Today’s images come to us courtesy of reader Edward Dietrich, who recently discovered a 2012 post with my scans of a 1960s booklet, Sinclair and the Exciting World of Dinosaurs. Another reader had informed me that the artist was Matthew Kalmenoff, and Ed added that Kalmenoff did the full-color paintings on the stamps in a book I loved when I was a kid: The Golden Stamp Book of Animals of the Past.
The cover, featured above, has art by Charles McVicker. Ed sent the following scans of Matthew Kalmenoff’s paintings for us all to enjoy. He included notes about different versions of this book, of which there were many!
Though the blog Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs has scans of some pages from a 1950s version of this book, the art was apparently recycled into many editions. Ed says he’s owned a third printing from 1968 (priced at 59¢), plus an eleventh printing from 1975 and an eighteenth printing from 1980 (both priced at 89¢).
Most of Ed’s scans are not from the stamp book edition, but a 1961 version called Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals Trading Cards, and branded “Golden Funtime Trading Cards”. Instead of printing the artwork on sheets of lickable stamps to affix to the pages, this version presented the images on heavy cardstock and had oversized pages. This version only had 45 paintings, compared to the 48 in the stamp books, so Ed thoughtfully scanned the remaining stamps from the other editions.
Some updates to the captions happened between the 1950s stamp book version and this 1960s trading card version. For example, the Protoceratops is clearly labeled as such in Ed’s scans, but was labeled “horn-faced dinosaur” in the 1950s version. Also, the Ichthyosaur is named in this edition, where it was labeled “fish-like reptile” in the 1950s book. “Winged reptile” got updated to Rhamphoryncus. Other captions changed, too, but why should I ruin all the fun of letting you find them?
If you’re like me, you now want wall-sized prints of several of these gorgeous (if somewhat scientifically outdated) paintings. If you’re willing to settle for something smaller, I’ve seen some of them on Amazon repackaged into a 1988 book called Ready to Frame Dinosaur Paintings. I hope Kalmenoff got paid well for this artwork, considering how many times it was repurposed into different publications over the years.
If you’re digging these paintings and want to see more of Matthew Kalmenoff’s vintage artwork, cruise back to the original post that started all this madness, because I updated it with more images and links. I was excited to learn about this connection to one of my childhood treasures via total strangers’ commenting on a post about a book I randomly found on eBay. Talk about going full circle!
A big “thank you” goes out to Ed for taking the time to scan and share these images! This blog would be nothing without the people who have dropped by over the years to share my enthusiasm about dinosaurs, prehistoric animals, comic books, poetry, and mutant brains from outer space. Happy New Year to you, and may your dreams be filled with prehistoric mammals!
The next three images are the ones from the stamp books that did not appear in the 1961 trading cards version.
If I ever get around to recording another album of guitar instrumentals, it’s going to be called “Skull of the Uinta Beast”. Hell yeah!
Here are two images of the cover from the 1961 trading cards version!