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Single Blotters

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1889 "The Aesop Blotter" compliments of Davis & Casey, Druggists. Headquarters for all School Books and School Supplies. Seneca Falls, N.Y. Copyrighted 1889 by Scrantom, Wetmore & Co., Rochester, N.Y. $10 from Dave Cheadle, Englewood, CO, Sept., '99.

This blotter, about 3¾" x 8", shows the evidence of some use on its back. On its front, it has a good classic rendition of TH (I wish I could establish that this pudgy bunny was done by Weir) with James' text and moral verbatim. Nice job of blue and red printing on what might be a difficult medium.

1927 "Aesop's Fables" blotter featuring FG, compliments of The Ohio Valley Oxygen Company, Cincinnati. Besides a semi-circular illustration and a lively moral, there is some advertising information and a calendar of October, 1927. $9.99 from Matthew Johnson, Middletown, OH, through Ebay, Feb., '01.

This blotter, about 3 7/8" x 9", shows the evidence of some use on its back. The moral here is "He who waits for a windfall usually gets a crop of overripe fruit." The company offers oxygen, hydrogen, acetylene, welding and cutting apparatus, and supplies. Would there have been a set of twelve fable blotters?

1950? Large 5¼" x 8¼" blotter put out by La Mutuelle Générale Française insurance company of Le Mans. Around the top and both sides are eight small square illustrations of the more popular fables of La Fontaine. $5 from Dany Wolfs, Roesalare, Belgium, May, '01.

The fables presented by the simple block illustrations here are OR, OF, WL, FC, TH, FS, MSA, and "The Lion and the Mosquito." A short adage praises La Fontaine for extolling prudence, economy, and wisdom.

1950? "Buvard a Conserver" ("a blotter to keep") from Joannic Fabrics, featuring a crow holding a piece of cloth over an expectant fox. 5¼" x 8¼". $5 from Dany Wolfs, Roeselare, Belgium, Nov., '01.

This very large cream-colored blotter with a black-and-white design of FC advertises a fabrics store "that impresses through its prices." It seems to sell all sorts of cloth. Might the telephone number with only three digits be a clue to its date?

1950? Le Coq et le Renard." Blotter presented by Les Excellentes Gaufrettes Rivoire et Jeandet. "Fables de la Fontaine." $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, Feb., '02.

This blotter seems to be rather an advertisement for a series than a member of it. Apparently Rivoire and Jeandet's wafers come in various kinds of packages, and the latest package is titled "Fables de la Fontaine." The collection comprises 84 images in, as the blotter proclaims, very pretty coloring. The story in the lovely cartoon here is UP. The (fictive?) dog seen by the cock appears on the top of the hill. The climax of the advertisement is classic: "Collect a unique collection of the fables of La Fontaine while enjoying the wafers of Rivoire & Jeandet." As it happens, now, three years later, I have found the full set of 84 cards!

1950? Amora. La Moutarde de Dijon dans son Verre Décoré "La Fontaine." Buvard "EFGÉ." 5¼" x 8¼". Opéra Publicité. $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, Feb., '02.

One of the most colorful blotters I have received. Apparently the glass jar containing Amora mustard is decorated with characters from La Fontaine's fables. One recognizes, e.g., TT on the glass pictured here. Many other characters from the fables appear on the rest of the blotter: tortoise and hare; fox surrounded by crow, grapes, and goat; wolf and lamb; deer, dove, frog, fish, beetle, snail, rat, and butterfly--with a nice bust of La Fontaine in their midst.

1950? "La revanche de la cigale." Buvard offert par Germalyne. 5" x 8½". $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, Feb., '02.

Blue ink on a cream background. This blotter does not just present a La Fontaine fable. It builds on the fable of GA to offer a new point. This cicada comes back one year later and gets her revenge. She claims now, in verse, to be ready for the tough winter--because she has Germalyne food supplement! "Now I can dance without fear!" she proclaims. The advertisement announces "100 pour 100 germes de blé." Might that mean that each of a one hundred pills contains the equivalent of one hundred grains of wheat?

1951 "The Wolf and the Crane." Twenty-Third in a Series of 24 Aesop's Fables. With calendars for December, 1951 and January, 1952. Compliments of the Tulsa Agency, J.G. Brinkley Manager. Minneapolis: Northwestern National Life Insurance Company. $2.50 from Rocky Trading, Neodesha, KS, through Ebay, Jan., '02.

This blotter, about 3½" x 6¼", presents an oval line drawing of WC in the upper left, with a full text and moral below it. The right half of the card presents its title, the series, a calendar, and the local Tulsa sponsor. The bottom of the blotter shows the national sponsor. This blotter may be among the most prosaic fable items I have.

1952? "La Cigale et la Fourmi: Version Moderne" compliments of Crédit Coopératif de France, Paris. Signed "Pomandre 52." R.C. Seine 352.357 B. 50 Francs from Annick Tilly, Clignancourt, August, '99.

In this modern version, the young cicada, unlike her mother, did not forget winter while she sang all summer. To avoid having to cry famine, she trusted in the Credit Cooperative to have a house on long-term credit. She knew that she could sing in peace for ten, fifteen, or twenty years. The house of the cicada's dreams is pictured in a nice bubble above her as she sings. Lively read and blue art on a 6" x 9" blotter.

1955? "Le Renard Se Modernise." "Ric et Rac," Fabrications Françaises KAOL, a manufacturer of shoe polishes. The illustration is signed "Pol Pab" or "Pol Rab." 8½" x 5 3/8". $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, May, '02.

Here is a simple blotter with brown ink on a light pink background. The left section of the blotter consists in a traditional sketch of FC. The fox is, however, asking the crow to pass the Ric et Rac, and then he will be the most brilliant inhabitant of the forest. I gather that the crow is holding not a cheese but a can of shoe polish! The bottom lines have a nice jingle: "Your shoes creek, your shoes crack./Polish them with 'Ric et Rac.'"

1956? Biscottes Exona. 8. OF. Biscottes de Régime. 5¾" x 6½". Société des Produits Rationnels d'Alimentation Exona. Essonnes (S.-&-O.). Paris: Imp. S.E.R.T. $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, May, '03.

A multicolored picture of the expanding frog graces the upper left of this colorful blotter. Poids Moyen 350 Grams.

1958? "Le Fou et le Sage." #28 from Snels Biscottes de Luxe au Lait. 5¾" x 6¾". St. Ouen (Seine). Créat. I.M., Paris. $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, May, '02.

A large colored cartoon dominates this blotter. La Fontaine XII 2 is, in Spector's edition, "Un Fou et un Sage," whereas this blotter has "Le Fou et le Sage." This is clearly the fable, a replay of Aesop's rewarding the fool who threw a stone at him and then encouraging him to throw one at a richer man for a bigger reward. Here the well-dressed man has, I gather, a coin in his hand, while the fool has a large rock that he is ready to hurl. The latter is marked as a fool, I think, by the cooking pan he wears for a hat. A notation "CLI. 01-58" leads me to guess that it comes from 1958.

1959 GA blotter from Compagnies Françaises d'Assurances du Groupe Phénix. Concours du 140e Anniversaire. 8" x 5 3/8". $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, May, '02.

Green, black, and red paint the familiar scene, with winter's leaves sweeping about in the winds. This is one of the few blotters I have with writing on the verso. In fact there is a great deal of writing. It explains a competition for kids between seven and fourteen years old. They are to draw the phoenix of classical mythology for a variety of specific prizes. The deadline for entries (December 31, 1959) gives a rare help to someone dating a blotter like this one. I think that this is my first fable item announcing a contest!

1960? Les Vins des Caves du Plessis Buvard N. 1. FG. Les Fables de la Fontaine. About 8¼" x 5¼". St. Venant. $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, May, '02.

In a lovely design using black, green and red inks, the fox claims, as usual, that the grapes are too green. The blotter's text agrees but adds "but the wines of the Plessis Caves are wonderful!" The blotter also invites one to ask for the whole series of blotters at one's local provider of wines. I would love to do that!

1960? "Le loup et l'agneau." Dauré Apéritif Naturel. 5" x 7¾". $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, Feb., '02. Extra copy in only good condition from Dany Wolfs, Roeselare, Belgium, May, '01.

Red ink on a cream background. This fable builds on La Fontaine's WL. Here the wolf proclaims to the lamb as the latter scampers away: "You are lucky that I have not yet taken my Dauré this morning!" Is the point that water comes only after a Dauré aperitif opens the way for it?

1965? "le corbeau et le renard" (La Fontaine)" colored blotter. 7¼" x 4¼". La Laiterie Parisienne. Paris: E.G.F.P. $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, May, '02.

The blotter quotes the first two lines of La Fontaine's fable: "Master Crow perched on a tree held in his beak a cheese" and then adds "It was, of course, a 'Fromage Sélectionné' from The Parisienne Dairy. The best!" The illustration in green, brown, yellow, and orange is striking.

1965? "Le Corbeau et le Renard" blue and white blotter. "Bon Buvard." 5¼" x 8¼". Pates aux Oeufs Frais Pèr' Lustucru. Grenoble. Paris: E.G.F.P. $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, May, '03.

The blotter shows the fox running away with a large cheese in his mouth. The text on this blotter is a further advertisement: "Enfants Sages. Pour obtenir trios belles fables illustreés en couleurs envoyez-nous avec votre adresse, 8 Pèr' Lustucru découpés sur nos boites à damiers bleus."

1970? KIFO Buvard N. 3 "La Cigale et la Fourmi." Les Fables de la Fontaine. KIFO does cleaning and maintenance work. E 12 LePoivre Thellier á St. Venant (PDC). $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, May, '02.

This pleasant blotter in red and green on a white background shows the ant and cicada conversing at the front door. "If the cicada had stopped to think, she would have been able to sing and even dance with the savings realized by having used the range of KIFO products." The bottom of the blotter invites people to look forward to the fourth in the series.

1970? Buvard offert par Semelflex, a maker of shoes. With a trace-the-dots painting of La Fontaine's shoemaker from "The Shoemaker and the Financier." Premiere Serie C: Bottillon d'Enfant. Mesmer Pub. Imp. Sézanne. 5¼" x 8¼". $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, May, '02.

Green, red, and black highlight the face of a man and a child's shoe. When—as here—someone connects the dots, the delightful shoemaker appears, with his pipe in one hand and his hammer in the other. The blotter's invitation is well phrased: "Trace a line in the sequence of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc… and you will designate the shoemaker whom La Fontaine let sing from morning until evening."

1975? Blotter advertising "Super Biscottes Sablées Saint Honoré" illustrating DW. Green and red on yellow blotter paper. 11¼" x 3⅛". $5 from Mme Denise Debuigne, Rennes, France, May, '03.

This blotter -- if indeed it is a blotter -- has an unusual size and shape. The cartoon has a dog luxuriating -- on bread cushions? -- and smoking a cigar. "Les biscottes qui honorent votre table!" "Vente reservée a la boulangerie." "Garanties exemptaes de tous produits chimiques." These cookies have everything!