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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Publishers of antique & vintage postcards had several ways to save money.  This post illustrates three different ways publishers could economize.  First, recycling images by well known artists, like the image above by Marie Flatscher.  In one, shamrocks symbolize Good Luck in the New Year.  The second postcard, also for the New Year, features birds on a wintery branch and a different window treatment.  

Below are more examples of recycled artwork.  The first is from Winsch publishers on Easter postcards where a change of border style and the addition of a child makes a "new" image.  

Next are two examples of art deco style postcards from the 1920s, recycling images with some changes to create different designs or simply changing the background color.

The second way publishers saved money, a little bizarre, was reusing designs but with a different greeting.  These are plentiful and easy to spot.  We begin with an obvious Easter chick from Tuck publishers casting an eye on a lemon and wondering what relationship it might have to an egg.  More puzzling - what does this image have to do with Christmas?

Below are two Valentines, one with Cupid helping a pretty lady decide between love and money (a recurring theme in turn-of-the century Valentines), and one with Cupid surprising a lady while she reads a love letter.  These have been recycled as a Christmas greeting with the addition of some holly and as a birthday postcard with the design unchanged.

Here is a well-known antique New Year design with children holding shamrocks and a horn, both traditional New Year symbols, and old Father Time from the previous year leaving in the background. The old car and the new red auto reinforce the old/new symbolism.  It has been recycled as a birthday greeting with no change to the design.

The third way to save money was for publishers to print divided backs on what had originally been undivided back stock with the front design intact.  The laws changed, allowing messages to be written on the back of the postcard, where publishers had originally left space on the front for the message when only the address was allowed on the back.  The following postcards have divided backs, but the image still has the space from when postcards had undivided backs.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Antique FADE AWAY Postcards

Fade away (fadeaway) postcard designs combine background colors with images to create an inventive picture that challenges the viewer to look closely.  This is a fun fool-the-eye element that adds interest to holiday and greeting postcards from the early 1900s.  

Our opening image is a Gibson Art-published divided back flat Christmas postcard where Santa Claus has a suit that blends into the background.  Gibson Art also published the fine image below of a lady driving a red automobile on a red background. Check the area near the steering wheel, where the image of her arm fades into the red background. Both of these postcards were postmarked 1913. 

Below is an example from one of my favorite series of fade away postcards, published by Stecher, with lovely little girls holding Easter rabbits and chicks.  The background is a gorgeous violet color and the fade away design is significant, with the girls' outfits completely blended into the background.  Light embossing adds to the charm of these divided back postcards.  

A different sort of fade away design is evident on the glamorous art deco image below of a woman in black stockings and a chemise that matches the background,  An artist-signed Italian postcard with divided back flat image, the smoke from her cigarette creates the caption. Elegant and spare, this is a classy risque design in the fade away style.  

Another Gibson Art Christmas postcard adds a whimsical cherub on a mailbox with children sending holiday wishes.   A divided back flat design, the little girl in white has a winter coat and boots that fade into the snowy background.  Note the footstep marks in the snow - a subtle touch added to a bright postcard.

The following three fade away designs are by a famed artist of the genre, Coles Phillips, who early on signed his work C. Coles Phillips and later dropped the initial C.  His artwork could be found on advertisements and postcards, frequently featuring lovely women with significant fade away elements.  A well-regarded artist among collectors, the sophistication of his images makes his postcards very popular.

The last image here called PALS by Phillips has a design and color palette that predates Bev Doolittle's modern fade away prints.  In her Hide and Seek Cameo series, brown and white horses fade into a background of rocks, earth and snow with a similar combination of colors.  Her beautiful prints can be seen on the internet.

PRICE ESTIMATES:  Prices for fade away postcards range from about $6 - $25 for the Stecher and Gibson Art designs and about $35 - $60 for the artist-signed Coles Phillips & Italian postcards.  These estimates are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition and they are only estimates.