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Friday, 5 May 2017

It Is A Minefield Of Con-Men Out There -A Warning

I used this image the other day because I liked the look of it.  Design and style.  A member on one of my Yahoo groups told me they had purchased a copy of this as a print -A4 and dated as 1900 on the back.

I wish he had mentioned this before buying but I noted comic people pay and grab and then boast after because "I have this and you don't!"  Take a good look at the image.  See it?  Spot the major clues because it was the first thing I noticed.

Can you see it? Okay.

Look at the framed image and what do you see?  A nice crisp image of the Springald to catch the eye. Lovely crisp black ink and a wash that blends the cape into the background. But this is far too clear. Look at the building at the boot end.  That is genuine wood block art -in the UK we used to say "Comic sets" rather than "comic strips" because the panel art was cut into wood blocks for printing. So a style is obvious here.

"Lloyd's News"/"Standard" and "Daily News" -if you have trawled newspaper archives you will know those names.  This is London.

Lots of smoke in the mid ground.  Big fire?  If you enlarge a section of that you see...

Not how they might have cut a smoke plume but you do get this type of effect with different printers. Could it be...
St Paul's Cathedral in London?  And the smoke? I would have to guess as one of a huge number of photos taken of St Paul's after the London Blitz of 1940 -St Paul's was iconic and the photographs were censored for days afterwards.

But that was 1940 -how??

Come on, look again. It is a montage including a photocopy of a Blitz image. This is not a Gestetner stencil copy image (David Gestetner in 1881).  Chester Carlson, a patent attorney who wanted an easier way to copy documents, did not create his "electrophotography" (at home in his kitchen no less) until 1938 when he applied for his patent, but no one wanted the idea until 1944 when the Battelle Memorial Museum got in touch with Carlson to develop the idea.  In 1947 the Haloid Corporation of New York developed the idea further and created the Xerox.

So, this is not a 1900 print.  But there is an even bigger clue that the seller 'didn't spot' and neither did the buyer of this "I think it is dated 1900" image.  See it?  Go on -top right hand corner.  The price. It reads "5p" or five pence. You see, in 1900 that would have read "5d".  Pre-decimalisation of UK currency the penny was denoted with a "d" (as in £ s(shillings) and d) for denarius.  Twelve to a shilling (1/-) but after decimalisation when we lost money (!) there were no shillings -that was now 5 pence (100 p =£1 rather that 240d pre decimalisation).  The UK went decimal on 15th February, 1971.

So this whole piece is a post 1971 piece of art.  A fanzine? A music zine or story zine? I cannot trace the originator but if you know please tell me!  Love it.  The weathering could just be age -a grease proof bag was all we kept paper things in to avoid damage back then.  Or someone weathered in -I have done this with reproduction old posters to make them look old for myself.

But one site after another cites this as a publication "of the period" (pre 1900) but no one gives credit of any kind.  I like it but, please, someone offers you a copy as anything other than post 1971 -tell them and then let everyone else know.

What next for me?  I hear reports of a mysterious hound up on the moors...

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