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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Samuel Schmucker Detroit Publishing Postcards

In this Samuel Schmucker post, we look at some of the series the artist produced that were published by Detroit Publishing.  These are all flat cards with superior artwork, many with gold added.  Because some were originally released as early undivided back postcards that only allowed the address on the back, there is white space on the front of the card for the sender's written message.  These can sometimes also be found with blank backs, as non-postcards.  Above is one from the series where Schmucker has paired beautiful women with ocean creatures - there is one in this series that has a lady with a lobster.  The card above is an unused divided back with an early design on the front.  You can just barely see the Detroit Publisher emblem in the shape of an artist's palette at lower right, printed in a pale grey.   The copyright date is 1907.

 This lady with fishes is printed on a blank-back card, and like the opening image has splashes of gold lighting up the design.

The Schmucker women with wings like butterflies and dragonflies are another stunning fantasy series published by Detroit.  Like the ocean women, these have a pale Detroit Publishing emblem at lower right.  They also have titles in the same pale grey print at lower left.  This lady with blue wings is captioned Fragility.

Here we have another flying woman, this time with classic butterfly wings.  Her caption is Sensibility.  Below we show postcards from the Gnome series - they also have captions printed in very faint lettering.   

The Gnome riding the hummingbird has a two line caption:  Home is too stupid, dull and dead."I'll see the world," a bold Gnome said.     The Gnome shown with a bumblebee has a caption that reads:    But scarce his journey had begun When he must needs dismount and run. 
Both the Gnome cards shown have blank backs, the Detroit emblem on the bottom right, and gold details added to the fanciful designs.  A popular series of the time was Schmucker's CHILDHOOD DAYS

This was a set of six cards which came in an envelope printed with the saying, Ah! What would the world be to us if the children were no more?  These postcards have divided backs and each carried a caption that described a childhood moment.    
The last fantasy series I have to share in this post puts glamorous and slightly risque ladies together with cocktail glasses.  The artwork in this series does not seem as accomplished or confident as the artwork in the series described earlier, but Schmucker's touch can be seen easily in the wry humor of the images.  All these series are fun to collect and, though expensive, will only be worth that much more if you are collecting as an investment for the future. 

Price Estimates:  The postcards shown in this post are not readily available - you will have to search them out at shows and auctions.  Expect to pay between $100 - $350 each for them in EXCELLENT condition, although you may find them for slightly less, which would be a true bargain.  These prices are only estimates.


  1. Hi, Toni - Thank you so much for this wealth of information on Samuel Schumucker. The scrapbook I mentioned in my earlier post has the very tattered remains of the Detroit Publishing Co. envelope that the women in the glasses was in. It's titled "Wine, Women and Song" and a quote from Byron:

    Fame, Wisdom, Love and Power were mine,
    And Health and Youth possessed me,
    My goblets blushed with every wine,
    And lovely forms caressed me.

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

  2. Update from the January 1912 Orlando Postcard Show where a dealer told me - I am not making this up - that he had just sold a set of 4 Schmucker sea-life ladies for $4,500. I must have looked surprised; he said, "They were mint." Toni