Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Off Color SANTA CLAUS Postcards
In this post, off-color refers to the delightful variety of Santa Claus postcards in which old St. Nick is NOT wearing red - instead, he appears in purple, blue, green, brown, and occasionally white or black clothing. These turn-of-the-century postcards represent Santa in a variety of settings, with heavenly helpers and sometimes elaborate environments. What makes them extra special is the color of Santa Claus's outfit. Generally harder-to-find and more expensive than red-suit Santa scenes, these are fun additions to any holiday collection. Above we have a dark blue Santa Claus with an Angel, carrying toys and a holiday evergreen tree thru a snowy forest. This card is nicely embossed with silver swirls against a purple marbleized background forming a 'frame' for the central image. The back is divided; there is no publisher given.
This green Santa is having a meeting with some excited children on an early undivided back postcard. All their clothing is decorated with tiny gold designs, and the rest of the image has gold details added, too...nice embossing. Don't miss the gold shooting star in the sky above Santa's head. No publisher indicated.
The Santa on the right is from one of my favorite series - the artwork is especially fine, the colors very vivid and Santa has the gentle expression of someone we would like and welcome into our homes. These designs were printed on soft paper, however, and often have significant edge and corner wear. Nice embossing and lots of bright gold details add to this series' charm. This is a divided back postcard that says Printed in Germany on the back, but that does not state the publisher.
The Santa in a deep chocolate brown outfit carries a big sack down a snowy street in town, past an impressive gate. Santa is rarely shown in such affluent surroundings; usually we find him in the woods or with a town in the distance, so this Santa is a bit unusual in that regard.
The family's Christmas tree is outside and has the stand nailed to the bottom, and golden ornaments...perhaps this is Santa's belated trip to homes he missed on the official Christmas eve run...rich embossing and lots of gold details. A divided back postcard without a publisher's name or logo.
On the right is a popular blue Santa published by Tuck, showing him holding open an enormous bag of toys. This is an early undivided back, so the sender signed on the front. It has light embossing. It must have been a very popular card, since there are still many of them to be found.
On the left, we see Santa in a "white" robe, which is actually a cream or beige color. The children with him have metallics added to their clothing, so that gives this embossed Christmas postcard very colorful accents. The back is divided, and it has Postkarte-Carte Postale with the word postcard then printed in many languages. Again, no specific publisher is given.
The Santa Claus designs above show him in dark green outfits - in one he carries a great big red umbrella to protect him from the falling snow, and in the other he stops to read directions beneath a street lamp. His little helper looks as if she is practicing patience...oh, grown-ups can be tiresome!
Here are two postcards that show reverse images of the same Santa Claus, with a deep turquoise coat in one and a maroon coat in the other. This may be an example of the common habit of one publisher stealing another publisher's artwork, and creating a slightly different - and usually cheaper - version. Our blue Santa has a more elaborate background with a soft sunrise behind clouds and a church on a snowy hilltop. The second Santa is placed on a textured background without artwork. While both the divided backs say Made in Germany, neither names a publisher, so it's difficult to say what created two cards so alike, yet not the same.
Another blue Santa shows him with an entire town scene in the background. His pockets, as well as his sack, are filled with toys. Light embossing on a divided back postcard marked only Printed in Germany. Below we see a blue Santa in a very unusual scene - he is on skis and going down a steep incline. Nice embossing, Printed in Germany, and the Postkarte-Carte Postale in many languages on a divided back.
We finish this post with a close-up of a purple Santa carrying a basket of Christmas treats and toys and a sprig of holly. He is embossed, with gold accents in the banner behind him and the bars on either side of his image...this is a divided back postcard, marked on the back with a B in a diamond, P.C. 285.
Price Estimates: I have always liked Santa Claus postcards showing him in off-color outfits, so I have been collecting them for many years. I paid about $10 - $25 for these postcards in my own collection. Currently, you may expect to pay about $15 - $55, with the Tuck blue Santa the easiest to find and most reasonably priced of any images shown in this post. Top prices will be asked for Santa in unusual designs, like the skiing Santa, and for cards in excellent condition. Remember, these are only estimates.