Thursday, December 31, 2009

French New Year's Greeting Card - Bonne année - 1917

I always find any postcard printed during the Golden Age of postcard production in France in the early decades of the last century absolutely irresistible! This hand-tinted real photograph postcard issued by French printers Suzy is in superb condition. Compared to some of the more garish colours that came out of the studios of the numerous Parisian postcard publishers right through the 1920s this is a rather tasteful affair with its subtler washes, although the crimson used on the patterned tops, sock trimmings and flowers is a dazzling hint of what those hand-colourist would be capable of in the future!

Whilst this postcard may be uncirculated, luckily for us the sender dated the Italian New Year's Greeting message - 31st December, 1917 - and also added their location - Alexandria in Egypt - a detail which inevitably piques the curiosity as once again there's a curious cross over of journeys and untold stories here in a French postcard sent from Egypt to Italy...

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter scene and "Glückliches Neujahr" - early 1900s

This gorgeous winter scene with its Happy New Year message is my Christmas postcard to you all for this year. The postcard was issued by Paul Trabert of Leipzig (shown here by the initials P.T.L) who was operational from 1901 until at least the late 1960s. He set up his family-run business with its own publishing department Art de Vienne and was also a contract collotype printer for other firms until end of the First World War. This postcard would also appear to be a collotype or some other kind of high quality printing technique, whilst the snow flurries seems to have been finished by hand as the matte surface is slightly raised on the snow flakes. The card is artist signed but the signature isn't clear.

It was posted to "Volosca" (or rather "Volosko" – the spelling of the address is Italian on the card, as is the message) which is now found in modern day Croatia, although when this card was posted it would have been part of the district of Istria in the Austrian Littoral. This popular resort on the Austrian Riviera was a crown land (Kronland) within the Austrian Empire from 1813 till 1867 and subsequently part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918. The area has always been linguistically and ethnically very mixed with Italians, Slovenes, Croats, Germans, Furlans, and Istriots being the main ethnic groups - its history is a long and complicated one and this postcard is evidence of this!

There isn't much left of the postage stamp, but we can just about make out the beginning of “Magyar Kir Posta” (meaning "Hungarian Royal Postage"), and with the currency “Filler” and the value of 5 overprinted in black we have just enough information to identify the stamp as an Hungarian postage stamp issued in 1900 which featured the Turul, the mythical bird of the Magyars (not visible) flying over the royal Hungarian crown (visible). This postcard must have been posted from neighbouring Kingdom of Hungary, therefore, as the Austro-Hungarian issues I believe, were issued in Heller currency. This is a thorny area, however, so please do correct me below in the comments if anybody knows better!

Happy PFF and of course, Merry Christmas!

Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Thanks to The Postcard Album

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jackie Coogan - circa 1927-29

After the popularity of my recent post about child star Shirley Temple I thought I'd share another vintage film star postcard with you here featuring yet another child actor - Jackie Coogan. The film stills of him alongside Charlie Chaplin in The Kid are some of cinema's most lasting and iconic images, whilst his later appearance as Uncle Fester in 62 episodes of the classic US TV show The Addams Family in the 1960s assured his place in the annals of television history. He was also instrumental in helping to get the California Child Actor's Bill passed into law - it is also also known as the Coogan Act or Coogan Bill - which ensures that the earnings of child stars are safeguarded until they enter adulthood and cannot be squandered away by reckless parents or guardians (as indeed happened in the case of Coogan).

In this photograph Jackie Coogan is sporting his trademark pageboy haircut - he would be shorn of his locks in the 1927 movie Johnny Get Your Hair Cut, in a clever gimmick used to both sell the movie and also mark the actor's growing maturity at the ripe old age of twelve!

The uncirculated real photo postcard was issued by the Milan-based publisher A. Traldi (Ed. A. Traldi Milano). It is Traldi's lovely - and for the times, retro - Art Nouveau logo on the reverse of the card which also helps date it with some precision to 1929 at the latest, for their logo changed completely in 1930.

Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Iroha-Saka Highway in Japan - 1950s

It's not often that I happen upon vintage Japanese postcards here in Italy so I my eyes were quickly drawn to this uncirculated 1950s postcard when I saw it the other day on a market stall. There are no indications as to the postcard publisher or the date of issue, but from the style of the bus winding its way up the Iroha Slope to Nikko I'm guessing it's a mid 1950s to early 1960s card at the latest.

As luck would have it I have an email friend - Gaye Rowley - who lives in Japan and is an expert on all things Japanese. She explained a little more about the name of the road - I-ro-ha are the first three letters of the Japanese syllabary, so the name of the highway would be like the "A-B-C Slope" in English. It is so called because there are as many twists and turns in the road as there are letters in the syllabary!

Gaye was also able to translate the text in the bottom right hand side of the postcard:

Nikko, Iroha Slope
From Umakaeshi (meaning "the place on a mountainside where the horse can no longer carry you and you have to dismount") up to Chuzenji (a famous temple), there is a modern sealed road called "Iroha Slope" because of its twists and turns. During the maple-viewing season, it provides the best views in Nikko.

Thanks Gaye!

Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Greeting by Mary LaFetra Russell - 1916

Rather like Christmas in the UK, Thanksgiving in the US is a major turkey consuming event and as a vegetarian I usually steer clear of the all the turkey references in greetings cards at this time of year, however, this artist signed postcard is such a gem that I couldn't resist buying it and sharing it here! I spent quite a while pondering on the signature "MLaFR" but finally worked it out...this postcard features a design by the celebrated children's book illustrator Mary LaFetra Russell who is probably best known for her drawings for a collection of Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

The postcard has a matte surface and a very light linen finish and the colours are still very bright, although the image was slightly marred at the time of posting - on 28 November 1916 - by the smudge of the postal cancellation which also appears on the picture side of the card. The company logo in the bottom left of the back of the card is a large letter "G" inside an artist's palette which I believe may represent one of the various incarnations of the Cincinatti-based Gibson Art Co. - if I'm wrong please leave a comment below! Certainly, the strongly coloured illustration floating at the centre of a white background with no border is typical of their house style of that period.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shirley Temple in 'Curly Top' - 1936

This lovely uncirculated vintage movie star postcard features a heavily disguised Shirley Temple in a scene from the 1935 Fox musical Curly Top. Directed by Irving Cummings, this film was another hit movie starring the then seven year old Hollywood star and was a Shirley Temple vehicle all the way. This particular scene is the moment in which she sings When I Grow Up (lyrics by Edward Heymand and music by Ray Henderson) dressed as an elderly woman who suddenly gets up and tap dances at the end of the number! The song itself also went on to become a hit of the day and sold thousands of sheet music copies.

When I get very very old I'll stay at home all day,
But I haven't quite made up my mind, it's much too far away.
I think that I would like to be like the lady on the wall,
She looks so nice and comfy in her rocking chair 'n' all.
With that little cap upon her head she looks real pretty, too,
I like her long and funny dress, I like her hair, don't you?
It must be oh, so quiet you can hear the tick of the clock,
But it must be fun to have nothing to do but rock, and rock, and rock.

This Italian postcard was printed by the Florence postcard company Ballerini & Frattini (1912 - the present day) and issued in 1936 a year after the film's original US release.

As an interesting footnote, the date on the back of the card is "Anno XIV" rather than the more conventional "1936", a reminder that this card was issued during Italy's darkest period - that of Italian Fascism. There was a serious attempt to displace the Anno Domini system in those years by using Roman numerals to denote the number of years since the establishment of the Fascist government in 1922. Therefore, in this case, 1936 was year XIV.

Click here to watch a video clip of Curly Top. Her appearance dressed as she appears in this postcard is at approximately 3.08 minutes.
Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coldstream Guards Marching to Petersfield Manoeuvres - 1905 -1910

Lest we forget...Today, 11th November, is Armistice Day so I thought this image of the marching Coldstream Guards on their way to Petersfield Manoeuvres would be a timely addition to the blog.

Her Majesty's Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards is actually the oldest regiment in the British Regular Army which has seen continuous active service since its founding in 1650 by General George Monck at Coldstream in Scotland. Whilst not so instantly identifiable in this image, they are known the world over by being one of the Queen's five foot guard regiments that wear the striking red uniforms and distinctive bearskin hats - they've surely been photographed whilst standing sentry by every tourist who ever visited London!

This uncirculated postcard was published by Max Ettlinger & Co. Ltd. as part of Series 4841 which appears to have been dedicated to the Coldstream Guards and was issued under the Royal Series name. They published many real photograph hand coloured postcards, but this particular example looks to be a printed card, although without the use of a magnifying glass the effect looks very much like a hand-tinted example. Certainly the title of the scene and the company logo in red on the front of the card were hand stamped. There is also a slightly textured surface over the card - a barely perceptible stippled effect.

Like most of their postcards, this was printed in Germany and is a perfect example from the so-called Golden Age of postcard production. The First World War would effectively bring that period to an end and Max Ettlinger & Co. Ltd. would close shop in 1916.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Scudding Dhow by Arthur H Firmin - 1950s

This real photo postcard of a traditional Arab sailing vessel - a dhow - used to this day along the coasts of East Africa, is in almost mint, uncirculated condition and was issued by the studio A.H. Firmin, A.I.B.P., A.R.P.S. The location is somewhere in the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya.

As is often the case when I start looking into the history behind a postcard on this blog, an hour or so on Google will throw up some amazing stories! On this particular occasion it emerges that the rather formal photographer's credit A.H.Firmin refers to the well known Nairobi photographer and passionate mountaineer Arthur Firmin who took numerous photographs of Mount Kenya. Born in Kenya in 1912, he returned to his birthplace in 1937 after having been educated in England, joining the Kenya Police Force, in which he served throughout the war in the role of official photographer. He eventually left and set up his own business in 1946.

Tragically Arthur Firmin died of pneumonia in 1957 after a fall in which he broke his leg during the Mountain Club of Kenya's failed attempt to climb Himal Chuli in the Himalayas. He is remembered today on Mount Kenya by Firmin's Tower, a pillar of rock on the north face of Batian, one of the mountain's twin peaks, which he scaled in 1944.

Read more about Arthur Firmin here.

Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Breakwater at Oamaru, New Zealand - early 1900s

One of the joys of collecting postcards is in uncovering the stories of the people in them or the far-way places pictured. Oamaru, 120 kilometres north of Dunedin on the coast of New Zealand's South Island was familiar to me as the real-life location of many of Janet Frames' novels - Waimaru from her first book in particular - whilst Dunedin was the title of a novel by Shena Mackay that I read many years ago.

Oamaru Harbour was designed by the architect Thomas Forrester and still survives today as one of the best examples of a deep water Victorian-Edwardian port and is even registered as a site of National Significance with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. When the earliest European settlers arrived in Oamaru it became notorious as one of the most dangerous anchorages on the island with over 20 shipwrecks recorded there between 1860 and 1875. The Oamaru Harbour Board was formed in 1874 and by 1884 it had finished the breakwater.

The photograph is copyright to the Morris studio of Dunedin. The Morris name would seem to have been synonymous with photography in Dunedin at the end of the 1800s with its most famous local photographer John Richard Morris being one of 5 brothers, 4 of whom became photographers! He was elected president of the association of professional photographers and had a chain of studios, including one with Robert Clifford - Clifford, Morris & Co - with his final address being that of George Street, Dunedin in 1915. J R Morris died in the influenza epidemic of 1919, however, which brings me to one of main things that attracted me to this card when I first saw it...

Whilst this postcard may not be in the best possible condition I was immediately struck by it and knew I wanted it for my collection because of one curious detail - although it was printed in New Zealand and features an Oamaru landmark, it was actually posted in Italy in 1928 and bears a Procida - Napoli cancellation!

How this card made its way to Italy in the late 1920s, is surely another tale to be told, but sadly we'll probably never know...

Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Opera Singer Alba Chrétien-Vaguet - 1901

Portrait postcards of opera stars were extremely popular in the early 1900s and although many of the names will only be familiar to opera-buffs nowadays, they are still charming indicators of how fashions change and provide an important historic and cultural record. This undivided back Belgian postcard was published by Paris and Brussels-based printers Vanderauwera & Cie (who also appear to have published pamphlets) and features the French operatic soprano Alba Chrétien-Vaguet in a portrait by Dupont.

The young Alba first studied the piano at the Paris Conservatoire and began her operatic career at the historic Belgian opera house La Monnaie in Brussels in 1891. This card, in fact, shows her in the role of Charlotte in Werther, which ran for 20 performances over the 1892-1893 season at La Monnaie, and identifies her by her maiden name Mme. Chrétien - she would marry Albert Vaguet, a tenor of the Opéra de Paris, the following year in 1894.

The card has a matte rather than glossy finish and is probably a collotype print from a monochrome photograph. The original photograph bore an embossed logo for Dupont which is just visible to the right of the printer's credit in the bottom right hand corner of the image.

Interestingly, the card was not actually posted until 1901 and being an undivided back card contains no message, just the address. Whilst I've been unable to uncover anything about the recipient, a certain Anna di Marzo, the address does excite some curiosity - Palazzo Maddaloni, in full Palazzo Carafa di Maddaloni, is a well known historic Baroque palace in Naples, which after having faced the threat of demolition for years, has finally been restored.

Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sante Fe Streamliner Crossing Canyon Diablo - 1941

As somebody who has lived their entire life in Europe, I'm fascinated by the elegance and romanticism of US streamliner trains, so found this Fred Harvey Trading Co. postcard of a Sante Fe Streamliner particularly irresistible.

The Fred Harvey Trading Co. actually started life in 1878 as a restaurant, then hotel chain, with quality establishments across the Southwest. (The Harvey Girls, the 1946 MGM musical, is about Fred Harvey's famous Harvey House restaurants.) By 1897 Fred Harvey had also acquired the news stands for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway company and begun publishing large numbers of postcards, initially aimed at promoting its route to the Grand Canyon and naturally, the Fred Harvey hotels within the National Park.

When Fred Harvey died in 1901 the surviving company contracted out their postcard production with the Detroit Publishing Company, and would continue to do so until 1932. Luckily for us, these cards are easily identifiable today because they included an "H" prefix before the series numbers on the front of the card, as is the case with this card. When Detroit closed in 1936, Curt Teich took over printing the cards.

However, this uncirculated card is still slightly difficult to date, so we need to look for clues. The bridge over Canyon Diablo in Arizona on the card is the early version of the bridge that first opened in 1882 after a series of engineering mishaps - the bridge was built pre-assembled off-site and due to miscalculations was initially too short to span the canyon - rather than the present modern bridge, which was built in 1930.

The train, on the other hand, is the EMC E1, a streamlined diesel electric locomotive, decked out in the now-famous "Warbonnet" paint scheme devised by Leland Knickerbocker to echo Native American ceremonial headdress - the red "bonnet" wraps around the front of the train, bordered by a yellow stripe and black pinstripe, with the remainder of the train either painted silver or made up of stainless steel panels. These trains were built between 1937–1938. Clearly the newer train has been added to an older photograph of the bridge!

But the final clue that helps solve the mystery is that this is a fabulous example of a postcard printed on Linen Card Stock - a slightly heavier paper stock embossed with a linen-finish texture. Chicago-based Curt Teich perfected this technique. Whilst the front of the card still bears the Fred Harvey/Detroit series number, the back of the card carries the Curt Teich serial no. 1B-H752, which dates it to 1941.

Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Comic Tryst Between Butler and Housemaid - early 1900s

I picked up this little gem from the so-called Golden Age of postcard production at a market in Rome. This comic postcard depicts a classic "upstairs downstairs" innuendo-laden scenario with the butler leaving the kitchen after a secret tryst with the cook - or not so secret, as it turns out! The dramatic staging of the tableau has very much the air of a still from a silent movie, yet with the whole story told in one image. The card has a matte rather than glossy finish and is, I believe, a collotype print from a monochrome photograph (which is quite possible given that this method was popular in early European postcard production).

This is an uncirculated card with an undivided back, but there are several clues that help us date its production. The top left hand corner of the back of the card includes a space to add a posting date and sender, with the date space beginning "190..." which puts the card in the early 1900s. Whilst Great Britain was the first to adopt the "divided back" postcard in 1902, Italy issued its first divided back private postcard in 1906, with the Universal Postal Union allowing their use internationally with effect from 1 October 1907. Finally, the words Union Postale Universelle confirm the card as dating approximately from the period 1901 to 1907.

The publisher is identified as "ASC" and is mentioned just above the copyright notice below the address space.

Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kikuyu Witch Doctor - 1950s

This very fine portrait of a Kikuyu traditional doctor in Kenya, East Africa - a "Kikuyu Witch", as he is described here - was taken by S. Skulina, a commercial photographer working in Kenya during the 1950s. The real photo postcard was issued by Pegas Studio, Nairobi as part of the series "Africa in Pictures" and is in almost mint, uncirculated condition.

The role of witch doctor was one of great importance in the administration of Kikuyu clans and he was one of the key figures in the council of elders. The Kikuyu still remain the largest ethnic group in Kenya to this day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

'Good Luck from St.Ives' Mailing Novelty - 1958

I'm not a huge fan of cutesy kitten cards but this is such a great example of a vintage mailing novelty postcard, featuring one of my favourite seaside resorts, that I just couldn't resist it!

St.Ives is a Cornish fishing village which has been a long time favourite amongst British holiday-makers and surfers, as well as having had a thriving art-scene for many years. This Valentine's Mail Novelty Postcard includes a flap with a foldout section with eleven views of its beaches and surrounding beauty spots.

Whilst some novelty cards were posted in envelops to protect the moving parts, this was posted as a regular postcard on 24 July, 1958, yet survived its journey and indeed, the subsequent years, in excellent condition. By the 1950s, the massively prolific Valentine’s Co. Ltd, which had been producing postcards since 1896, had shifted its interests to the production of the increasingly more popular greeting cards, making this one of their later editions.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Paddle Steamer 'Patria' on Lake Como - 1950

Collecting postcards that focus on modes of transportation is a very popular sub-genre of deltiology, with some collectors concentrating specifically on particular modes of travel such as planes, trains and automobiles...or as in this example, boats or ships.

This 1950 real photograph postcard features the Italian paddle steamer Patria, which together with its sister ship Concordia, was one of the last paddle steamers to sail on Lake Como. Whilst Concordia is still in operation, Patria was taken out of service in 1990 for major repairs and has been the centre of a passionate campaign for its preservation and restoration ever since. Originally launched with the names Savoia (the name of the Italian royal household) and 28 Ottobre (which celebrated Mussolini's March on Rome) at the Dervio dockyard on 31 July, 1926 and 2 November 2, 1926 respectively, the twin steamers were eventually renamed Patria (fatherland) and Concordia (concord) at the end of 1943 when fascism finally fell.

The postcard was issued by local Como publisher Brunner & C., a company that had been founded in Zurich in 1870, where it had pioneered the photo-type printing method. However, this patented method required lots of sunlight, hence the move to sunnier Italy!

Read more about the efforts to save the Patria here.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

US Postal Service Elvis Stamp Ballot Postcard - 1992

I'm a huge Elvis fan so I wanted to post something here for August, the month in which fans everywhere remember him and mourn his premature death on 16 August, 1977.

One of the world's most collected postage stamps was issued by the US Postal Service on 8th January, 1993, on what would have been Elvis Presley's 58th birthday. Printed in a run of a staggering 500 million - three times the usual print run for a commemorative stamp - it is now officially the biggest selling commemorative postage stamp of all time.

A year earlier in 1992, the USPS had held a public ballot via the postcard seen here, in which almost 1.2 million votes were cast, to decide which era Elvis should be used on the stamp. 75% of voters chose 'A' - a young Elvis depicted in a water colour by Mark Stutzman - beating choice 'B' - John Berkey's 1970s jumpsuit era older Elvis. Bill Clinton, a big Elvis fan, publicly endorsed the younger image!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Crew of Apollo 11 - 1969

I couldn't let the month of July go by without posting something to commemorate the moon landing forty years ago. However, instead of the usual lunar images and space-suited astronauts I thought I'd share instead this uncirculated 1969 souvenir postcard from the John F. Kennedy Space Center of the crew of Apollo 11 in their civilian clothing. Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin are pictured smiling in front of the launch pad and the Saturn V space rocket that would take them into space.

This chrome printed postcard was produced by NASA Tours (conducted by TWA), is numbered 114498 and is in pristine condition.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blue Lovers in Paris - 1924

It was love at first sight for me and this superb hand-tinted real photograph postcard issued by P-C of Paris, France (active during the 1920s). As was common in this period the colours are far from realistic and instead are used for expressive purposes with the lovers depicted in what was then a popular shade of blue. The white detailing on the woman's dress has been applied with thicker paint so that the surface is slightly raised.

The card is uncirculated and has a divided postcard back, which is entirely covered with a romantic message in French written in very neat handwriting, dated 10 September, 1924.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cary Hotel and Pier, Babbacombe - 1923

I bought this 1923 seaside view several years ago in a small, second-hand book shop in the Cornish fishing village of Mousehole. Little did I imagine when doing some research on the Internet to discover whether the Cary Hotel still existed, that I'd stumble upon a fascinating tale of murder and that this picturesque view is, in fact, a Victorian crime scene! The image is that of Babbacombe Bay, looking towards the hotel which in the 1880s was known as The Cary Arms, as seen from neighbouring Oddicombe. However, it is the building with the steeply sloping roof, that can be seen on the right, which excites the greatest curiosity. On Saturday 15th November 1884, an elderly spinster by the name of Emma Keyse, was found hacked to death in that burnt out villa (known in those days as The Glen). Her murderer, John Lee, was convicted and sentenced to death but in the strangest twists of fate, when the day of his execution came, three attempts to hang him failed and his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Certainly, from the message on the reverse of this postcard, the holiday makers who sent the card on 2 July, 1923 seem oblivious to Babbacombe's past notoriety!

Read more about John 'Babbacombe' Lee aka The Man They Couldn't Hang at Ian Waugh's fascinating website here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rudolph Valentino and Helen d'Algy - 1926

This uncirculated real-photo Italian vintage postcard features arguably the most famous star and lasting icon of the silent film era Rudolph Valentino. In this card he is seen alongside his co-star Helen D'Algy in a scene from A Sainted Devil (or Notte Nuziale as the film was titled in Italy). Based on the novella Rope's End by Rex Beach and directed by Joseph Henabery this was Valentino's 29th movie and his final Paramount picture. He would make only three more films before dying prematurely two years later at 31.

Whilst A Sainted Devil was first released in the USA in 1924 it wasn't distributed in Italy until after the actor's death which would date this postcard to approximately 1926. It was printed by the Florence postcard company Ballerini & Frattini, who opened their doors in 1912 and are still making postcards today.

A Silent Devil is considered to be one of Valentino's lost films.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Greenville, Pennsylvania - 1914

This lovely vintage postcard features a painted town view of the borough of Greenville in Mercer County, Pennsylvania entitled Bird's-Eye View of Main St. looking East.

The postcard was published by the Chicago-based Acmegraph Company, which despite a relatively brief period of activity from 1908-1918, issued an extensive range of US national view-cards. This particular view is numbered 9548. It was posted to Carson City, Michigan from Greenville on 5 January, 1914.

Greenville trivia: the town was the main residence in America of Štefan Banič - the inventor of the parachute! Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fern Andra - circa 1925 - 1935

This sepia real photograph portrait postcard features the actress Fern Andra (1893 - 1974), darling of the silent screen and later film director. As was often the case the photographer is uncredited, with only the studio - Fern Andra Atelier - named.

The postcard was issued by the German company Rotophot (later Ross Verlag) as part of a series of postcards devoted entirely to movie star portraits, known as Film Sterne. Their distinctive emblem is printed in the bottom left hand corner of the card - RPH letters in a circle with a horse above and Film Sterne (Film Stars) below.

Although it is uncirculated there are a few clues that help in dating this postcard such as an NBC logo printed in red in the space for the stamp on the reverse of the card. The NBC or Neue Bromsilber Convention was a cartel of postcard publishers created in 1909 to reach an agreement on the pricing of postcards in an effort to be more competitive against publishers who were damaging the market by severely undercutting prices. This cartel was still in existence up to the early 1930s. The Film Sterne portrait cards were also numbered rather oddly and started with #61 and ran through to #225, with numbers up to 200 issued approximately between 1925 and 1935. This card is numbered 131/2.

With thanks to the wonderful website - Ross Verlag Movie Star Postcards History and Checklist.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Birthday Greetings Postcard - 1912

This lovely birthday greetings postcard was designed in England by Wildt & Kray and printed in Bavaria. The postcard bears the distinctive "W&K London" insignia on the reverse of the card and is clearly date stamped 9th April 1912.

The gelatin finish is highly glossy and has suffered over the years; unfortunately, as is common with this delicate kind of finish, there is some cracking to the surface and edges.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Parisian Lovers - 1920s

This exquisite uncirculated hand-tinted real photograph postcard was issued by Lèo of Pradot based in Paris, France (active from the mid 1920s).

The Lèo postcard company is probably best known for its saucy nudes and erotic postcards (that look rather quaint by today's standards), although couples photographed together in staged studio settings was another extremely popular subject for this Parisian publisher.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Liverpool Cathedral - 1929

This glossy real photograph sepia postcard of Liverpool Cathedral was produced by Valentine’s Co. Ltd, a family run business which lasted over several generations from 1825-1963, first in Dundee, Scotland, then London, England.

The title Liverpool Cathedral View from South east Transept is hand written on the front of the card.

The card was posted from Liverpool to Weston-super-Mare on 1 April, 1929.