Friday, May 24, 2002

Crazy About Postcards

My wife and I attended a post card show today in Hagerstown, Maryland, that was hosted by the Postcard Society. There were about 20 dealers there from throughout the Mid-Atlantic States. My wife got me turned onto collecting antique postcards about 10 years ago. I specialize in bird cards, of course! After six hours spent sorting through innumerable boxes of post cards, my eyes are sore and my wallet is a lot lighter, but I’m pleased with the treasures I found.

1. My favorite card isn’t a postcard at all, but an oversized advertisment card called a MEZ Stick-Karte, MEZ apparently being a German manufacturer of yarn. The card features a Kingfisher, or Eisvogel. This is one of a series of six cards that probably date from the 1940s or 50s. There are small, evenly-spaced, semi-punched holes around the perimeter of the bird. These cards were meant for children, who, armed with a blunt needle and some MEZ yarn, could practice their eye-hand coordination. It’s unsual for these types of cards to survive unused and undamaged.

2. A complete set of 10 postcards published by the National Audubon Society, in the original envelope. The cards feature the artwork of Allan Brooks. Brooks was a feature artist for Audubon in the 1910s, 20s, and 30s.

3. A set of 50 State bird and flower cards depicting the artwork featured on a series of postage stamps issued in 1984. Published by Andrews Cachet of Asheboro, North Carolina. Not old, but still a very nice set.

4. An advertising card published by G. P. Brown & Co. of Beverly, Massachusetts, and featuring a pair of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the nest, recognizable as the artwork of Charles K. Reed. This card probably dates from the 1920s. The back of the card advertises three sets of nature post cards: a 25-card set of wild birds, a 50-card set of wild animals, and a 50-card set of wild flowers. All three sets (125 cards) could be purchased for 90 cents. Today, these cards would sell for $1-5 each!

5. A maximum card from Argentina featuring a drawing of an American Rhea, an Argentine postage stamp featuring a rhea, and a postmark dated 1960.

6. Seven cards from the Raphael Tuck & Sons Educational Series No. 402, Birds. Tuck is a well-known early 20th century British publisher of better-quality postcards. The company advertised itself as “Art Publishers to their Magesties the King and Queen.”

7. An odd assortment of other cards, mostly modern chromes, including one showing two Steller’s Jays mis-labeled as Blue Jays.


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