Nathaniel Currier 1840 Steam Boat Lexington Disaster Long Island Sound news printBrian DiMambro- Antique & Vintage Maps, Prints, Books & Gold Coins
The Extra Sun, Steam boat Lexington Disaster- Long Island Sound, New York.
Issued in January 1840 as a supplement by the Sun newspaper (one of 3 major daily newspapers in NYC); printed image lithographed by Nathaniel Currier. Disaster print issued contemporary with the event, issued for public sale within 3 days of January 13, 1840, the day it sank in a spectacular flaming manner
(Cartography relating to Long Island Sound- a great rarity for a LI Sound collector- Currier & Ives predecessor- worst steam boat nautical disaster ever to occur on LI Sound).
Broadsheet on newsprint, seven columns of text below image and map. Old fold lines from having been saved for many years in a folded manner, scattered stains, edge chips, etc.- all as expected for such a large and separately issued loose sheet of newsprint paper. Now professionally laid down onto a thin archival paper backing sheet.
Rare early newspaper broadside lithograph by Nathaniel Currier, created some 17 years before he formed a partnership with James Ives and began a long distinguished history as print makers to the American people (Currier & Ives).
The Sun, the event and this vivid sensationalist human story printed image by Currier are of great historical importance (see wiki). It's publication marked an important turning point in the career of Currier as a lithographer, bringing him to national prominence, and thus to his future firm.
This broadsheet met with such explosive public sales success it was subsequently re-issued in four or more different versions. Of the 143 passengers aboard this luxury steam boat, only 4 survived by clinging to bales of cotton (see wiki for a vivid and fascinating account).
Like most separately issued sheets of paper sold in public, well over 90-95% have perished, a more likely percentage is likely far closer to 99%. Interesting cartographic connection as well, all around more than acceptable example of what must be rare in any condition.
This simple b&w news event version overprinted across the top with the Sun newspaper imprint almost certainly precedes those fancier versions issued once this simple version met with success and thus created the demand for those to appear.
Sheet measures c. 27 7/8"H x 20 1/4"W.
Printed area measures c. 27 1/4"H x 19 3/4"W.
Gale/ Reilly, Currier & Ives- A Catalogue Raisonne, 0357 (noting different versions).
McClain, Currier & Ives, 357 (noting the great significance of this print to the career of Currier and valuing it at $5000 in 1987).
Variant slightly later issue of this print with hand color and on a sheet with five columns of text offered 2017 online from knowledgeable newspaper dealer at $8000.