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Catch-all roundup ...

Posted by Dave Bull at 7:36 AM, November 24, 2010 [Permalink]

Cleaning up my 'desktop' here this evening, and have a few items for the RoundTable, none of them worth a post by themselves ...

This past spring, I took part in the semi-annual Design Festa event (and posted about it here). I didn't sign up for the autumn version, but they have definitely got me on their mailing list, and I keep receiving pamphlets and other promo material from them. The package announcing next spring's event - Design Festa 33 - arrived the other day. I had a bit of a start when I saw the front cover ...

Hey, 'be creative' it says!

And looking at their website, I see that they've continued the 'theme' ...

Well - talking about 'be creative' - earlier this month I passed one major milestone with the mortgage news, but another one has also just gone by, although I didn't realize it until doing some bookkeeping the other day.

Cumulative sales of the My Solitudes series of prints has just passed the 1,000 mark! Now compared to some of my other print series, this is not such a large number, but this series was different - these are completely original prints, not reproductions of Edo period work.

When I first proposed the series my daughters were in a panic, and were adamant that I was headed for disaster. I was a bit more optimistic than that though, and pressed forward with the idea. Now I suppose I shouldn't say things like this, but I really wish that some of my grade school art teachers could know about this result ... that in my very first foray into the production of original artworks, I managed to reach this level of acceptance in the market. I guess my ego probably doesn't need much more 'boosting' at this stage of my life, but anyway, there it is!

(If you're curious about totals for other of my print series, all such information is publicly accessible on my 'Business Transparency' page, where - using the form there - you can select any combination of print sets and/or dates, to 'take a peek' ...)

And finally this evening, I've got a very interesting one! This actually deserves a full post of its own, but that will have to wait until I have time to do a bit more research on it. Just last week, after following a lead that came in through Google Alerts, I picked up a few old prints on a Yahoo Auction here in Tokyo. The prints themselves aren't actually all that interesting for me; what caught my eye in the auction listing was a photograph of the original paper wrapper that had survived with them. I knew the seller wouldn't let me have just the wrapper, so I bid on the listing, and won it. (It was only the equivalent of about $25).

Here's what had caught my eye (enlargeable):

It's bilingual, so you can see for yourself what this is about. It tells us that in 1927 this company was selling woodblock prints on a subscription basis. Now where have I heard that idea before?

And they list prices for overseas subscriptions! Did they actually have subscribers in other countries?

I'll be interested in learning more about this, particularly what the old money would have been worth. For a domestic purchaser, the prints were 1.50 yen for three (or 50 sen each), but this price dropped by 1/3 when purchased via yearly subscription. Were these prints cheap, or expensive? I have no idea.

If any of you do have knowledge of pre-war Japanese currency values, I'd love to hear what you can offer here ...


Following comment posted by: Lee Oldford Churchill on November 24, 2010 11:22 PM

Hi Dave,
There are online sources for this I cna't find the one I've used but that was for mainly British currency anyway. The link I pasted may have some connection that will hopefully help!

Following comment posted by: George Jarvis on November 25, 2010 12:53 PM

$1.00 US in 1927 had the buying power of $12.20 US in 2010. The exchange rate in 1927 was 2.21 Yen = $1.00. 1.5 Yen in 1927 then would be about $40 US in 2010. An average "worker's wage" reported for 1926 was 2.92 yen/day or about $79 US in buying power. Half a day's work? Cheap or Expensive?

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