London: Liebig's Extract of Meat Company, nd [circa 1900]. Original [and] First Printing. The Liebig Company is a major producer of "Meat Extract”. Invented by famed German chemist Justus von Liebig the intent was to concentrate and preserve the essential nutrients and flavors of beef in the form of paste or bouillon cubes. Driven by a desire to help feed the undernourished, he developed a concentrated beef extract, Extractum carnis Liebig, to provide a nutritious meat substitute in 1840. However, it took 30 kg of meat to produce 1 kg of extract, making the extract too expensive. However, an English firm, who owned large cattle farms in South America, figured out an economical way to produce the meat extract in 1850 and named it after its inventor. "Liebig Fleischextrakt" was soon available worldwide.
Around 1870, they began publishing wonderful colored lithographed cards and continued doing so until 1939, although the company continued publishing selected cards until 1975. Over the years, many famous artists were commissioned to design various series, using lithography, chromolithography, and finally offset printing. The back of each card bore advertising for the Liebig Company products or a recipe. Over the course of their publication, the produced over 11,000 different cards.
With the exception of very rare early issues, the cards were given by the company in exchange for coupons and are generally found as complete sets. Each series has six or twelve cards in a set, each card approximately 3x4”. Most series were issued in more than one country and can thus be found in several languages. Near Fine. Minor edge wear, light toning, else bright and clean. Twelve cards (six original paintings, six trade cards as issued (printed back, etc), mounted, all originals show 'jar onlay' for the chromo-process. 3x5" cards. Illus. (color litho *and/or* handpainted). Lower right reads, "Erklärung siehe Rückseite" (For explanation, see reverse); lower left, "Gesetzl geschutz" (Legal protection [copyright claim]). Verso of originals show pencil notation of title and stamp with order details. Item #9324