Thursday, May 26, 2011

Friend or Faux?

So I was at my fave thrift store the other day when I spotted this print:


Cool, right? I think so anyway. Love the nostalgic look and the history lover in me is all about the inscription underneath: The Great Ocean Yacht Race Between the Henrietta, Fleetwing & Vesta. This was an actual race in history, people! And this is what I found out about it. (Skip this part if you don't want a history lesson.)

This was the first trans-ocean race by privately owned yachts and one of the most famous races in history. Each owner (all NYYC members) put up $30;000 for a winner take all purse of $90;000. Henrietta won; finishing December 25 with a 21 year old James Gordon Bennett on board; the youngest and the only one of the owners to make the passage. This was one reason for the acclaim that led to his election as commodore of the NYYC in 1871 at age 26.

I thought the picture itself was cool, let alone the inscription and that this was a depiction of an actual event in history, but then I saw that this was a print by Currier and Ives. According to Wikipedia, 

"Currier and Ives was the most prolific and successful company of lithographers in the U.S. Its lithographs represented every phase of American life, and included the themes of hunting, fishing, whaling, city life, rural scenes, historical scenes, clipper ships, yachts, steamships, the Mississippi River, Hudson River scenes, railroads, politics, comedy, gold mining, winter scenes, commentary on life, portraits, and still lifes." 

I knew those prints can be worth some big bucks. I had seen enough--the print was mine for $10. When I got home I did some research and found this:


What. the. crap. Of course this is for an original and Currier and Ives prints are like the most reproduced ones out there. So I'm pretty sure mine isn't an actual lithograph, colored by hand, but it's still super cool in my book. But shoot, imagine if it were...

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