When I first started collecting postcards, any postcard was a fascinating object. It didn't matter whether it was a chrome, linen, lithograph, print, or real photo. The content didn't matter either; each card was unique, and always interesting.
After I bought my first big collection (18,000), I found it intriguing to separate them by publisher. Each publisher, it seemed, had its own type of content. My first postcard favorites were street scenes and views from my local area. The scenes from the rest of the world were interesting, but not something I diligently sought.
Artists' rendering of children at play were perhaps my favorite category. Most of the best ones seemed to be produced by certain publishers such as PFB, EAS, Julius Bien & Co., John Winsch, Ernest Nister, and many others. Certain artists always seemed to catch my eye like Margaret E. Price (MEP), who did both signed and unsigned cards. Katharine Gassaway was another artist with a distinctive style. Ellen Clapsaddle was a prolific artist of child pictures on both International Art Publishing Co. and Wolf Publishing Co.
Another of my favorite categories was beautiful women. Whether they were classical or exotic, royal or pinup, bathing beauties or dressed in elegant hats or elaborate gowns, they were all collectible. As were signed artists like Fidler and Boileau or well-known publishers like Winsch. Yet, some of the most exquisite work was done by unknown artists and little-known publishers such as this lady in black.
An all-time favorite subject for postcard collecting is Santa Claus. Whether he is the standard U.S. version like this Whitney Made card or more European like this fellow with the lantern or Scandinavian, or definitely Dutch like this predecessor to Santa, known as St. Nicolaas, he is always recognized and always welcome. Incidentally, the Dutch card also shows Black Peter, whose job it is to assist St. Nick in distributing toys to boys and girls. Santa comes in many different colored coats like brown, green, white, and blue. And it seems that a signed artist like Clapsaddle or O'Neill or a well known publisher like Winsch only increases the collectibility.
There are perhaps as many postcard collecting categories as there are subjects one can think of. I collected angels for a while like these Christmas angels. When I came upon this bride card, I wanted to collect bride postcards, but could never find another one to equal it. Other interests were skaters, elves, dogs, still life, cattle, horses, farming, and wildlife. It took me a long time to discover the name Mela Kohler on this art deco card.
Here are a handful of other postcards that have caught my eye. An ad for Ben Hur from Sears Roebuck, a young Canadian raising his flag, a couple spooning on the moon, a mechanical guitar player, a fireman, and an interesting picture whose surface is modified to simulate an actual painting.
Even the back of the card can be interesting to the postcard collector. Other than those that are of obvious interest to philatelists, like this 1908 Red Cross Christmas stamp, you might find an interesting design like this one that came from Jamestown, N.Y. Here's another one we can attribute to Billings, Montana. And if you've ever wondered where Barr's Post Card News got the illustration for their logo, here it is along with one of its companions.
I used to buy every postcard that was for sale until prices started going up so rapidly that I couldn't afford it anymore. That forced me to specialize. At that time I was a pilot for a commuter airline so I began specializing in airline postcards. As a result, my auction of airline postcards has been the unequaled standard for many years.
Thanks for visiting. It's been a pleasure to show you some of the cards I love.
by Larry Myers
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