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

Saturday, April 16, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO Panama Pacific International Exposition Postcards

This post introduces a selection of poster-style postcards from the San Francisco California Panama Pacific International Exposition, sometimes referred to as PPIE.  Postcards were produced advertising the exposition years before it opened to encourage potential visitors to plan ahead to come to San Francisco for the festivities.  The exposition celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal; it also re-introduced the world to the post-quake and fire city, a rebuilt and proud San Francisco.  The card that opens this post was published by Edward Mitchell.

There are a number of fun advertising postcards from the exposition.  We are  fond of giant anything, so we are sharing the giant typewriter below.  This postcard is well-known and commonly available, so the exposition visitors must have liked it, too.  We admire the confident way the typewriter is promoted as the machine we will eventually buy!   

Above we show two glorious poster-style images from the exposition, both featuring beautiful women in classic dress...vibrant colors on flat postcards.  They are both published by Exposition Publishing Co.  On the back of the right card is stamped in red: Out of Debt Day, San Francisco, September 3, 1915.  The P.P.I. Exposition is a Financial as well as Artistic Success.  Its last cent of debt was paid today.  Send this to  your absent friends today.

Here are two more Exposition designs, one marked on the back that it is published by Exposition Pub. Co. and one marked Edward Mitchell...we notice that the rest of the back design is exactly the same.  The image on the left includes one of the mantras of the Exhibition:  California Welcomes the World.  The image on the right includes the California Bear that appears on the State flag, standing on a rocky outcropping.  The image is elaborate, showing quake-and-fire ruins in the foreground, and the rebuilt city behind the ruins, with the Bay in the background.  A flag flies above the scene, with a banner surrounded by images of ribbons and leafy garlands at the top...this is a truly magnificent poster-style postcard with strong colors and outstanding artwork.

Below are more images of the California State Bear.  Bear-in-Mind is a multiple pun image, with subtle colors, copyrighted in 1911.  Undaunted has a dramatic image that emphasizes the strength of San Franciscans who rebuilt their beloved city after the quake and fire.  The bear has an arrow in his back but stands above the ruins in defiance.

The last two postcards in this post are a little different.  One is a real photo postcard of an Exposition Hiker, who holds his dog in this portrait.  The caption says Harold Card, Exposition Hiker, Portland to San Diego Frisco and Return.   The card has an AZO (1904-1918) stampbox and a studio identification on the back:  Made by the Electric Studio, Portland Ore.    On the right is a closeup of a portrait postcard showing a pretty woman in a Panama hat holding a bouquet of California poppies.  Her hatband advertises the reason for the image. 

Price Estimates:  PPIE postcards include promotional postcards, advertising, real photo postcards and many views of the buildings and events at the Exposition itself.  In this post, we have focused on poster-style postcards, some of the more expensive postcards that can be collected from this famed International fair.  The least expensive is the typewriter advertising postcard which may be found reasonably priced online.  The other postcards shown here will cost about $20 - $50.  These estimates are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition and they are only estimates.

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