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

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Linen ADVERTISING Postcards 1930 - 1940s

This post features American linen advertising postcards - bright in color with sharp designs to catch the consumer's eye and lead to a purchase.  We like the stylish artwork and the period  flavor to these collectible postcards dating from about 1930 through the 1940s.  Some linen images were so popular that they were later reproduced on chrome postcards, with the picture exactly the same as the original but on a newer type of postcard.  Be careful when buying or bidding - some sellers do not identify whether the card is linen or chrome.  The word "vintage" doesn't help...make sure to ask the seller specifically which it is if you are not 100% sure.

The products in these advertising postcards are highlighted clearly.  The location may be specific or, if the postcard advertises a nationally-distributed item, there may be a list of locations or a rubber-stamped store name on the back that identifies a local supplier.   You can choose to collect specific products, styles of artwork, or favorite locations...above is a "roadside" restaurant advertisement.  Roadside advertising includes hotels, motels, gas stations and resorts as well as restaurants and is a popular collecting class all its own.

 Fashion is a fun collecting niche - this popular Swann Hats design is not hard to find.  There are also linen advertising postcards for big classic American chains, such as Sears and Montgomery Ward which feature women's clothing during this period. Below is a colorful advertising postcard for children's shoes - a category with lots of different designs, probably because children need new shoes so often!

Here is an advertisement encouraging folks to go out roller skating, a fad that was popular in the early 1900s and enjoyed a resurgence in the 1940s.  This design could be personalized for your local rink by using a rubber stamp or label identifier on the back.  

Soapine has a number of advertising postcards - this one earned a place in this post by advertising a bonus item enclosed with the product, a popular advertising gimmick that can still occasionally be found today.  Your grocery store may offer dishes or cookware inexpensively with a purchase or your gas station may offer free plastic tumblers with the purchase of a fountain drink, for instance.  The free bonus or premium item was especially popular during the depression and some housewives assembled a full set of dishes using a product they liked.  If you have friends who collect Depression Glass, they can identify some designs of glassware that were acquired this way by the original owners.

To end this post, I have included one of my favorite linen advertising postcards.  It promotes Yellow Jacket Coal...wonderful graphics and humorous artwork make this an especially appealing collectible!

Price Estimates:  Linen advertising postcards have gone up dramatically in price during the past few years.  Gas station, diner and bowling alley examples are now in the $25 - $75 price range with some breaking the $100 barrier.  The examples in this postcard range from the Coal and Roller Skating images at about $25 down to $5-$15 for the others.  These are for cards in Excellent condition, and they are only estimates.


  1. Oh, those hats! These are great examples . The yellow jacket and the roller skating ones are just superb.

  2. Hi Christine - thank you - your great suggestion about advertising postcard inspired this post and another coming soon that will focus on earlier advertising. Toni