Monday, October 12, 2009

Post Cards - a snapshot of when and where and even who

Have you ever gone on vacation and NOT mailed back a post card saying "wish you were here"?? Me either - I always send at least one and ahve since I was in my late teens. My excuse was my little sister. She's 14 years younger than I am so when I went to London as a 21 year old, she was 7. And I could maile 3-4 postcards a week for 1/3 of what a long chatty and basically illegible letter would say to a 7 year old. So I sent her postcards. Knowing her?? She still has them some place.

Likewise when she when on a long roadtrip with a family friend to New Mexico and Colorado?? She sent postcards cause it was less expensive.

Now I'm over 60 but I still send HER a postcard when I go somewhere new - like eBay Live in New Orleans in 2004 and eBay Live in Chicago in 2008. (the only two places I've gone lately.)

All of which makes me sympathetic to postcard collectors. And from 2004 to now, I've pickedup maybe 2000 post cards at auctions and garage sales. And in line with that, I've been learning more about them. And I'm gonna share some of MY learning and experiences with you here. Please Warned - this is not the bible, it's not carved in stone - different folks, will experience different results.

A Brief History

Postcards started in the late 1800's. At first Congress authorized printing of the cards with the name written on one side and a a picture on the other. There was no stamp and no postage denoted. Then they authorized one that had the name on 1/2 of one side and a message area on the other side and had a square with the note inside "1 ct postage".

Those, continued til 1921 about. They included, personal postcards where people went, got their kids pictures taken and put on a postcard and mailed it to the family and inlaws. Or Newly weds got a photo put on a postcard and sent it home saying Wish you were here.

During WWI for a brief time postage went up to 2 cts. Then back down to 1 ct until 1950.

In that period the post card industry flourished here and abroad. Internationally, people began to collect the "greeting" type cards, like the Halloween postcards or the Christmas ones. Some artists developed a reputation for wonderful art on ostcards, like Clapsaddle, Brundage and Griggs.

Some deveopled a reputation for WEIRD art - like Louis Wain who drew cats but anthormorphised them...His cats were the hoodlums of the postcard world. Wain himself ended his life in an asylum after a mental breakdown and you can clearly see his disintegration over time if you collect enough examples of his art.

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