Thursday, January 11, 2007

Victorian Trade Card with Birds


Trade cards, used by merchants as a way to advertise their wares to potential customers, reached the peak of their popularity in the 1880s and 1890s. The above is an example of a stock card (i.e., the backs were typically blank, allowing the same stock card to be used by multiple advertisers, who would print their advertisement on the back).

This particular card features a male European Bullfinch on the right, while the bird on the left is apparently supposed to represent a fledgling of that species. The back of this card advertises The Diamond Dyes (available in 24 colors for "only 10 cents a package" and said to "easily color" a variety of different types of materials, including "feathers") for sale by F. F. Holland & Co. of Portland, Maine.

Trade cards depicting birds are not all that unusual, but they can be somewhat difficult to find in dealers stocks.

The Harvard Business School's Baker Library has a nice online exhibit on The 19th-Century American Trade Card here, with additional information on Victorian Trade Cards here.

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