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Menier

chocolate.jpg (19316 bytes)1950? Les Fables de La Fontaine: Collection des Vignettes du Chocolat-Menier. Vignettes Nos 1 a 90. Album including 90 numbered cards pasted in around La Fontaine's text. Puteaux: L'Isle de France. 240 francs on the Quai de la Seine, May, '97. Extra copy with taped binding and considerable interior staining and foxing for 100 francs elsewhere on the Quai at the same time. A third copy with about half of the cards pasted in for €9.99 from Bertrand Beauvais through eBay, August, '04. 
 

Both of these albums are complete. Each fable has six colored cartoon-cards, except for the centerpiece, "Les Animaux Malades de la Peste," which has twelve cards. The animals are dressed and playful. The exploding frog makes a "pouf" sound (#29). The fish rejected by the picky heron wear women's hats (#68)! The inside of the back cover gives a history of chocolate. Of course, in this history Jean-Antoine Brutus Menier stands out. The good copy belonged to a Georgette Lerche when she was in the sixth class. The first extra copy spent some time in someone's wet basement! 1950?

Les Fables de La Fontaine: Collection des Vignettes du Chocolat-Menier. Vignettes Nos 91 a 222. Album including 132 numbered cards pasted in around La Fontaine's text. Paris: Déchaux. 190 Francs from Christophe Merenne, Auvillers les Forges, France, through Ebay, Nov., '01. Three extra copies: 200 francs for Copy A, with a taped binding, on the Quai de la Seine, May, '97. Extra copies (B and C) for a total of 160 francs elsewhere on the Quai at the same time.

The cartoons remain delightfully Disneyesque. I enjoy the fat weasel who cannot get back out through the hole through which she entered (#108-12). In this book, the number of cards per fable and their sizes vary from presentation to presentation. The image of the beetle throwing eggs out of the nest (#180) is wonderful! The pages here have subtle images of the appropriate fable done in light brown ink behind the black ink of the text. I was happy to have found these materials on my '97 visit to Paris, and now I am delighted to find a good copy four years later. Of the extras, Copy A is in the best condition. A and B each have many more cards than C. C in fact contains only three pages for cards and thus only sixteen cards, but it is complete for these three sets! Taken together, the three albums lack thirteen cards (138, 145, 146, 161, 163, 177, 183, 189, 193, 194, 195, 209, and 210). On the last page, one reads how to get cards from the Menier Company. One gets a desired card by sending in three others! With this system, Menier could have gone on forever sending people the cards they needed! Copy A came accompanied by a Menier letter to collectors of its cards; the letter announces a new approach to a collection apparently subsequent to this one. Many of the cards in B are loose.