Collecting M&T Trade Cards


It has been a delight to see social media filled with snapshots of readers’ wrapped copies of M&T Issue Two. Although I thought this extra effort would be appreciated by at least a few of our readers, I didn’t expect to see this much enthusiasm for the wrapping alone. The trade cards attached to the wrapping are based off of 18th and 19th century cards tradesmen used for advertising to their communities. They usually featured drawings of furniture or tools and had verbose descriptions of the superiority of their wares or services. The text we use on our M&T cards is pulled straight out of these advertisements and cards. We’ve borrowed their sentences and applied them to our publication (complete with the long 's'). So… if they sound pompous, it’s because that was the way of advertising in the 18th century. We then place a wax seal on it. Historically, wax seals were used for authorial authentication of important documents. The writer’s personal seal was placed into the molten wax deposited at the bottom of the page, leaving behind their signature impression (like this example here).

People really love these M&T trade cards. I can’t tell you how many people have sent us pictures of the cards hanging on their shop walls, inside the lid of their tool chests, or even displayed in custom made frames. Besides saving the cards, many readers have ordered two copies so that they can have a shop copy for use and a ‘mint’ condition wrapped copy for posterity. Yes, you read that right: this thing is becoming a collector’s item.

I love doing the wrapping for our orders. I wish we could do them for every stockist order, forever. The truth is, it is stupid expensive to do this. It costs me almost as much as printing the magazine itself and takes an incredible amount of our (otherwise content-generating) time. What are we to do, then? Mike and I have been discussing this situation for a while now and think we have come up with a sustainable solution which will begin with Issue Three. I’ll elaborate on details later but just so you all know, we are working on a way for everyone (yes, even international orders) to be able to get a wrapped copy of every issue of our magazine. Each new issue will have its own new design.

The flip side of this change means that, for each issue, there will be a finite window of time in which the wrapped versions will be available. After that window of time, we will be shipping our mags without the fancy accoutrements.

Suffice it to say, if you have been thinking about ordering a copy of Issue One or Issue Two to save as a wrapped mint-condition copy, consider doing it sooner than later.