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Stock Singles

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1880 1 card picturing WC. No advertising printed on either side. Gibson Company, Southern Ohio. 3" x 4½". $10 from The Cartophilians, March, '98.

The illustration is Harrison Weir's (unacknowledged). I suspect that the card's date is date of a general printing permit rather than this card; if it is for this card, it would be some of Weir's earliest work, I believe. The text is not taken from the thirty I have catalogued to date.

1890? 1 small card (or stamp?) picturing GA.  "A la Ménagère" on the rue du Temple.  1⅜" x 2⅜".  €9 from Albert van den Bosch, Antwerp, June, '23.

This illustration shows dressed insects, one fully outfitted for traveling and holding a guitar, the other in a homey apron.  A la Ménagère is offering shirts for either 7 Francs (front) or 5 Francs (verso).  The size of this little slip is remarkable, as is its detailed artistry. 


1890?  One colored small card (2½" x 3¾") advertising Boudier "Pates Alimentaires" and showing two mice with an egg.  €5 in St. Ouen, June, '19.

The color work in this card is exceptional.  Boudier claims awards 1867-1878.  The image is a clear reference to the two mice or rats with an egg, but what is the chick doing in the picture?  Advertising on the verso.  No reference to La Fontaine or the fable.

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1890? One colored French trade card featuring children in WL and advertising M. Léon Houet in Brou (Eure-et-Loir) who makes tailored clothes and furniture. 2 3/8" x 3 7/8". $5 from Bertrand Cocq, Calonne-Ricouart, France, March, '01.

This is a strong image, apparently of a bully holding something away from another child. The picture is framed in gold, with a block-print title at the lower right. See "Royal Windsor" stock series cards for a less confined view of this stock scene.

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1890? One colored French card advertising "La Bonne Cafetière." Pictured is La Fontaine's "L'Avare qui a perdu son Tresor." Cropped to 3 7/8" x almost 2¾". 50 Francs from Annick Tilly at the Clignancourt flea market, August, '01.

The card seems to have all the earmarks of the set I have labeled "L'Agence Général Standard/Delorme-Gauthier." It seizes a dramatic human moment, for example, and uses block letters. It does not, however, place the block letters in a circle or in an unusual place on the picture. The verso is blank.

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1890? One colored French card with FC pictured in portrait format above a medallion and signature of "De lafontaine."2¾" x 4¼". The verso advertises "Moka & Chicorées Extra du Docteur Fabriqués par Joseph Lervilles." 15 Francs from Annick Tilly at the Clignancourt flea market, August, '01.

This card presents in smaller format exactly the same picture found on a postcard displayed under "Single Postcards" and dated to "1950?" Apparently, Lervilles Moka du Docteur and Chicorée du Docteur were made near Cambrai.

1895?   One colored card showing a moment in GA -- "Dansez Maintenant" -- and advertising Chocolat Poulain.  St. Ouen, August, '15.

This card replicates one advertising "Aux Deux Passages."  A surprising thing is that Chocolat Poulain used various kinds of fable cards to advertise.  The curtsy here that invites the cicada to dance is beautifully rendered but downright mean!

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1900? One colored French card presenting a scene from La Fontaine's fable "Le Savetier et le Financier" with an inserted label and medallion portrait of the author. 3" x 4¼". The verso advertises Moka du Docteur & Chicorée du Docteur of Joseph Lervilles. 15 Francs from Annick Tilly at the Clignancourt flea market, August, '01. Extra copy advertising "A la belle Jardinière" chicoree offered by C. Beriot, Lille, for €3 from François Magnin, Paris Post Card Exhibition, Jan., '05.

The  Lervilles verso is similar to but not identical with the verso of a card I have listed under "1890?" picturing FC and offering a signature of La Fontaine.  This card is also slightly larger.  Whatever the printing technique used on this card, it makes a scanner go crazy at high resolutions.   Weird things come out of the attempt to scan it! 

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1900? One black-and-white card advertising a plow manufactured by the J. I. Case Plow Company, of Racine. Just over 2½" x 4". $2 from Zagoria at the Sacramento Paper Fair, Dec., '96.

A monkey apparently holds a dog with one paw while presenting with the other a mouse right before the dog's nose. A small insert in the left lower corner says simply "OVER." The scene is similar to that on a Coat card, where the monkey dangles a fish before a cat.


1900? One black-and-white portrait-format card illustrating La Fontaine's FC with "Nouvelles Galeries, Saumur" printed in red under the bottom of the picture.  Cpaphil, Saint-Fargeau, France.

At the top of the picture side of this card is "Choix de Fables."  It is extremely similar to a postcard in the series Collection Charier.  Indeed, the verso of this card reads "Bons Points Instructifs: Collection C. Charier" above the text of La Fontaine's fable.  The image here, as in Collection Charier, includes a tombstone-like tableau for listing both "Fables de La Fontaine" and the fable's title.


1900? One TH card advertising Colyer and Co. of Newark and Blue Front, Somerville, NJ, sellers of fine clothing. Just over 2" x 3½. From Lobo8 through eBay?

Here, as elsewhere, the hare rides the tortoise as a rider rides a horse. Grasshoppers look on. Is this kind of representation supposed to recall Aesop's TH?

1900? One colored French card presenting a scene from MM and advertising "Maison du Pont-Neuf."  1¾" x 2¾".  St. Ouen, August, '15. 

The pretty woman with brightly striped clothing and matching headdress is apparently weeping while spilt milk lies on the ground.  "Il est parti."  The verso has a listing of days of the month and week in "Septem" and Octobre with matching letters and names.  For what?  In what year?  And am I right in assuming that the milk is "departed" and this is La Fontaine's milkmaid?

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1905? One colored CJ card advertising Johnston's Corn Flour. 2 5/8"x 4 1/8". £5 from Peter Sleeman, Westerham, UK, through Ebay, July, '00.

The golden background distinguishes this card, which has been cropped, bent, and is in only fair condition. The choice of a girl to complement the rooster in the illustration is surprising. What might she have to do with the fable's story? The text is in fact James' version verbatim, where no particular human being is mentioned. That version is unusual because it actually ends up contradicting the fable: "The Cock was a sensible Cock; but there are many silly people who despise what is precious only because they cannot understand it." The verso quotes Augustus Voelcker, chemist of the Royal Agricultural Society, on the value of corn flour. I have found a whole booklet of 24 images in this style.

1910?  One coloed card advertising Chocolat Poulain and showing an image of cats around milk.  On the verso is Florian's fable "Ivy and Thyme."  €5 in St. Ouen, June, '19.

This card is a curiosity.  The image and the fable seem to have nothing to do with each other.  The fable is a story of ivy's arrogance shown up by the thyme's humility: ivy needs to depend on others and cannot support itself.  Poulain has a number of other sets of cards to see here, here, and here.

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1910? One colored TH card advertising the Donnell Manufacturing Co. of St. Louis. 3" x 4¼". $13 from Dave Cheadle, Englewood, CO, Sept., '99.

A colorful scene of the finish line, approached by the hare while the tortoise is beyond it. Nothing on the reverse. The front promises: "Donnell's healing salve cures cuts, sores, boils, burns, frosted ears and feet. Cures bruises, burns, boils, sores, scalds, ulcers, carbuncles, chilblains, bites of insects, cuts and wounds." What does it not do?

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1910? One colored "Fox and Geese" card advertising The Beaham Mfg. Co. of Kansas City, Mo., makers of "Faultless Starch." A bit less than 2½" x a bit more than 4". $3 somewhere, 1999.

I doubt that this is really a fable card. It is a hidden-picture card, with a fox to be found by the clever observer. The back makes an offer "Mail us 10 for Comic Pictures, Mail us 25 for Beautiful Pictures." I take it this is one of the former, cheaper variety! Browns and reds. A small symbol at the lower right of the picture says "N 718."

1910? One multi-colored card featuring a cow and a bull in a swamp with a farmer watching them. 3⅜" x 5⅛". $4 from Philip Demke, Plainfield, VT, through eBay, Oct., '08.

This card was billed as a fable on eBay, and it may be that, but I do not yet recognize which fable. It cannot be "The Frogs and the Bulls," since there is only one bull here, and he is not fighting. I will keep it in the collection in the hope that something will turn up to clarify whether this card represents a fable.

1910? One multi-colored card featuring two women as the dismissing ant and the dismissed grasshopper.  Café Joseph Pineau, Chartres. 

Lively presentation of the two women.  In this case, the ant personage is as attractive and young as the grasshopper figure.  Snow is visible around the two characters.  "Specialitè de cafès." 


1915? One colored French card illustrating "The Fox, the Traveller, and the Snake" and advertising on its verso Chicorée Extra and Daniel Voelcker-Coumes.  From Boulevard des Ecritures, St. Ouen, August, '15. 


This card is curious in several ways.  It has the same instepped borders and is in fact identical with the text and image of a stock trade card in the "5430" series.  I also have other trade cards in a different format from Chicorée Extra and Daniel Voelcker-Coumes.   

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1920? One colored card with a circular portrait of La Fontaine on the left and a picture of FC on the right. "Auteurs Celebres" with 84 subjects announced on the picture side, along with the opening line of the fable. One copy adds "Chocolat Félix Potin" on the picture side and verso. It was printed by F. Champenois in Paris. The other copy adds nothing on the picture side but its verso is an advertisement for François Ledouarec, a grocer in Saint-Brieuc. Potin card for $5 from Dany Wolfs, Roeselare, Belgium, May, '01. Ledouarec card for $5 from Bertrand Cocq, Calonne-Ricouart, France, March, '01. Extra copy of the Potin/Champenois version for €3 from François Magnin, Paris Post Card Exhibition, Jan., '05.

The card belongs to a series of great French writers, and thus, I suppose, it will always stay as a single in this collection. Perhaps at some point I will be lucky enough to find a Florian card in the set. The Potin card advertises the celebrity photographs and collectable stamps that one finds in 500 gram portions of Potin's chocolate.

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1920? One colored card with a portrait panel of La Fontaine on the left and a picture panel on the right of "Le Laboureur et ses Enfants," including a moral. An apparent advertising panel above is empty. The verso contains again La Fontaine's name and dates and a paragraph on his work. 27 Francs from Annick Tilly, Clignancourt, August, '01. Extra copy advertising "A la belle Jardinière" chicoree offered by C. Beriot, Lille, for €3 from François Magnin, Paris Post Card Exhibition, Jan., '05.

The card seems to belong to something like a series of great French writers. The worker's sons pay more attention than I would have expected. Perhaps they have already heard the magic word "treasure"! It is surprising that the card bears no advertising at all.

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1920? Two colored cards advertising the Cleveland Clothing Company and picturing a boy about to throw a rock at a frog. $1 from an unknown source, with the extra copy in poor condition at the same time.

I enjoy the clever way in which "Cleveland Clothing Company" is worked into the curvature of the clouds on the picture side. The fable, not in Perry, is frequent in later editions as "The Boys and the Frogs." Here is James' version: "A TROOP of Boys were playing at the edge of a pond, when, perceiving a number of Frogs in the water, they began to pelt at them with stones. They had already killed many of the poor creatures, when one more hardy than the rest putting his head above the water, cried out to them: 'Stop your cruel sport, my lads; consider, what is Play to you is Death to us.'"

1930? Chromo trade card of GGE.  "Fables de La Fontaine.  La poule aux oeufs d'or."  €4.50 from Helene Baumer, Epinay sur Seine, France, through Ebay, June, '20.

This is one of those trade cards with lovely coloring and energetic action, here sadly that of killing the hen.  There is nothing I can find on this card to identify who printed it or when.




1960?  Colored fable card advertising "Collection Biscottes Clément" and presenting "The Coach and the Fly" by Jean Mercier.  $3.36 from Jeannick Brisson, Baignes Sainte Radegonde, France, through Ebay, May, '20. 

I recognized this image immediately.  It was done by Jean Mercier and appeared on menus for Compagnie General Transatlantique.  In fact, that menu appeared in the Joslyn Museum exhibit of this collection in 2018.  Its most unusual feature is the oversized fly apparently sitting on the paper.  The fly is so insignificant, despite his own ideas of his accomplishment, that he does not appear otherwise in the image.  One is tempted to whisk him away in order to look at the picture!  The printer's name ends in something like "ugges" in Paris and Nantes.  In an earlier existence this card lost that bit of its printer's name.  The title and text of the fable make up the verso of the card.