We are always buying collections of postcards and photographs from before 1950 - email us at circa1910@tampabay.rr.com if you have a collection to sell!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TOPICAL Postcards - Your Choice

Although there are many postcard collectors who collect only Views of their favorite places, there are lots of choices if you want to become a collector of Topical postcards.  Holidays, my personal favorite, are included in this category, and here's a list of some more topics that may interest you.  Of course, this list is incomplete, and you can find whatever your interest is on old postcards - just one of the reasons collecting postcards is so much fun!

Postcard Topics from Artists to Zoo 


Airplanes, Alligators…..Battleships, Bathing Beauties, Beer…..Cowgirls, 

Cameras, Children 

…..Dachshunds, Dirigibles, Decoration Day…..Eastern Star, Easter


Exposition…..Fishing, Full Moon, Fire Engines …..Gramophones, Gas Stations,

Golf…..Hold-to-Light, Horses, Hands-Across-the-Sea…..Indians, Illusions,

Interiors…..Jails, July 4th, Jesus…..Kewpies, Kissing, Kittens….

Large Letter,

 Ladies, Love Letters…..Maps, Marilyn Monroe, Mermaids…..Novelties, Nudes, 

New Year..... 

…..Ostriches, Ocean beaches, Olympics…..Pipes, Politics, Playing

Cards…..Railroad, Real Photos,  


Santa Claus,  


Suffrage…..Thanksgiving Turkeys,  Telephones, Trolleys

…..Underwood Typewriter,

University, U.S. Flag 


Vaudeville, V for Victory…..World War II, Western,

Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)…..Xylophones, Xtra Embossed, X

Marks the Spot…..Yellowstone, Yale, YMCA…..Zero gravity, Zebras, Zephyr trains.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Artist-signed CHILDREN Postcards: Jessie Wilcox Smith & Marsh Lambert

This post focuses on two well-known postcard artists who were especially talented at portraying children.  The first three postcards are by Jessie Wilcox Smith, who also illustrated children's books.  Her images combine a masterful use of light and shadow with a delicate hand in showing children at play.  She has an enduring popularity and there are modern reproductions of many of her designs.  These three postcards, all divided back flat images, are originals published by Reinthal & Newman. 

The first two Jessie Wilcox Smith designs shown here are signed at the lower right.  Below is an unsigned design with a sweet image. 

Marsh Lambert had a completely different style as shown in this series of little girls with flags of the WWI Allies.  Bright colors, bold lines and uncluttered images personify Lambert's work.  All three are divided back flat postcards published by A.M. Davis.  

Marsh Lambert's artwork can be found on a variety of child images - these designs are only a sample.  If you enjoy child postcards, both these artists can add value to  your collection. 

Friday, April 10, 2015


Silhouette postcards seem undervalued by U.S. collectors.  Although they are readily available from European sellers, American sellers have less of a selection available, so finding them may be a bit of a challenge. 

Silhouettes can provide dramatic images, especially when combined with colorful highlights. Here is a representative sample of color-added silhouettes with children.  All the postcards in this post have divided-backs.  

We begin with three flat postcards of little children in playful designs, all signed with the initials FB at lower right.  The backs only give us a Series number 511.  My Artist-Signed Postcard guide notes FB (not Baumgarten or Brundage) Children.  It does not tell us if the artist designed silhouettes.   

Without printed greetings, these would be wonderful framed for a child's room - we offer black mats in our eBay store, custom cut to the measurements of vintage and antique postcards, that would set off these designs beautifully.  Once the mat is added, the postcard fits perfectly into any 5X7 inch frame. 

Above is an embossed silhouette with art deco styling.  The colors and patterns added make this postcard especially bright.  Printed on the back is POST CARD with no design elements or logo.  

The two vivid Easter silhouettes above have brilliant colors added and art deco designs with shining gold details.  The designs are charming with a little boy and a rabbit celebrating Easter.  I particularly like the top image where little rabbits wearing red bows watch the boy dye eggs.  

They are flat postcards with plain borders, published by The Fairman Co. of New York, The Pink of Perfection. The publisher's logo is shown below.

There are different types of silhouettes that may interest you - some all-black ones have intricate designs of Angels or Fairies, others offer historical, seasonal or risque designs.  A collecting area worth exploring! 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

THEME Collecting: Red EASTER Postcards

There are many themes that collectors prize when it comes to antique postcards.  I have an album of just art deco designs, lots of California postcards and another album of just Real Photo Postcards.  For many years, I have collected Samuel Schmucker artwork postcards and New Year postcards with the year date included in the design.  From other collectors, I have heard that they favor artist Ellen Clapsaddle, umbrellas in the image, or even "X marks the spot" where the sender has marked their location (or hotel room) on the face of the postcard with an X.  Of course, many folks enjoy seeking out postcards that show views of their favorite town, occupation or vacation spots.

In this post, I offer another sort of theme, this one based on color.  All of the postcards shown here are Easter holiday images, all with the color red featured.

There isn't too much to say about these cards other than what you can readily see - some are embossed, some are flat.   They all have an element of fantasy (another great collecting theme) in the design.  I first purchased the marching rabbits carrying carrots, and was so happy with the dramatic red background that I just went on collecting Easter postcards with a big dollop of red in the image.

This is a French postcard with girls and lambs inside a giant egg.  Once you have selected a theme based on color or image, you can find entries from all over the world.

This lop-eared rabbit is breaking out of a big red egg with a gold banner in the background. There are other great red egg postcards for Easter, too.

One advantage of theme collecting is that display is enhanced - if you belong to a Postcard Club that hosts Display Board competitions, your theme is a great starting place for creating a winning Board! 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Winsch SCHMUCKER Easter Fantasy Postcards

Happy Easter!  

This post shows the Winsch-published Samuel Schmucker Easter fantasy postcards of pretty women in flowers.  Here are a couple of close-ups to show the delicacy of the artwork on these fine embossed postcards, all embellished with butterflies and gold details.

 This is one of my favorite series, and I hope you enjoy it, too! 

Best wishes for a happy holiday and a wonderful Spring!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

RPPC DRESS UP Real Photo Postcards

There are many reasons to dress up, and this post shows real photo postcards that celebrate the fun of it for both children and adults.  Above, delightful little ones offer a performance with white outfits and cut-out stars.  

Here are two portraits of adults with children dressed up as Indians, a fairly common costume adventure at American photo studios.  A friend in Britain tells me that the equivalent there was children dressed up in kilts.  These are unused divided-back postcards that have CYKO and AZO stampboxes, dating them 1907 - 1920s.

Here is a little beauty dressed in a wonderfully ornate Oriental outfit.  She looks happy to be having her picture taken in her fancy jacket, headdress and pants.  Don't miss the fur rug. The sender wrote "Merry Christmas" on the back.  A divided-back AZO stampbox image, we can date it 1907-1918. 

This young fellow holds a big old-fashioned camera and looks very proud in his sailor outfit. An AZO stampbox dates this unused postcard 1904-1918.  With a divided back, we can also date this postcard 1907-1918.

Of course, children were not the only ones who donned costumes for their moment before the camera.  Cowboy outfits were popular with men, who sometimes posed in front of fake barroom scenes aiming pistols at each other.  This tall man has selected wooly pants or chaps for his portrait, although his wife wears regular clothing.  Hand-dated on the back 1921, this arcade photo studio was located in Charleston, West Virginia.

Sally Loomis wears a risque Hollywood-styled Indian costume on this 1940 Minnesota postcard as she arrives to participate in the St. Paul's Carnival Parade.   

This autographed San Francisco postcard is one of several issued after the 1906 earthquake to advertise the Chinatown business of Mr. & Mrs. Wong Sun Yue Clement.  In their shop, they sold imported items and souvenirs of the quake.  She wears Chinese dress to match her husband, and also has signed the postcard Mrs. Howard Gould's Sister to take advantage of her link to a wealthy and well-known San Francisco relative.  

This post closes with an unused photo postcard from a studio in St. Augustine, Florida. Saluting in his military-style costume, this handsome little boy directs a serious look toward the camera. An AZO stampbox dates the photograph 1904-1918.  With a divided back, we can date it 1907-1918.

Real photo postcards with people in costumes come in a wide variety - there are some wonderful images of women in exotic outfits that pre-date the glamour photography of today, for instance.  Whatever sub-set of the Dress Up postcards you select, you're sure to have fun with this genre! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Real photo postcards made on photographic paper leave us a fine record of earlier daily life and historic events.  Some were made by professional photographers and others by hobbyists.  If you are fond of real photo postcards, there is lots of information about them on the internet and other posts in this blog that may interest you.  

Some buyers and dealers confuse postcards that were printed from photographs and those that were developed on actual photographic paper. The quick way to tell the difference is to use a  magnifying glass - the printed cards show dots from the printing process and the true real photo postcards (RPPCs) do not. 

 All the postcards in this post are real photo postcards, all professionally made.  We begin with images of folks taking to the air in studio fantasies where the people are actually behind airplane cutouts and their image is combined with a ground scene by the photographer.  

On the back of the above fantasy, a previous owner has written COLORADO, and I like the busy airshow feeling to the scene below these high-flying women.

These young fellows had themselves photographed in an automobile cutout at a studio where the enterprising photographer included his business name in the street scene backdrop.

This fun fantasy of a lady playing cards with herself was a popular type of souvenir photo at tourist spots.  Done with cleverly-placed mirrors, these multiple image pictures were sometimes done with folks reading newspapers or just sitting at the table with themselves. Dating from the early 1900s, they can be found postmarked from Atlantic City to Russia.   

Here is a dramatic and beautiful fantasy where the photographer has combined images against a black background to make a fantasy image.  One of the most famous of real photo fantasies using this technique is an image of a man with a nude woman on his tie - hard to find, expensive and fabulous.

Another popular fantasy is achieved by people placing their heads on top of cartoon-like prop images.  These can be found dating from the early 1900s through the 1940s.  Here is a cross-over collectible with fellows posing with a drawing that says they are getting cleaned up for the Alaska-Yukon Exposition in Seattle, Washington in 1909. 

A fellow in a fantasy checked suit walks his fantasy bulldog on this postcard - of course, he wears an actual hat and smokes a real cigar.

We end with a fantasy comprised of a big bottle combined with a lovely lady in a tinted lacy gown. Colorful and witty, this real photo postcard of a "love tonic" shows off the photographer's skill at blending images to create a great montage:  Note the way the woman's hand seems to rest on the edge of the bottle's opening!