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

Monday, September 20, 2010

An International Postcard Exchange

I'm delighted to add a link at the bottom of the Postcardiva blog to postcrossing.com, which is an easy and fun way to exchange postcards with people around the world.  Check this out - I think you'll like it!  It would also make a great activity for a youngster who loves to get "real mail". 

Monday, September 13, 2010

NOVELTY Postcards - Add-ons, Silk, Velvet, Real Hair & More

Novelty postcards are full of surprises - with such a wide variety available, you can add novelties to almost any existing collection.  They are the perfect way to begin a youngster's collection, because children love the unusual and humorous charms of novelty postcards.  Plus, novelty cards have been produced from the early 1900s until modern times, so there are lots of novelties to choose from when selecting for your own collection or for a young friend's. 

In this post, we begin with simple novelties and progress to some more expensive types.  Above, velvety rabbits decorate an Easter postcard.  Fabric attachments included velvet, "silk" which is the term used for almost any shiny fabric, felt, and other materials as the subject required (for instance, there is a padded pin cushion novelty postcard of a lady's big bottom in plaid cotton).   Here are a big purple velvety Iris bloom, and a padded red "silk" heart. 

 This pretty silver postcard has die-cut (or die cut) edges, adding to its fancy charm.  Die cuts could be on the edges of a postcard or in the center of the design as we see in the booklet novelty postcard with yellow roses.  This greeting card "opens" which is another form of novelty - the booklet-style of card that had pages inside for printed or hand-written good wishes. 

Attachments or "add-ons" are another category of novelty postcards.  The greeting booklet above has a ribbon tied hinge, and ribbons are popular attachments.  Novelties also come with dried flowers, beads, feathers, spring tails for animals, "fur" or "hair" which is not real even if it says so in the dealer's advertisement, little envelopes in which notes could be stashed, and even unusual attachments like cigar labels, bags of salt on linen postcards from Utah's Salt Lake, or seeds as shown on this St. Patrick's Day postcard. 

There are some fun postcards with cut-out holes so that fingers can be inserted to create a lady's legs, even a donkey's ears.  Children find these amusing, and they especially like "squeaker" cards that had a little squeaker placed  between the layers of the postcard, with an air hole, so that pressing the center of the card created a squeaking sound.  "Google" or "googly" eye creatures are another popular novelty for kids - all sorts of animals in vibrant colors inhabit these cards with add-on eyes that roll when shaken. 

Metal add-ons may incorporate a metal charm into the design (turkeys on Thanksgiving cards, for instance, or Happy Birthday lettering on a floral design) or be the whole of the design as shown on this Best Wishes card with a metal shamrock as well as lettering.  These cards are made of heavier-than-usual stock to accommodate the prongs that held the metal attachments in place.

Another form of novelty is the postcard with exceptional embossing, as shown in this Easter design of chicks and a huge egg.  These may be referred to as "heavy" or "extra" embossing, and the colors were usually applied with airbrush.  Some are simple and crude  -  this is an example of a fine-quality postcard where the colors are elaborately designed and carefully applied.

Novelties include postcards made of unusual materials - in this group we include wooden, copper, celluloid and leather postcards.  Fold-out (called Pullout in Europe) novelties have accordion-folded views inside the postcard which are revealed when a flap is lifted.  The bathing beauties are an example of this - they are sometimes listed as MECHANICAL postcards so we suggest you look in both categories when you are searching for these.

More elaborate silk novelties include those greetings and holidays where fabric clothing is applied to an already colorful, and usually embossed, design.  These Easter girls are an example:

Above are two New Year novelty postcards, both with the date in the design and with attached calendars.  Each calendar has pages inside showing the months and days.  The one on the left also has fringe attached,  and a blue bow at the top. 

Here is an unusual novelty with a lady behind an added metal screen that is attached to the postcard with the edges secured between the postcard's layers.  The entire effect is that of a screen door - she is waiting for a fellow to come and invite her out, and she has picked out the day when he should show up for their date.
Our last and most expensive novelty in this post is the Santa Claus with a beard add-on.  These postcards, as well as the pretty ladies with hair attached, are usually advertised as "real hair" although, of course, the hair is not actually real. Santa is shown here on an embossed  postcard with beautiful colors and a Christmas design including toys, evergreens and colorful holly. 
PRICE ESTIMATES:   Simple novelties  may be purchased for about $5 and up, and middle-range novelties for $10 and up.  The complexity of the design, the quality of the artwork, and the richness of the embossing on holiday cards will add to the price, as will the rarity of the novelty.  Very unusual or hard-to-find novelties will cost more - "real hair" Santa Claus cards can cost up to $200 or more.  These are prices  for cards in Excellent condition, and they are only estimates.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

FANTASY Postcards - Subjects to Suit Any Collector

Fantasy postcards come in such a wide variety of designs and ideas that you are sure to find some to add to your collection, no matter what your main interest may be.  In this post, we cover just a few of the categories that are available.

We begin with a pair of hunting dogs - literally.  Our canine friends are out for game, their guns at the ready.  Dog and Cat fantasies are popular, and there are many series to look for.  If you collect cameras or automobiles, for instance, you can find dogs, cats, birds and holiday fantasies with those themes.  Here is a fine early dog-and-camera image with a space left blank on the front for the sender to write a message as the undivided back postcards allowed only the address to be written on the back:
Little girls and pretty women are favorite themes for fantasy postcards.  Some are witty, some odd, but we like the pretty ones best.  Here are two embossed examples of girls-in-flowers, a popular combination:

The girl dressed up as a pink blossom on the right is from a series of flat cards signed by the artist, Dulk.  In each postcard image, a girl portrays a different flower with dress and hat adding to the illusion.

Pretty youngsters with unusual rides comprise a large sub-group of the fantasy genre.  We offer two examples in this post - a cheerful angel in a peach dress astride a flying bird, and  a Tuck-published greeting of a little girl in an aqua dress riding a colorful big butterfly or moth.  These are both nicely embossed.

Here is a very different fantasy - an advertisement for a bicycle.  The long caption reads:  FLOYD McFARLAND, the celebrated bicyclist, with an Eclipse Coaster Brake, at Broadway and Chambers Street, New York.  
Changing the scale of elements in the image is just one type of fantasy - there are a variety of examples, including the real photo postcards, called Exaggerations, with huge animals and insects combined with smaller humans...hunters carrying enormous rabbits, men riding giant grasshoppers, etc.  Exaggeration fantasies have been produced right through the linen era to the chrome era...one enduring image is that of a cowboy riding a gigantic rabbit that appears through every era of postcard production. 

A different kind of scale-fantasy shows us a toddler in a colorful embossed Birthday greeting, 'nesting' with two great big birds.  The riding fantasies are also examples of scale variation, and we offer another below, produced in France, of a little girl being given a ride on a leafy branch, pulled along by birds.

The last fantasy here shows a scale variation with a huge daisy.  Angel and Cupid designs are sometimes classified as Fantasy postcards, although we generally prefer to give them their own names, as we do with Santa Claus and Halloween designs.  We include this card, though, because it combines several fantasy ideas:  the very large flower, the Cupid figure pulling off the petals, and the young romantic couple engaged in a bit of future-telling by examining the petals.  This is a lovely series where each card shows another petal with another written message - in the "loves me, loves me not" style.  

Price Estimates:  Fantasies vary widely in price depending on how rare or elaborate the card is.  In this post, the Dulk cards will be the most reasonably-priced as they are flat cards and plentiful.  The bicycle card is the hardest to find; expect to pay $20 and up.  The girls-in-flowers are all embossed and vary in price from about $8 - $15.  The dogs are popular and harder to find, so are generally priced at $12 - $20.  Remember, these prices are for postcards in excellent condition, and they are only estimates.

INTO the FUTURE from 1910

Since the early 1900s was such a period of innovation and technological marvels, postcard artists naturally envisioned what our high-tech future might be like.  Some wonderful fantasy designs incorporate what was already being developed plus flights of fancy to create the images shown in this post.  The first postcard, above, is captioned Orange, Mass. in the Future and was apparently quite popular as this card is not difficult to find.

The gasoline engine revolutionized travel and automobiles, buses and trucks, plus fantastical vehicles crowd the streets of the imagined future, while the skies are filled with hot air balloons, dirigibles and tramways.

Bicycles are still popular, and some bicyclists have taken to the air, peddling their way through the sky above the buildings.

Buses and trolleys crowd the street above, with the caption Pittsfield in the Near Future.  Looks like just about everyone can afford a motorbike in this utopian age of travel, although a few folks still drive along in fancy automobiles or on regular human-powered bicycles.  A second set of trolley cars are suspended above the street, and we wonder if the artist got this idea from the train cars suspended from the enormous Ferris Wheel (the first) at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  This postcard was postmarked from Pittsfield Massachusetts in 1907.

The artist, Syllikuss, envisions fresh-air travel on a large combination airplane and dirigible equipped with a "Saloon Deck" and a "Refreshment Bar"...although it may have been a bit overcrowded, it was obviously a fun ride.  This postcard was mailed in the U.K. in 1910.

Maintaining the tradition of Massachusetts as the center of the future United States, here is a harder-to-find postcard showing the Bunker Hill Monument,  Boston in the Future.  The scale, as in all these images, is completely unrealistic, with a hodge-podge of images large and small all coming together on the background.  This jumble is part of the charm of futuristic postcards, where wacky artwork created a light-hearted view of familiar places at the turn of the next century. 

The image of Meredith,
New Hampshire in the Future adds a man with outstretched arms and huge feathery wings 
flying above the trees, and a long railroad track with a locomotive in the sky.  A couple smooches in a hot-air balloon labeled Rendez-Vous, and a double-decker bus lurches along, tipping to one side, as we have already seen it in the future postcard above, from Orange Massachusetts.  Since these future images were really clip-art montages, it isn't unusual to find some elements appearing in  more than one design.  

A French postcard tries to capture what Tourisme en l'an 2000 will be like in the postcard  below.  This airplane flight looks much more fun and relaxing than actual air travel turned out to be.  And they had lots of legroom, plus ample space for suitcases and carry-ons.

We are adding a couple of our favorite fantasies in this category - who knew what might be possible?  It seems only logical that automobiles would fly (think Jetsons) and umbrellas might take us airborne, too.  Here is a car full of tourists above City Hall, San Francisco and The Whole Family Sends Greetings from the beautiful City by the Bay with even baby along for the ride.

Price Estimates:  Prices for fantasy future postcards vary from about $15 - $35 depending on rarity and condition.  Of course, not all fantasies focus on the future, and we will soon have a post that highlights other types of fantasies you may also enjoy.  Remember, these estimates are for cards in excellent condition, and they are only estimates.