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!







Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mechanical Antique Postcards

This post focuses on MECHANICAL postcards - we define mechanicals as postcards that move, that change, that DO something.  Although some dealers use the word "mechanical" for cards that do not fit this criteria, we feel strongly that the term should be reserved for cards like those shown here.  Our first illustration is a risque mechanical - when you open the door a lady in the bathtub is revealed



The children on this Easter mechanical change to a lady with a dressed rooster when the tab is pulled.  This type of mechanical is sometimes called a "venetian blind" card. Santa Claus cards of this type are  a wonderful addition to a holiday collection.  This type of card is also available with risque scenes.  Children love mechanicals - the pull-tab type of mechanical postcard can be found in newer,  less expensive postcards.  One popular pull-tab postcard shows an alligator and the pull-tab opens and closes his mouth.  When you are shopping for postcards to give a child, we recommend you look for fun postcards that are low in price - children may enjoy their postcards without taking terrifically good care of them, and you don't want to be anxious about cost and care.     
The Thanksgiving Turkey postcard is an example of "kaleidoscope" mechanicals where the wheels on the side of the card allow a colorful striped disk behind the die-cut design to be turned.  This creates a wonderful moving effect, and these postcards come in many holiday and greeting designs - an Easter egg, a  butterfly, a dancer,  a lighthouse, some stunning Christmas and New Year images and more.
The lady standing outside a house with a pink flowering tree is an example of "calendar" mechanicals, where wheels allow the day and date to be changed for the occasion.  These are mostly designed to be birthday or holiday postcards, and there is quite a variety.  Although they are colorful and often embossed, these can be acquired quite easily. 
Here is a pretty girl on a calendar mechanical with a mailbox.  The colors and embossing are superb, yet this card can be purchased at a reasonable price.  The series includes an assortment of lovely girls.



This ship themed mechanical postcard has a fuzzy plush background and a die-cut ship that stands up from the background.  We show it flat and with the die-cut standing.  The colors are applied to the highly-embossed image by airbrush with brilliant blue forget-me-nots and gold details. 
 The last postcard in our selection of mechanicals is a French postcard for the soldier to keep track of how many days he has remaining to serve.  In other words, it was an early count down device!  Very colorful, with wheels for the date today and the remaining days at the bottom. 
Price Estimates:  Prices for mechanicals vary according to the rarity, condition, and theme.  At the most reasonably-priced end of the spectrum we find the calendar and stand-up postcards, which may be purchased for about $10-$15 each, or even less if you are a careful shopper.  As we move up the value scale, the kaleidoscope postcards cost between $30 - $50 each. All the pull-tabs (including "venetian blinds") range from $15 up to high prices for the rare images - risque, Santa Claus, etc.  These estimates are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition, and they are only estimates.

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