there is a half-tone in part of it. i think that it commemorates a barn-stormer event of some sort - which was held in a big, early airport. by the style of the spats, i think it was 1914-16.
    19. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 8 years ago
      i just copied that comment on the correct page - where we should probably continue this thread.
    20. Micmac, 8 years ago
      Love this poster:)
    21. newcollector59, 8 years ago
      I was doing research into the size aspect and I could not find any sources that would indicate a common universal size. Here is a link to an authentic poster that varies from the stated size:
    22. zguy2112 zguy2112, 8 years ago
      Here is one that matches the standard size, might even be an earlier version of the same robbery.
    23. zguy2112 zguy2112, 8 years ago
      Here is another.
    24. IHaveSomeEpicCollectables, 5 years ago
      Hi guys.. Ive just found another one of these Wanted Posters, original , 1875... no idea what to do next? Any suggestions.. Thank you!
    25. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
      Recommend that you post it so others can look at it!


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