Evaluating Condition


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The original lithographs from the Perry Expedition Narratives are almost 150 years old. They will not be pristine. Rather, they show signs of natural aging as you would expect of such material. Take a look at the title page for the set that Duke University has in it's library. One would assume that Duke University takes reaonable measures to conserve it books. Foxing and toning are a natural aspect of this type of material.

My system for grading condition lithograph condition uses three descriptive terms.

  • Standard (3 on a scale from 1 to 5)

  • Above Standard (5 on a scale from 1 to 5)

  • Below Standard (1 on a scale from 1 to 5)
  • Missing (0)
  • Duplicate (0) the correctly placed copy is reviewed and valued.

I reach my subjective evaluation by considering a number of factors. Please consider my subjective evaluation in light of the pictures of the lithograph I have provided. I am providing my evaluation merely as an aide and shorthand evalation of the condition of a lithograph. My evaluations are not any kind of trade standard - just my stab at this very subjective area.

Standard - Includes the Following Conditions.

    Paper Color. The paper is a off-white (light tan).

    Image Tilt. The lithographs are handmade. Often you find the image tilted in relation to the edges. I consider a tilt of 5% or less normal.

    Text Foxing. The lithographs were bound into the Narrative books. There was no interleaving to protect them from the text and illustrations on the adjacent pages. The aging process often imprints mirror (ghost) images of the test and illustrations from the adjacent pages. This faint toning/foxing is difficult to demonstrate in an image. Click here to see an example of the back of a lithograph with what I call text foxing. In my descriptions of a lithograph, I will not note text foxing on the back of a lithograph. I will note it on the face of a lithograph. If the text foxing is very faint, I do not consider it a non-standard condition. Text foxing on the face which is darker and stands out when you are looking at the image will be a factor that would make an item below standard.

    Other Foxing. By foxing I am referring to brownish or gray discoloration spots. Foxing along the edge of these lithographs is the norm. Freqently it extends into the margin. Significant foxing will be visible on the full size lithograph image that is posted. I consider foxing normal unless it enters the image area or is very intense.

    Miscellaneous Stains. Minor stains and spots in the margin are common and will not cause a lithograph to be downgraded from standard. Significant stains or spots in the image are will cause the item to be graded Below Standard.

    Ragged Margin with Paper Adhering. These Lithographs were bound into the Narratives. There frequently sustained damage to the spine side margin when removed from the book. In addition, paper often adhered from the adjacent pages. I consider a spine margin standard if it is basically intact. Small pieces missing, paper adhering, minor tears, creases, etc. in the first 15mm of the spine margin are considered standard. For each lithograph, I have provided a full image where you can see the condition of all margins. A typical spin margin is shown here. Some lithogramps have "denkled edges" (rough uneven edge on paper which has been left untrimmed). This is not a negative factor.


    Lithograph Indentations. During the lithography process, indentations or pin size holes are sometimes made on the print where the edge of the litho stone struck the print paper. These pin holes are also sometimes (much less frequently) found within the image area. I do not consider these a negative factor. They will only be noted when they are in the image area.

    Lithography Indent/Pin Hole

Above Standard. This material will be a relatively (relative to Standard that is) choice lithograph. It will have few of the above conditions noted in Standard and they will be minor. Based upon the material I have examined, very few will fall in this category.

Below Standard. These lithographs will have one or more of the conditions noted in Standard, above, and the condition will be so different from the norm as to warrant downgrading the classification.



Book Foxing. While it is faint, you can see the text foxing. It is the darker area in the middle of the picture.

Book Foxing

Foxing and Fox Marks. Discoloration of the paper or other surfaces by brownish or greyish spots, believed to be caused by micro-organisms (mold). This condition can, generally, be repaired by an art conservator.

Spine Margin. This is a typical spine margin. You see small pieces missing and paper adhering.

Spine Margin


We Are Buying the 1856-7 Perry Expedition Books and Lithographs.
If you have material to sell, please visit this page:

George C. Baxley
PO Box 807
Alamogordo, NM 88311


Perry Expedition to Japan Books & Lithographs