Auction catalogues are sources for iconography and history; for example, Christie’s has mounted over 200 auctions of rock and pop memorabilia, issuing catalogues that illuminate the stories of performers and groups as well as events like the Woodstock festival. Other catalogues offer biographical details; a 2003 catalogue from Sotheby’s documents Elton John’s changing taste, while others, like the 1999 catalogue page reproduced above, represent the posthumous dispersal of personal effects—in this case, Yehudi Menuhin’s collection of instruments and bows.
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Trade cards, which disseminate advertising by fostering cartophilia, have been issued since the early nineteenth century. Some are sources for music iconography, depicting musicians, composers, or dramatic works; those issued by instrument makers often depict their wares in attractive settings.
The card shown above (recto and verso) is an example of the latter, printed for the Estey Organ Company. Behind the group of music lovers, two children gaze at the Estey factory, which is now a museum. The company revolutionized musical life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by using marketing techniques like this card to place Estey organs in homes and institutions throughout the world.