Rare First Edition United States Treasury Department Specimen Album; containing some of the finest examples of 19th century American engravings
United States Treasury Department Vignette and Portrait Presentation Album.
McCartree, George P., Chief of Bureau and George W. Casileer, Superintendent of Engraving.
Item Number: 96257
Washington: Bureau of Engraving and Printing, c. 1875.
Rare first edition United States Treasury Department Specimen Album containing some of the finest examples of 19th century American engravings. Oblong quarto, bound in the original full morocco with gilt titles and tooling to the spine in five compartments within raised gilt bands, double gilt ruling and elaborate gilt central ornaments to the front and rear panels, inner dentelles, all edges gilt. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Ulysses S. Grant with tissue guard in addition to 140 engraved tissue-guarded plates including the proof engraving of George Washington that graced the 1875 $1 banknote, and numerous other portraits, historic buildings, and allegorical figures by George W. Casilear. The brother of landscape painter John William Casilear, George W. Casilear was an early and nationally recognized security engraver. He held several important patents to features including tamper-proof ink, printing techniques and paper. In consideration of the aesthetic needs of the Treasury for both widespread reproduction of these images on banknotes and well as the fine detail required to distinguish counterfeiting, the engravings are considered among the finest American examples of 19th century. In very good condition. Most likely one of a handful of known examples.
United States Treasury Department Specimen books were published by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing from the mid 1860s through the 1910s. Prepared upon request of the United States Treasury Department Secretary, albums were presented to Cabinet members, select members of Congress, diplomats, and visiting dignitaries. While no two presentation albums appear exactly alike, each book typically contains a fine selection of Presidential portraits, vignettes and historic buildings.