Monday, December 31, 2012

Buon Anno! Italian Lucky 13 Horseshoe Postcard


With 2013 very nearly upon us I thought this Italian vintage postcard would be an excellent choice to celebrate the New Year! Published by a company indicated only by the simple initials T.E.L. printed on the reverse with no further markings, this uncirculated card was probably issued during the 1960s.

The lucky horseshoe has been a popular motif on postcards since the early 1900s, although there has always been some debate as to whether the horseshoe should be depicted with the open end up or down. Elves (or Gnomes) also seem to appear on New Year's Eve cards with alarming regularity! Less common in English speaking countries, of course, is the appearance of the number 13 on a greetings card. Fear of the number 13 is very common amongst the superstitious in many parts of the world, but in Italy 13 is, in fact, considered a lucky number – so the number 13 set inside a lucky horseshoe carried by Christmas elves makes this New Year's Eve greeting card even more auspicious!

Happy New Year!
 
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Joyeux Noël – French Christmas Greetings Postcard from 1924


The prolific Paris-based company Lèo of Pradot was famous throughout the 1920s for its series of erotic images, which look rather innocent today, as well as hand-tinted real photograph postcards with the garish colours that seem to have been so popular at the time. Lèo postcards are still easy to find today and I couldn't resist this lovely example when I found it on a Rome market stall recently. Vintage postcards are a great documentary source of historical fashions and styles of dress and this is a simply wonderful example of a fashionably dressed women in the mid 1920s. With her short hair under a cloche hat, the lavish use of lipstick, and her drop waist wrap coat fastened with a large bow, she must have been quite the Flapper!

What seems unusual nowadays, perhaps, is that these vintage postcards featuring beautiful women were simply adapted to the festive season by the addition of a glittery Joyeux Noël overlaid over the original postcard. It was posted from Lier, Belgium on 24 December 1924.

Merry Christmas!

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Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

Friday, October 19, 2012

Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi – circa 1899

Giacomo Puccini
Italian composers Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi are arguably two of Italy's best loved and most famous composers of operas, and as these two stunning portrait postcards from the late 1890s attest, celebrated musical figures of their day. I found these two vintage undivided back postcards on a market stall in Rome, Italy recently. They were sold together in pristine uncirculated condition, but we can date them with certainty to some time before 1906 when divided back postcards were first introduced in Italy. I have seen an identical copy of the Verdi postcard which was postally used in 1899, putting the publication of the postcards within both composers' lifetimes (Verdi died in 1901 and Puccini in 1924).

Giuseppe Verdi
The cards were printed by Italian company G. Modiano e Co, a Milan-based printing studio which branched into postcard publishing in the late 1890s under the guidance of Gustavo Modiano. On the death of Gustavo in 1916, the firm would first be run by his wife Bice, and then by his son Guido Modiano, who would later still become a well-known Italian art critic.

The Puccini postcard carries a pre-printed autograph which at first glance looks incredibly authentic. Modiani & Co. certainly did a fine job in printing the name in a darker ink – it had me fooled for a while...!

Check out the Vintage Postcard Store for more vintage composers postcards

Watch a video below of Puccini playing the piano wearing his distinctive bowler hat below or click here to watch on YouTube – please note that the sound is fake – but that is definitely the man himself!



Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

Friday, August 3, 2012

Neapolitan Costume – early 1900s


Over at Beth's Postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy she's celebrating Domestic Goddess Day for today's Postcard Friendship Friday meme. I am delighted because I have just the right vintage postcard to share for this topic - a Neapolitan woman in traditional costume. My tastes in vintage postcards vary and when choosing to add a new card to my collection I'm motivated by all sorts of reasons: I might buy a postcard for its historical importance, or maybe for the postage stamps or postal cancellations on the reverse, but in the case of this wonderful recent find on a market stall here in Rome, because the execution of the print is simply exquisite.

Undivided back
This is an undivided back postcard and was issued in Italy by the Neapolitan publisher E. Ragozino, based in Galleria Umberto. Whilst it is an uncirculated card in pristine condition, we know that divided back postcards for private use weren't introduced in Italy until 1906, dating this card to the early years of the last century. There's even a printed message explaining that on the reverse of the card only the address should be written!

Detail of intermingled dots of colour
This particular card is numbered 2781 and is one of the designs in what seems to have been a large series of Costumi Napoletani - Neapolitan Costumes – and is a really lovely example of the early chromolithographic printing technique with wonderful details. I'm including a detail of the woman's face to illustrate the optical colour mixing effect that was achieved by intermingling dots of colour (rather as the pointillist painters had done a decade or so before) to create the flush of pink on her cheeks and flesh tones. Her shawl, instead, uses a stippled pattern to create the folds of cloth. Absolutely gorgeous!

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Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

Friday, June 29, 2012

Margate Holiday Makers by Sunbeam Photo Ltd


I happened upon these vintage sepia real photo postcards on a market stall on a recent trip back to the UK. Snapped by one of the hundreds of seaside photographers working between the wars for the prolific Sunbeam Photo Ltd., in the British seaside resort of Margate in Kent, these are wonderfully spontaneous shots of ordinary families as they stroll along the promenade in Cliftonville dressed up in their Sunday best.

These photographs were all the rage in the days before cameras were widely owned. From the 1920s up until the 1970s professional photographers would take paparazzi-style “walking pictures” of holiday makers and then hand them a receipt – the resulting prints could then be purchased as a souvenir of their holiday the following day by presenting the receipt at the photographer's kiosk. The very nature of these unposed shots makes them utterly unique and a hugely important record of the customs and fashions of the day. The photographers behind these fascinating examples of early street photography remain anonymous.

Started by John Milton Worssell, with help from Frederick Lewis Pettman (who would become Mayor of Margate in 1932), in about 1919, Sunbeam operated out of 82, Sweyn Road, Margate. In their heyday in the 1930s they are known to have shot around a staggering 35,000 walking pictures on a busy bank holiday! (See: Go Home on a Postcard.) The postcard above was quite possibly taken over a Summer Bank Holiday on 31 August 1931, as it was posted only a few days later on 4 September. The fashions are still reminiscent of the 1920s in this shot - I love the tall chap in a flat cap and plus fours on the far right and the classic striped boating blazer worn by the youngest man.

The photograph below, on the other hand, was possibly taken a little earlier in the 1920s, judging by the style of the cloche hats worn by the women and the baggy fit of the man's trousers. The postcard was never posted, however, although the reference number in the corner might give a clue to the date it was taken if records still exist.


Whilst researching this post I happened across another shot of the very same couple and their baby on the Daily Mail website  – a remarkable coincidence!

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Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday  

Friday, June 1, 2012

H.M. Queen Elizabeth II – 1977


This lovely full length portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was taken by photographer Peter Grugeon F.R.P.S. at the time of Her Majesty's Silver Jubilee in 1977, and was issued as a commemorative postcard by John Hinde Ltd. She is wearing a tiara hung with pendant pearls known as the 'Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara', which was allegedly smuggled out of Russia during the Russian Revolution, whilst her necklace was originally created to honour Queen Victoria during her Golden Jubilee in 1887. The pale pink Royal Family Order of King George VI is seen pinned to the blue sash just below her the left-hand shoulder, with the pale blue Royal Family Order of King George V, of which Queen Elizabeth II is the only surviving member, immediately below it.

I remember that particular Jubilee, celebrating Queen Elizabeth's first 25 years on the throne, very well – it was one of the first Royal occasions to have made a real impression on me as a child, with summer street parties and Union Jack bunting flying everywhere.

This year, of course, sees the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II with celebrations throughout 2012 marking the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne upon the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952. In the UK a four-day holiday this weekend will honour her Diamond Jubilee, coinciding with the Queen's Official Birthday on 4 June. Hip Hip Hooray!

Check out the Vintage Postcard Store for more vintage Queen Elizabeth II postcards 

Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Sheraton-Lincoln Hotel – 1957


Vintage hotel advertising postcards are a fun specialisation for postcard collectors as they really seem to sum up the fashions of the day so beautifully – the advertising blurb on the back of the card will be sure to list all the mod cons, whilst the image often shows not only the hotel, but local sites too. This Plastichrome postcard printed by major Boston publisher Colourpicture (active 1938-1969) featuring the Sheraton-Lincoln Hotel in Indianapolis is a classic: all the Indianapolis landmarks are there – the downtown skyline, the 284-foot Soldiers and Sailors' Monument, and of course, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway illustrated by a wonderful 1950s racing car - whilst the reverse of the postcard promises “Free Sheraton Hotel Reservations” via the quaint-sounding and today very nearly obsolete “Teletype”.

The hotel itself, however, is the star of the show. Formerly known as simply the Hotel Lincoln, it was built in 1917-1918 by Chicago-school architects Rubush & Hunter, and was situated at 2 Kentucky Avenue. The tallest flatiron building ever built in Indianapolis, it was sadly demolished in 1973 to make way for the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis/PNC Center.

For comfort, convenience and sincere hospitality it's Sheraton-Lincoln – in the heart of Indianapolis. Each room has private bath, television, radio and circulating ice water. Air-conditioned guest rooms in season.
The postcard is rather flimsy and was probably issued as part of a picture booklet as the top edge has been cut in a way that accidentally includes a little of the following image. The print is a little off-kilter too, but this doesn't detract from the boldly stylish design. Posted in November 1957 it carries a lovely joined pair of 2 cent Thomas Jefferson postage stamps.

A great memento of a lost architectural gem.

Check out the Vintage Postcard Store for more vintage Hotel postcards

Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

Friday, April 6, 2012

Vintage Russian Easter Card – 1911


I bought this lovely embossed Russian Easter postcard on a market stall in Rome some months ago and have been patiently waiting for Easter to come by again in order to share it here on the blog. I was attracted to the delicate hand finishing on the embossed catkins and pink background wash, but wasn't immediately aware that it was an Easter card. Luckily the woman who ran the stall was actually Russian and immediately translated the words "Христос воскрес!" as meaning “Christ is Risen!

Catkins, of course, are a traditional Easter decoration being the very first signs of new plant life after the winter; as any allergy sufferer will confirm, catkins herald the coming of spring! According to Wikipedia, Russian Orthodox and various other Eastern European peoples also carry pussy willows on Palm Sunday instead of palm branches, blessing both palms and pussy willows in church.

If you'd like to read more about Russian Easter cards there's a wonderful resource here: Russian Easter Postcards.

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Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Debbie Reynolds!


American actress and singer Debbie Reynolds is celebrating her 80th birthday today so this seems like an excellent occasion to post this vintage Italian postcard featuring the film star as she looked in the 1960s, when she appeared in a series of successes, most notably perhaps the 1964 movie The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Rotalfoto, Milano logo
No.97 in a series of Hollywood portraits printed in “Rotalcolor” from a Kodak Ektachrome photo by prolific Milan-based publisher Rotalfoto, the uncirculated postcard is undated, but the reverse of the card carries a few clues as to when it was issued: the company's distinctive logo – a scroll with the name Rotalfoto wrapped around a globe - includes the title “Rotalcolor” written above it, an extra detail which was added to the insignia during the late 1960s.

Check out the Vintage Postcard Store for more Vintage Rotalcolor Postcards! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Italian Track Cycling World Championships Maximum Card - 1968


In 1968 the UCI Track Cycling World Championships were held in Rome and the Italian Post Office (Poste Italiane) issued a pair of commemorative stamps to mark the occasion. Issued on the first day of the championships on 26 August of that year, this vintage postcard is an excellent example of a “maximum card” - a postcard carrying a postage stamp on the picture side, rather than the reverse of the card, where the stamp, cancellation and postcard are in concordance.

The 25 lire postage stamp was designed by R. Ferrini and features a dramatic view of a racing bicycle as it flies around the Olympic Velodrome (Velodromo Olimpico) in Rome. Constructed for the 1960 Summer Olympics, the Velodrome was little used in subsequent years and the 1968 track events appear to have been its last. It was eventually pulled down in 2008.

The first day of issue postcard was produced as a philatelic collectors item by the Circolo Filatelico Numismatico “G.Piani”, a stamp and coin collectors circle based in Imola, and was stamped and numbered by them as No. 1529 on the reverse, although I have no idea as to how limited the edition might have been. The artist signed postcard was printed by another local Imola firm Galeati. Coincidentally, the other stamp in the pair – not seen on this postcard - celebrated the 1968 UCI Road World Championships which were held in Imola.

The Tour de France has its yellow jersey, the Giro d'Italia a pink jersey, but the UCI awards a rainbow jersey and gold medal to the winner, hence the rainbow badge in the bottom right hand corner.

Check out the Vintage Postcard Store for more Vintage Cycling Postcards!

Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cupid's Bank, Unlimited – 1900s


Some months ago we looked at a series of World War I postcards issued by the prolific UK publisher Bamforth & Co. Whilst they are best known today for their thousands of kiss-me-quick seaside postcards, this vintage Valentine's postcard featuring a blank cheque drawn on "Cupid's Bank, Unlimited" is more romantic than saucy; with Valentine's Day almost upon us, this is the perfect time to share it here!


Issued as part of series 2005, this vintage postcard is uncirculated, but can be accurately dated to the first decade of the twentieth century thanks to the pre-printed date in the top right hand corner of the cheque “190...”. The back of the postcard gives us an additional clue - Great Britain was the first to adopt the "divided back" postcard in 1902, putting this postcard's production somewhere between 1902 - 1909.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Vieni, piccina – 1932


Beth over at the Best Hearts are Crunchy has been posting some gorgeous Valentine's Day cards for a few weeks now – with February 14th only ten days away, I was inspired to dig out a vintage romantic postcard from my own collection to share on Postcard Friendship Friday today.


Carrying two postal cancellations - a Florence Railway (Firenze Ferrovia) postmark dated 5 January 1932 and another for its destination Venice (Venezia) on the following day – the stamp is an absolute classic example of the secret language of stamp positions. The 30 cent postage stamp featuring a frontal portrait of Vittorio Emanuele III is shown with the monarch's head a full 90 degrees to the right – a clear message of some sort, but which I've read can mean a variety of romantic things: “love and kisses”; “do you love me?”; “thinking of you”; and on an Italian language website “t'adoro”!

Issued by the Turin-based publisher Fotocelere (1910-1942), it is a gorgeous example of their hand-coloured real photo postcards – I just love the addition of those crimson details on the collar and sleeves!

The Italian verse translates more or less as follows:
Vieni, piccina dallo sguardo arcano,
Che di verbene e rose è la gran via,
Dove noi passerem, stretti per mano.

Come, little one with the mysterious gaze,
Along the avenue of verbenas and roses,
Where we will walk together hand in hand.
Check out the Vintage Postcard Store for more Vintage Valentine's Day Postcards!

Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

Friday, January 13, 2012

We wish you luck - Wir Wünschen Glück - 1938


2012 is going to be a tough year for those of you who are superstitious – today is only the first of three occurrences in the calendar of the infamous Friday the 13th! A good luck postcard seems in order, therefore, so here's a very fine example of an artist signed vintage postcard featuring work by the master of scissors and silhouettes Georg Plischke.

Georg Plischke's signature logo
Whilst he appears to have been enormously prolific in his output, tracking down Plischke's personal history is a little tricky. He was born in 1883 in Neisse, one of the oldest towns in the politically contested Silesia, but the town was placed under Polish administration after the Second World War and renamed with the Polish spelling of Nysa. At that time, much of the town's German population was forcibly expelled, including Plischke, who was driven from his home and forced to leave his already established publishing house, setting up shop in Unterwössen, in Upper Bavaria, the following year, where he would live and work until his death in 1973.


This postally used postcard was sent as an Easter greeting from Lübeck, Germany to Canterbury in the United Kingdom on 14 April 1938. It carries a Deutsche Reichspost 5 Pfennig stamp with a portrait of Paul von Hindenburg, which had been issued some four years earlier in 1934, rather than a more recent portrait of Hitler whose grim scowl had started appearing on stamps in 1937. The stamp has luckily been placed slightly high allowing us to see the bottom of the distinctive Plischke Karte stamp box and the number of this design – 59. There is also a clear postmark advertising overseas telegrams and German cable routes, in a similar gothic font to that used elsewhere on the postcard.

As is often the case with vintage postcards, the jolly good luck message seems at odds with the historical events of the day - the card was posted a month after the Anschluß (Anschluss), when Nazi Germany annexed Austria, and as we now know, the outbreak of World War II was looming.

Check out the Vintage Postcard Store for more Vintage silhouette postcards!

Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

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