Al Malpa Ephemera


1863 Cameo-Illustrated Cover

1863 Cameo-Illustrated Cover


This large, green cameo illustration is for the hardware store "Schmitz & Morleys, Wholesale & Retail Dealers." Pictured is an anvil, a cookstove and a padlock. Other items listed on the cameo are "hardware, cutlery, stoves, iron, nails &c. Manufacturers of tin, copper and sheet iron ware. Corner of Genessee & Cass Streets, East Saginaw, Mich."

The cameo carries the name “J. Gibson & Co.” on one edge and “Detroit” on the other. The “American Stationer” carried news of Gibson’s death on Feb. 27, 1896, calling him the “well-known lithographer. John Gibson was born in Berwick-on-Tweed, England, on March 28, 1834, and began his work in the lithographic business at the age of eight years in the service of his father. When he was sixteen years of age his family came to this country, and finally he and his brothers Stephen and Robert entered the lithographic business on their own account in Cincinnati. In 1862 he severed his connection with his brothers and went to Detroit [where he was briefly in business]. After serving a time in the army during the war, he in 1864 came to New York and established himself in business on Beekman street, and for thirty-two years has been located on that street. The second power lithographic press ever brought to this country was imported and operated by Mr. Gibson in his establishment.”

The envelope was opened from the top with scissors, resulting in the edge of the cameo being slightly trimmed. It was addressed to G.W. Morley in Painesville, Lake Co., Ohio. The three-cent stamp was cancelled at East Saginaw on Nov. 18 1863.

Schmitz & Morleys had a very short tenure. Anthony Schmitz was advertising his "new" hardware business in November 1860. In August 1863, he went into partnership with G.W. (George W.) Morley and E. W. (Edward W.) Morley, but in fall 1865 he withdrew from the partnership. Morley Bros. continued the business for many decades.

Condition: Very good to good (note the comment above about the cameo being slightly trimmed on one edge). Size 5 1/2 x 3.0 inches.

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