Here are two pieces of vintage Black Sparrow ephemera from the early days of the press. The card announces the publication of a Wallace Berman poster from 1967. John Martin mailed the notice to Joseph Gold, later Sir Joseph Gold, a famous monetary scholar with the IMF and book collector who lived in Bethesda. Gold must have been on Martin mailing list. This is not the first Mimeo Revolution item I have come across that slipped away from the Gold Collection that is housed in parts in various institutions, such as the University of Delaware. This announcement with the original envelope was re-purchased at Serendipity in the late 1990s shortly before Gold died. Gold was enough of a name on the rare book circuit for Peter Howard to consider this item an association. Gold was money in the bank.
Again we have another example here of small press business correspondence becoming important and interesting as time passes. The announcement has become a work of art in its own right and even the envelope has its joys and value. The addresses, the postmarks, and the bookselling notations of Peter Howard all have their stories to tell. There is a ton to unpack here in terms of art and collecting markets and relationships over the years involving Berman, Martin, Gold and Howard. These are the little details fill in the larger picture and make obsessively researched histories so fulfilling. The Thoreau stamp is the kicker that makes this an irresistible and fascinating piece of documentation. Thoreau's stance on civil disobedience developed in part because of his run-in with a tax collector at Walden. Gold would know all about that. What is John Martin saying to Gold with that stamp? How did Gold interpret it? The seemingly worthless detail, like a nickel stamp, makes ephemera priceless.