1880 BEP portraits and vignettes list

A couple days ago the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, IL, sent me photocopies of a rare piece of literature. I think collectors who appreciate the engravings on large-size U.S. currency will find this very interesting. It's a pamphlet titled: "List of Portraits and Vignettes in the Engraved Stock of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing." This is in the public domain, so there are no copyright issues posting it here. The full pamphlet is 8 pages, but I've edited out the blank ones.

In 1880, the BEP compiled a complete list of the portraits and vignettes that could be purchased, for a very nominal fee, by art associations, libraries, and government bigwigs. You may recognize many of the vignettes and portraits from early federal notes. "Plain proofs" were just a nickel each, India proofs (on tissue-like paper) were 7 for a buck, and French India proofs (tissue paper pressed onto card stock) were a dime. Today these proofs start in the $20 range and run into the hundreds for some that appear on currency. A great many may be found in BEP specimen books.

You can see there are a number of additional titles added by hand at the end of the list. The curator at the Lincoln library guessed these were added by the original owner of the pamphlet, perhaps a collector. The Robert Todd Lincoln portrait was engraved in 1887, so the additions are at least that old. I have seen a reference in another book that shows the Bureau issued an updated list in 1885, but I have yet to find a copy. Any leads are appreciated.

If anyone is interested, I can post some images of proofs in my collection that correspond to listings in the pamphlet. And I'd be happy to see similar proofs from other members.



Intrigued by all things intaglio.
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