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The Brady Nikas Collection



The Brady Nikas Collection is the largest privately held collection in the United States of works from the family archive of the Imprenta de Antonio Vanegas Arroyo. The Brady Nikas Collection contains 245 printing blocks, the largest and most significant assembly of printing blocks outside of Mexico. The Brady Nikas Collection includes many iconic works by José Guadalupe Posada and Manuel Manilla such as La Catrina, El Gran Fandango, Juego de Oca, La Calavera Infernal, and La Torre Eiffel.


The Brady Nikas Collection contains the widest variety in the United States of printing block types, themes and important images by JG Posada and contemporaries Manuel Manilla, Hema, Cortes and Olviedo. In addition to these unique and historical pieces, the Brady Nikas Collection contains 1,863 broadsides, bulletins, gazettes, chapbooks, restrikes, printed editions, books and ephemera.


The owners of the Collection are Jim Nikas and Maryanne Brady, frequent travellers to Mexico for over 30 years, whose deep love of Mexico and its rich culture inspired them to build the Collection. Works in the Collection span approximately the period from 1893 to 1913. The Collection is an invaluable resource documenting the relationship that Posada had with the Imprenta de Antonio Vanegas Arroyo for whom Posada produced hundreds of religious, political (including the Mexican Revolution), sensational, historical, and the famed calavera images.




In the late 1990s, the Imprenta de Antonio Vanegas Arroyo founder’s grandson, Arsacio Vanegas Arroyo, offered to sell printed works and printing blocks from the family archive to his friend, Ernesto Ravetto, an antiquarian in California. Recognizing both the significance of the works and their historical provenance, Ernesto Ravetto began to buy material from the Vanegas Arroyo archive. In order to preserve the integrity of the archive, in 2000 Ernesto Ravetto invited Jim Nikas to form the New World Prints partnership with the sole purpose of purchasing as much material as possible from the printer's family so this historical treasure could be kept together and not dispersed through multiple sales. Acquisitions from the Vanegas Arroyo family continued after Arsacio Vanegas Arroyo’s death in 2001. In 2008, Ernesto Ravetto needed to sell his share in New World Prints. Jim Nikas and wife Maryanne Brady decided to buy Ernesto Ravetto’s interest.


Jim Nikas and Maryanne Brady continued to enrich the collection with further acquisitions, among others a complete set (110 booklets) of the Biblioteca del Niño Mexicano series, acquired from Mr. Mercurio Lopez Casillas, noted author and JG Posada historian. Such acquisitions, among others, are noted accordingly in the catalog. All printing blocks are from the Imprenta de Antonio Vanegas Arroyo and are certified by descendants of the founder. The printing blocks are described in detail in the collection catalog designated as Volume 4 entitled: "Certificados de autenticidad de las placas de impresión de J.G. Posada firmados por los vendedores, Irma Vanegas Arroyo y Raúl Cedeño Vanegas y herederos de la imprenta Antonio Vanegas Arroyo." 




The catalog methodology is divided into categories that provide useful identification and descriptions of items in the collection most used by institutional collections.  The catalog has three volumes listing and describing printed items and a fourth volume that listing the printing blocks. Volume 4 has its own description system and a Key describing abbreviations used to describe the information about the printing blocks. The categories for volumes 1-3 are defined briefly below.


Master Number

This number is a running number and represents an ordinal classification system that includes all items in the collection.


Catalog Number

This number is assigned to each group of items within a specific category. For example the category of Chapbooks, each Chapbook will have a Master Catalog Number but will also have a specific Catalog Number identifying it as a chapbook.



The Brady Nikas Collection contains mainly printed items and are generally identified as prints.


Item Name

This is the title, byline, headline or main grouping of words that appear on the item.


Title Translation

This is the general translation typically from Spanish to English of the Item Name.



This is a photograph of the item.


Year Created

This is the date the item was produced as it appears on the item or when appearing with the letter “c” for circa an approximation of when it was produced.



This is the publisher of the item and where it was published.


Description of Item

This gives general information about the item including: dimensions, color, condition, image(s) type (acid etching, engraving or woodcut) and artist(s).



Excellent = May be some signs of age but little if any tearing on edges, little if any stains or folding. Easy to read and discern images. Can easy be photographed or exhibited.


Very Good = Likely signs of age such as fading but maybe some tearing on edges, maybe a few tiny pin sized holes. Some folding may be evident. Easy to read and discern images. Can easy be photographed or exhibited.


Good or Fair = Signs of age may be more evident such as some fading, some tearing on edges and corners, maybe a few tiny pin sized holes and occasionally some a little larger. Folding can be more evident. Typically the image and text are very readable, undamaged and images unaffected. Can easy be photographed or exhibited.


Poor = Signs of age very evident such as fading and staining, tearing on edges and corners, may have a few to many holes of varied sizes. Folding creases often very evident. Typically the images are fine text maybe missing but often can be problematic to photograph or exhibit. If image is damaged or missing then the print usually is placed here.


Condition Notes/Duplicates

Additional descriptions may be contained here regarding condition and duplicates.



If the item appears in a publication a note is made here.


Source of Acquisition

Where and from whom the item was purchased.


Summary of Text

A general translation of what the text, if any, describes.



This listed a general theme including but not limited to: Political, Historical, and Popular Themes.



Each item is assigned to a genre or form. The genres or forms include but are not limited to: Broadsides, Chapbooks, Restrikes, Ephemera and Books.

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