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The Philadelphia Print Shop Currier and Ives

Currier & Ives Best 50

[ History | Current listing ]



In 1932 a jury of twelve Currier & Ives experts and collectors selected a group of what they considered to be the "Best 50" large folio Currier & Ives prints. For fifty days running, these prints were illustrated and described in the New York Sun. This publicity created much interest, and subsequent newspaper sales, so that the following year the "Best 50" small folio prints were also selected (four medium folio prints were included in this list). These two lists created an instant market for the 100 prints chosen and the lists have been reprinted in almost every general book on Currier & Ives published since.

In 1988 a new, more democratic process of selecting the "Best 50" was sponsored by the American Historical Print Collectors Society (AHPCS). "The Best 50 - Revisited" was begun by a panel of experts who selected the "Top 100" of both large and small folio prints. These prints were then presented in a ballot to the entire membership of the AHPCS, which then selected the "New Best 50" large and small folio prints. A handsome book, Currier & Ives. The New Best 50 (available from our bookstore) was published in 1990 with all the new "best" prints illustrated in color and with an analysis of the differences between the original and new lists. Listings of the Original Best 50, Top 100, and New Best 50 are included as appendixes in this guide.

The prints from all four lists are very collectible and usually command a premium price. They are all wonderful prints, generally considered to be the best of the Currier & Ives oeuvre. While among the over 7,500 original Currier & Ives prints there are many others that are just as wonderful, there is always an added value in acquiring one of these "Best 50" prints.

Current listing

Large folio:

None currently available.

Small folio:

Star of the Road
"The Star of the Road." N. Currier, 1849. Small folio. 8 x 12 1/2. Some wear and a few repaired tears in margins. C:5701. Original Best 50: #6. $475

Midnight Race on the Mississippi
"Midnight Race On The Mississippi." Currier & Ives, 1875. Small folio. 9 x 13 1/4. C:4117. New Best 50: 9. A bonus print for "The Home Companion." $1,800

Wild Turkey Shooting
"Wild Turkey Shooting." Currier & Ives, 1871. Small folio. 9 3/8 x 12 3/8. C:6677. Original Best 50: #14. $750

Home on the Mississippi
"A Home On The Mississippi." Currier & Ives, 1871. Small folio. 8 1/2 x 12 1/2. C:2876. Rubbed spots on publisher imprint at left and centers. New Best 50: #25. Appears on the label of Southern Comfort. $1,100

"American Homestead Summer." Currier & Ives, 1869. Small folio. 7 7/8 x 12 3/8. C:171. New Best 50: #39. $875

"American Homestead Autumn." Currier & Ives, 1869. Small folio. 7 7/8 x 12 3/8. Lithograph. Very good condition. C:169. New Best 50: #66. $875

"American Homestead Winter." Currier & Ives, 1868. Small folio. 7 7/8 x 12 3/8. Light abrasion in sky above house; light mat burn in margins. C:172. Original Best 50: #23; New Best 50: #5. $1,500

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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated November 14, 2018