Monday, February 16, 2009


While my main focus for this blog is on billheads and receipts (I know I haven’t posted anything on this topic yet, but I will get there). I thought I would mention letterheads too. Recently, I saw some neat examples on ebay. Obviously, these do not have the "bought of" on the document, but if you like graphics and advertising ephemera, some letterheads can be quite stunning in their design. I have posted below several nice examples that are currently for sale on ebay (not by me, but another sellers). Also, here is a link to an interesting article about a letterhead collection from the NY Times in 1996. There was also a companion book published about the exhibit entitled Letters from the Avant Garde: Modern Graphic Design by Ellen Lupton and Elaine Lustig Cohen.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Billheads - Hotels

Here are some examples of hotel billheads. Hotel receipts and/or billheads do not usually contain the "bought of" phrase but a "to" instead or nothing at all.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Billheads and Postal History - the US

I promised when I posted about UK billheads and postal history, I would follow-up with the US version. US billheads usually are not folded and mailed like the UK ones. Instead, they are mailed in envelopes (or covers in postal history terms). Some covers have a simple return address like today and other are elaborately illustrated. The more elaborate envelopes are avidly collected by postal history collectors. A great reference source, and one that I own, is The American Illustrated Cover Catalog which documents the collection of John Biddle. Almost all photos are in color and it is an awesome source for cover collectors. Here are some examples of the cover and the billhead together.

Next week signboard graphics - some examples. In the next couple of weeks I hope to post some spots on revenue stamps and billheads (both US and UK), more on the Youle 1822 NY billhead and the mysterious antique mall (I am heading there again tomorrow - I can't help myself!).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Graphic Billheads - Products

As promised, here are some examples of product graphics from billheads. The first is a billhead I recently purchased on ebay. It is an awesome 1822 New York billhead with a wonderful stove graphic. I plan on discussing this billhead more in dept in a few weeks as it, like the Wetherill billhead, has some interesting history.

Grosvenor Prints - UK

In my last post, I said I would post some examples of graphic billheads with products. I will try to get to that tonight. In the meantime, the other day while searching google, I stumbled upon a website for a print dealer in Great Britain. The dealer’s name is Grosvenor’s Prints. I was searching through the website and discovered some awesome billheads for sale. Prices are steep, but to their credit, the billheads are in great condition and 18th century - making them rare. Here are some pictures of a few of the ones I thought were cool. If only I had more funds, I might buy one or two. For now, I am stuck just admiring them.

For you trade card collectors, there are also some nice trade cards for sale on the site.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Graphic Billheads - More Animals

Here are some more animal billheads. All of these were purchased this weekend and will be listed on ebay tonight or in the next week or so.

Once I have listed the billheads on ebay, I will put a link here to go to my ebay listings.
Tomorrow - Graphic Billheads - Products.

A recent paper hunting trip to Northern Wisconsin

This past weekend, I finally was able to drive up to an antique shop in Northern Wisconsin on the recommendation of a dealer. I had mentioned to this dealer while at their shop that I was disappointed in the lack of paper ephemera at Wisconsin antique malls and shops and the dealer stated, "That if I liked paper, I needed to visit ?????". I am hesitant to provide the shop name right now, as I feel as if it is my personal gold mine. Although, other collectors and dealers surely know about it. Until I can make another trip to buy the items I left behind and can’t stop dreaming about, I will leave it unnamed as of now, with the promise that I will reveal it in the very near future.

On Saturday, I drove approximately three hours to get to this place with my fingers crossed that it would be worth it. I initially walked in and was slightly disappointed as all I saw was prints and paintings (if you like these items this place was loaded with them - pricing was reasonable, but not cheap). The Tomah dealer told me the second floor was the where all the paper was. So I trumped up the stairs and went to my right. Still not seeing this "cache" of paper I was expecting. As I do a u-turn and head toward the other side of the floor - there is was - paper galore. So much paper that in four hours of sitting at a table and looking through binders and boxes and drawers, I in no way covered even a third of it. I am going to be showing in the next few posts all the billheads I purchased at this shop. Most are going on ebay tonight (my moniker is cbowler27 if you are interested in purchasing any). While I keep a fair amount, I sell billheads that don’t fit my collection area to keep my collecting coffers full.
At about 2:30 pm, I finally pulled myself away from the paper and went to look at the books. I turned into book stack and my mouth dropped - there were probably 30 Victorian scrapbooks on one wall. The most I have ever seen. While most were okay, there were a few gems in the group (chuck full of trade cards). Then, from there, I turned into another book stack and saw the piles of ledgers and bound 19th century periodicals - including an invoice book that was 12 inches thick and full of pasted billheads. This is the item I have been dreaming about. I might be heading back up this Saturday to take a better look at it (I was exhausted by the time I found this) and hopefully purchase it.

I finally left the shop at 3:30 p.m. - again after 4 hours of searching. This is going to be a monthly stop for me (cross your fingers gas prices stay where they are at). I spoke with the clerk who checked me out and he said the owner has been frequenting the East Coast for years and buying paper. No wonder there was such a great assortment of paper. Truly a treasure to have in Northern Wisconsin - I hope to be able to give my business to this shop for years to come! And after I have visited one more time, I promise I will reveal the shop name and location.