March 31st, 2011

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Lombard big, and Lombard little

Carole Lombard memorabilia comes in all kinds of sizes -- some large enough to hang on your wall, others small enough to be stashed in a tiny drawer. Examples of each are in today's entry.

We'll begin with the large-scale Lombard, and while the following is by no means the biggest movie poster we've ever seen of her, it's nonetheless striking...especially since you've probably never seen it unless you're an Australian of age 90 or thereabouts. The Aussies* call this type of poster a "daybill," and it measures 15" x 40" (which includes a few blank inches at the top, not seen here, that exhibitors could use to list the theater's name and the dates it would be shown):

Isn't that a knockout -- but then again, most images of Carole in a swimsuit qualify for that description.

* Apologies to any Australians who may have been offended by the term "Aussies"; I've heard some bristle at that term, just as virtually every San Franciscan detests the contraction "Frisco." No slight was intended to our friends Down Under.

That swimsuit was also seen in this Paramount portrait:

The daybill may be of Australian origin, but it's found its way to the Northern Hemisphere, specifically Huntington, N.Y. It's professionally linenbacked and listed in fine condition. You can purchase it outright for $1,250 or make an offer; the sale/auction runs through 4:21 p.m. (Eastern) April 28. If this piques your interest, go to

From 15" x 40", let's downsize to 1" x 1 3/4" (actual size -- blown up below), and while Lombard's image isn't here, her signature is:

It's a stamp from 1940 (check), Carole's signature is in her customary green ink (check), but is it the real deal? For analysis, let's go to autograph expert Carole Sampeck of The Lombard Archive:

"It's absolutely a good signature. I also took a look at this seller's other items and closed auctions -- I haven't found a ringer in the bunch. Generally if you stay with UACC Dealers (particularly Registered Dealers, such as I was), you are afforded a large measure of protection."

But a stamp? Why would Carole sign a stamp?

"As to the Whys and Wherefores of signing a stamp -- who knows? I've seen stranger things, including an Orson Welles-autographed tongue depressor stick.

"Nice find!"

It may well be, but no one is biting, possibly because many collectors find it hard to believe Carole Lombard would sign a postage stamp. Bidding begins at $49.95 -- and as of this writing, no one has placed a bid. And time is ticking; the deadline is 9:54 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. To learn more, visit
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What an elegant Pathe to take

Okay, so the studio's name was actually pronounced "path-AY," sort of defeating the pun, but no matter. Officially, it's CL-197, a gorgeous photo of the young Lombard from 1929, when she was just 20, a recent Mack Sennett alumna still finding her way as a talkie starlet. (The seller lists it as being from "1929-30," but I'm pretty certain that by the end of 1929, Lombard was no longer a Pathe employee, and the photo series of her is known to extend to at least CL-225.)

The photographer isn't listed, but I'm guessing it's William E. Thomas, head of Pathe's photo department, who took more than his share of portraits of Lombard during her brief stay at the studio. His best-known shots of her are rather racy, but this proves he could also be sublime.

This 8" x 10" photo, said to be in excellent shape, can be yours -- but it won't come cheap. Bidding begins at $294.95, and closes at 11:15 p.m. (Eastern) next Wednesday. To learn more, go to

Just something to excite you as we count the hours (about three) to the start of baseball season.
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