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By Capt. C.M. Quinlan – Master of Sail

At the height of the California Gold Rush (1848 - 1852) Boston & New York became rivals, each striving to build the best sailing ships afloat. The emerging designs of slim hulled, deep draft, towering American clipper ships had startled the maritime world with their graceful beauty, and most importantly, their record-setting speed under sail. The many clipper ships, some 352 grand generated great competition for passengers and cargo. The "Sailing Cards" were the advertising medium of the day. The advertising cards glorified the attributes of the individual ships, the cards vied for commerce in the exciting era of the California Gold Rush and the era of the American entrepreneurial invention of the mighty and swift "American Clipper Ship".

The surviving original Sailing Cards passed along by ship owners to prospective shippers, passengers, and agents are among the most desirable of maritime collectibles. These full color reproductions of original 1850's Ship Sailing Cards are Rare & Unique Images from America 's Golden Age of Sail. The original sailing cards are displayed in the Peabody Museum - Salem , Maine .

Recent prices for individual Sailing Cards range from $300 to $400 for cards that have torn corners, stains, excessive handling or other damage. Even with such defects, some rare cards advertising record-setting clippers, or those famed for various other reasons, can carry prices in the thousands!

There are great varieties of colorful maritime imagery on these historic cards and exceptional examples, featuring hand-lettered ship names. The sailing cards are both beautiful and imaginative.

Obviously, these artistic efforts, now sought by collectors, were accomplished to attract customers to the Glidden & Williams Line. The very fact that a number of these elegant cards have been preserved for enjoyment today proves that this world-famous Boston shipping company did, indeed, know its business.

Now you can own outstanding replicas of these rare unique and imaginative "Sailing Cards" that advertise the sailing of the great Clipper Fleet during America's Golden Age of sail at the height of the California Gold Rush (1848-1852).

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