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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

NEW YEAR Date Postcards

Sometimes called Date-in-Design, these New Year Date postcards begin with 1900 and continue through World War I. A “century” card was produced for 1900 in Germany, rather a plain flat design with green ink. But even at that early date, more fanciful designs were beginning to enter the collectors’ albums. We begin with a snowy scene in which the shadows from a pair of birds and the arched gate-tops form the numerals – a creative way to put the year 1900 in this Frohliches Neues Jahrhundert! postcard. This is a flat card with glowing pastel colors and an undivided back, mailed from Germany.

Many New Year Date postcards simply add the year to an otherwise free-standing design, and some of those can be charming.  Some have calendars attached with a page for each month, others feature a calendar printed on the postcard in the design.  Those are all more common and, while collectible, not as much fun as the more complex designs where the date is part of a fancier picture.

These little Angels are carrying a forget-me-not floral garland with hanging bells, each of which has a number to form 1904 - the card is richly embossed and has gold added. We love the Angels wearing only their wings and a few blossoms during such cold weather.  In the background is a night-time view in deep greens and blues, the perfect setting for these charming rosy-pink heavenly messengers. This postcard has an undivided back, and is mailed from Sweden. 

Pigs are a traditional symbol of plenty and often appear on New Year postcards, sending wishes for prosperity with their presence.  These giddy pigs prance along with round leaf-decorated signs, 1903, trailing streamers - a cheery image with lots of porcine action.  Bright gold details embellish the design and the postcard is beautifully embossed.  It has an undivided back and was mailed from Sweden.

This ethereal design of a pretty turn-of-the-century woman holding a glass of hot wine shows the numbers 1903 floating above her, formed of the steam from her drink.  A very creative image, with exceptional artwork - her face is lit with a soft glow, and the deep green background sets off the subtle numerals perfectly.  An undivided back, this card offers the sender a little blank area on the front where a message can be written, as only the address was allowed on the back.  The undivided back period officially lasted from 1901 - 1907, although it's possible to find cards from the later years with divided backs, so there is some overlap.  This is a flat card which was kept in an album and not mailed. 
                                                       Here is a flat Bonne Annee postcard mailed from France.  It's a real photo image combined with artistic elements, to show glamorous women and numerals for 1907.  The women represent the four seasons, Spring holding a sapling branch with pink blossoms, Summer with an armful of flowers, Autumn with a harvest of grapes, and Winter wrapped in heavy clothing and surrounded by snow and ice.  This photo postcard has elaborate color tinting.
 Here is a popular design, re-issued for several years by just changing the numbers, by Paul Finkenrath Berlin (PFB) publishers.  The cavorting cherubs float in a soft cloud bank slightly above a grassy meadow, holding floral garlands that form the numerals.  In this design, one plays a harp. The series shows a variety of colors in the flowers - sometimes the numerals are held by women and cherubs. These cards have very detailed embossing and are perennial favorites among collectors.

A golden sun peeks over the horizon on this gold-lavished design of playful Angels shooting holly berries and leaves against a wood panel to form the numbers 1908.  Very detailed embossing, nice artwork and a playful, unusual design add to the desirability of this New Year date image.
These Victorian children in a snowfall actually form the numerals on this 1908 New Year Date postcard.  Having the characters on the card form the numbers might be done in a pretty design or a humorous design like the restaurant characters on the postcard shown below for 1907.

Some very attractive New Year Date postcards were produced using the dates as frames for other images or in which the numerals were held by pretty children.  There is a full calendar on the second postcard.  Both these cards are embossed with vivid colors.

The last two designs above were published as regular New Year Date postcards and also as hold-to-light postcards, with die-cut openings in the top layer of the card that allowed an inner layer to glow when the card was held up to a light source.  The hold-to-lights (HTLs) are harder to find and highly valued by collectors.

Price Estimates:   Simple New Year date postcards can be purchased for a few dollars each - these are the ones referred to at the beginning of this post, which show just the year or a simple decoration on the numerals.  If you'd like to begin collecting New Year date postcards at this level, lots frequently appear on eBay for 3 or more at the same time, and the prices can be a bargain.  Mid-range high quality cards with or without embossing, will sell for $10 - $25.  Hold-to-light postcards, depending on the design, can cost $100 or more. These estimates are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition.  They are only estimates of present prices.


  1. Postcard designs presented above are so cute with awesome designs. The features added in it such as date, year are really amazing.

  2. Thanks for your input - Year date designs are some of our favorites, too!