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

Friday, April 30, 2010


This post illustrates some of the many fun puzzle postcards produced between 1900 and the 1940s - above we have a reverse written message which becomes readable when held to a mirror.  The artist Dwig made many delightful designs using this trick, with pretty ladies declaring their romantic feelings in reverse writing.  The example above includes a pun - turn-of-the-century postcard designers loved to use puns!

Above are two early flat rebus postcards where pictures are used instead of words.  In the top card there's an example of negating part of a word to make the puzzle work, where the waiter is shown followed by ER being crossed out to make WAIT.    Children's puzzle books still make good use of the rebus, and further along we will see some rebus designs that capture colorful children's dreams of Christmas.

   To the left are two beautifully illustrated colorful rebus puzzles of old sayings... ALL (awl) is not GOLD that glitters...and A POT goes often to the WELL but is BROKEN at last.
 An even more elaborately designed series is shown at the right, with pretty embossed floral borders...these, too, illustrate popular sayings.  A BIRD in the HAND is worth TWO BIRDS in the BUSH....and TIME and tide wait for no MAN.   Notice how the initial letter A in both sets is made out of saplings, adding further artistic flair - all the lettering is imaginatively done. 

A later linen-era card uses a scrambled-letters style to puzzle the recipient - the  message is worth figuing out, because it's an affectionate one the recipient will enjoy.

Another linen-era puzzle postcard teams bathing beauties with a maze - note the caption, "Having an A-MAZE-ing Good Time...Try to get to "ME" soon!

Here is a Victorian-era puzzle postcard with Teacher trying to impart some wisdom to her classroom students...she has created a puzzle on the blackboard, requiring the children to put the vowels back in the words.  This was used as an advertisement for a school supply company.  We show it extra-large in case you want to solve the puzzle yourself.
Above is a charming Christmas rebus puzzle postcard from Whitney, published in the 1920s, perfect for sending to children.  We show another below - these are the colorful rebus designs we mentioned at the start of this post.  Of course, there are other kinds of puzzles available on old postcards, too - some use thin, elongated letters to make mystery answers to riddles - the viewer has to hold the postcard up to the eye at a slant to read the answers...today we have just shown a few to get you started, if you would like to begin adding puzzles to your collection.  

Price Estimates:  Puzzle cards like those shown here are generally priced between $3 - $6 each, with the Whitney holiday rebus cards going as high as $10 because they have cross-over interest.  If you are introducing postcard collecting to a youngster, you may wish to get him or her a  puzzle or rebus card to add to their collection!   These prices are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition, and they are only estimates.

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