Prints from George W. Colton's Colton's Atlas of America. New York: J.H. Colton and Company. [and] London: Trübner and Company, 1856. Copyright reads 1855. All in very good condition, except as noted.
In 1856, J.H. Colton & Co. issued a Philadelphia commercial edition of its Atlas of America, on the cover of which was stamped "Colton's Atlas with Business Cards of the Prominent Houses in Philadelphia. Commercial Edition." This was an atlas in which the Colton firm sold different size advertisements to be placed within the atlas, so that among the fine maps of North and South America which appeared in all their atlases, this version included numerous advertisements for Philadelphia firms. Most of these were single page advertisements with wood engraved illustrations, though a firm could pay more and get a single page "business card" illustrated in lithography or chromolithography, and some few larger businesses even purchased bigger, double page illustrations of their businesses. These are amongst the most interesting, decorative and rare trade ads of the period. These have become a rare and prized part of the history of Philadelphia prints. In the introduction to the atlas, the firm states that this edition of the atlas will be limited to one thousand copies, "and distributed gratuitously, for the interest of the advertisers therein, to leading Hotels and Steamers, throughout the country."
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