We are always buying postcards and photos from before 1950 - email us at circa1910@tampabay.rr.com.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Greetings from YOUR TOWN U.S.A.

This post is all about generic postcards - scenes that were created to typify any area of the country, that a postcard seller could have printed with the name of his town or state to create an inexpensive 'local' postcard.  The pretty view at the top of the post is one of a series of country views shown inside oval frames of pale pink.  Below we see more of the generic cards before they were printed - colorful scenes from Anywhere, U.S.A.  
This beautiful lakeside scene is by Curt Teich, so even this well-known publisher was offering generic postcards to those who didn't want to pay for - or couldn't figure out how to - take a quality picture of their local scene to decorate a postcard.  Of course, there was no description on the back of the card, because the scene is of no specific place in the country. 
Here is a pastoral scene as sent to a postcard seller to demonstrate what the card would look like once personalized...and below is one of a similar finished product. 
The postcards shown so far are all linen-era (1930-1945) but the creation of postcards that could be personalized cheaply continued into the more contemporary chrome period (1939-present).  Below is an example of another water scene, very colorful, that could be printed with any resort town name as long as there was a lake nearby.
Another chrome postcard ready for the name of Your Area is shown below, of a hunter being watched carefully by a gaggle of geese - is this meant to be humorous?  We're not sure!
In case you were wondering if anyone would actually buy these tacky cards, here's a generic linen boat-on-a-lake scene that was purchased and sent in 1948 , postmarked Millersburg, Ohio. 

There are select generic cards that are quite collectible - linen multi-views of bathing beauties and beach scenes are often printed with beach resort names and, even though the same scenes appear on a number of locations, folks from those resorts like to put the postcards in their collections.  And there are a few generics that are attractive enough that they have become collectible even without a location added. Below is one of our favorites.

Price Estimates:  We can't give a price estimate on the generic scenes of countryside, lakes or cattle, because when we find them we throw them away.  However, the multi-view linen beach scenes go for $5 - $10 each, depending on the number of enthusiastic bidders from the location printed on the card.  Lovely ladies like the one above can usually be found for a few dollars.  These price estimates are for postcards in excellent condition, and they are only estimates.