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!