Monday, December 26, 2011

1950s Car Comic - 18 Miles Per Gallon

This is a standard/chrome postcard that just screams 1950s - though there is no date on it.  It touches a bit on relationships, and the abilities of automobiles at the time.  This one has run out of gas, and the caption is the wife complaining about her husband insisting the car would get 18 MPG. The husband is in the distance running off to find some gas, while the wife waits in the car reading a book.   This postcard is also artist signed - "Frye".

In the 1950s, 18 MPG for most cars in the USA would have been considered pretty good.  Maybe even better than pretty good - gas was cheap and mileage was not usually a consideration.  I got my first car in the 1970s (it was used, from 1966) and it only got 16 miles per gallon in the best of conditions, and I thought that was pretty ok.

When I was living in Germany, I tried to play a little mind game:  I'd try to figure out kilometers per liter and convert that to miles per gallon.  It's not easy. Gasoline was much more expensive in Germany, and cars, as a rule, were smaller and more fuel efficient, but I could never quite figure out my "mileage" to my satisfaction. Eventually I got to the point where I just accepted the liters and kilometers for what they were, and quit worrying about miles and gallons.

So, for those of you who may not be familiar with USA's version of the Imperial System of Measurements, 18 miles to the gallon is terrible mileage by today's standards, at least for a normal family car.  That was not the case when this postcard was created.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Only Enough Gas - WW II rationing - Linen Comic Postcard

This is a linen comic Curt Teich postcard.  It is circa 1942 (per the serial number in lower right), so that means it is World War II era.

It took me awhile to realize what this postcard was about.  It's a comic, but yet I didn't really see any humor in it, and comics usually make at least an attempt to be humorous.  But after some thought I realized that people in 1942 may have smiled at this - not because it was funny, but because it was so real.

The man in the car is pointing at his gas gauge, which is almost on empty, and basically complaining that he needs more gasoline, but the attendant refuses to sell him anymore, even though the gauge on the pump seems to indicate there's plenty to sell.  In WWII gasoline was rationed, and you could only buy so much in a given period of time.  I'm pretty sure that's what this card is about.

Just a little social history.

Update: Sold!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Bullens Family of Massachusetts.

This is part of the Bullens family, late of Boston & Newton, Massachusetts., and sometimes of Buffalo & Rochester, New York.

We've listed 9 old photographs (CDVs, Cabinets & other Antique photos) of various members of this family.  I have 3 pictures of Mary Bullens, spanning at least 20 years.  There are pictures of Mary Bullens as a child, as a young woman dated1881, and another dated 1891.  We also listed a picture of Charlotte Bullens as a young woman (undated), a cabinet photo of Kingsley Bullens as a baby, and one of a very debonair Albert Bullens, undated, but we know is 1896 or later because of the photographer information.

We also listed a photo of the Bullens family lot at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass. - it has steps leading up to it with the "Bullens" family name.

Oh the whole, this seems to be a family of some means, probably not in league with the Vanderbilts, but significantly better off than most.

The picture above has some handwritten information on back:  O. L. Bullens, Rochester, NY, Oct 26, '83.  So if the date is correct, this photo is 128 years old.   I believe, but no way can I prove, that the younger woman sitting in front is Mary Bullens, and I think the woman in the very back is Charlotte Bullens.  I cannot be sure about that.   I have no idea which one is "O.L. Bullens",  and I don't see anyone I can identify as Albert.

128 years ago a group of family members gathered out on some rear steps of a house and had their picture taken.  Mary (or whoever) moved, her face is slightly blurred.  Judging by the everyone is wearing, it was quite a formal society.   I believe Charlotte was buried in the family area at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in 1933, meaning she lived about 50 years after this picture was taken.

Anyway, we've listed 9 pretty nice photos of this family in our store, all ID'd & most dated.

Dec 17th:  After staring at the back of the picture for awhile, I've realized that "O.L. Bullens" may really be "C. L. Bullens", which would indicate Charlotte.  Handwriting can be tricky sometimes.

Update:  Sold!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This is a linen postcard advertising Krieg Brothers Chevrolet, out on US Highway 79 in Thrall, Texas.  Thrall is a small town 35 miles or so north of Austin.  If you'd like a little history of Thrall (including a present day view of Krieg Bros Chevrolet), you can check out this site:

Linen cards were made from around 1930 to 1952, and I'd say this card is from near the end of that era, probably early 1950s.  I like that it advertises a specific business in a specific place, something that people around there remember.  I don't know the whole history of the business, but I'm pretty sure it not longer exists.  You look at a business like this, the impressive building, the activity, the people employed, customers coming and going and you think it'll be around forever.  Nope.

Also what is neat about this card is its condition.  This is a card which is at least 60 years old, and it still has sharp corners, bright colors, no damage or marks that I can see.  I'm extremely cautious about saying a card is in mint condition, but this one is close.  It is in much better condition than most cards from that era.

If you're interested in going to the listing for it just go to our eBay site and search for Thrall - you'll find it.
Update: Sold!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Snapshot of Gisela, a little girl playing with a doll, Germany 1928

This is a snapshot of a little holding a doll in her lap.  There is writing on the back in German: "Gisela im September 1928 auf unserer Veranda".  To me it looks like she's sitting on an apartment balcony, so I translate this as "Gisela, September 192, on our balcony".  There is another building in the background.

This is a neat little photo (and I do mean little - a shade less than 2.5 x 3.5 inches), and the writing on back just makes it more interesting.  A little girl sitting side ways in a chair, with bows in her pig-tails, wearing a dress and knee socks, holding a good sized doll & doll sized umbrella, looks up and smiles for a quick photo.  An instant in time, gone forever.

When I looked at this picture, before I even looked at the writing on back, I immediately thought "European", and I'm not sure why.  I lived quite a while in central Europe, and there was just something that was familiar, can't really put my finger on it.

The writing on back is in German, and the date is 1928, so this little girl - though I'm positive she had no clue - was in for some hard times.  WWII would start in 1939, so she'd be in her late teens or early 20s, and no matter what her situation in life, things were going to be hard at best, very possibly life threatening.  This is like a picture of the calm before the storm.   Actually the calm between two very large storms.

Since this is dated 1928, I'd say she was born somewhere between 1918 & 1920 - which means if she survived WWII, she could still be alive.  She'd be very old, in her 90s.

Update:  Sold!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An RPPC of St. Anthony's Catholic Church and Noviciate, Angola, Indiana

This is a Real Picture Postcard (RPPC) of St. Anthony's Catholic Church and Noviciate in Angola, Indiana. 

Postcards like this get me to thinking about what an RPPC really is.  Most postcards start off as photographs, after all, so why are some RPPCs and others aren't?   Its a good question and sometimes it almost falls into the "you know it when you see it" category.  That's very unsatisfactory though.  After all, there are lots of postcard views of things such as this that are not RPPCs.

I used to think that RPPCs were not massed produced, but then you get into the definition of mass produced.  Many RPPCs are picture of people that were just included in a set made by a studio, and these are definitely almost one of a kind.  Some are nothing more than snapshots that people took and had printed on postcard paper (I like those, btw), and they are obviously not massed produced.  Others, like this one, are not studio produced, but are quite professionally done, complete with the caption in white on the front (scratched on the negative, I think).  I don't know how many copies of this postcard were produced but it was most likely quite a few.

One thing that guides me in a case like this is the manufacturer's logo in the stamp box.  Certain of these logos are associated with RPPCs - one of the most common is AZO, but EKC and many others are also common.  You can use these logos to date the postcards (or a least get a date range).  So to me, if it has the look of an RPPC and it has a stamp box logo I know is associated with an RPPC - then it's an RPPC.

This one has an "EKC" stamp box on back, dating it to somewhere between 1930 & 1950.  It's a nice stark black and white photograph which documents a scene 60 to 80 years old.  I have no idea if it's still there.

I have this postcard listed on eBay - if you're interested in it click here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kansas City, MO. 50 years ago (from 1916)

This is an early 20th postcard showing "Kansas City 50 Years Ago".   It's almost certainly Kansas City, Missouri & not Kansas City, Kansas across the river.  I'm not 100% positive about that - I've only driven thru the cities on I-64 & that was a long time ago, and at least once it was as night.  But I'll bet anything it's Missouri. 

There is no indication of the actual date of the view in this postcard, but you can tell just by looking it was a while ago.  The city looks like a small to mid-sized town mostly crowded next to the water, and there are open fields behind it, and steamboats on the river in front of it.  I can tell just by looking at the front of the card that is early 20th century, made earlier than 1918 most likely.  But the biggest clue is that it has a postmark on back - it was mailed from Kansas City, MO. to Ipswich, South Dakota on April 9, 1916.  (To a Mr. Vick Olson, to be exact). So this card can be dated to 1916 at the latest, and probably a year or two earlier than that.   It's a divided back card, so I know it was created in 1907 or later.  So what we're looking at is an early 20th century rendition of a painting of the Kansas City skyline somewhere between the very late 1850s to mid 1860s.   In the 1860s, this would have been a major population center for that part of the country.

I get all giddy about stuff like this, can't help it. It's just cool.

I have this listed on eBay - if you want to go to the listing, click here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tintype Men & Women, Umbrellas, Cigars, Canes, Hats & a bag

This is a tintype photo of two women & two men, though in reality I'm pretty sure no tin is involved.  But it is a photograph printed on a piece of metal.  Tintypes and similar photographic processes were very popular from the 1850s till near the end of the 19th century.  There is a lot to know about tintypes - plate sizes for one thing.  The size of this one I think makes it a 1/6th plate, which I suppose means a full plate is 6 times as large. But 1/6th & 1/16th size seem to be the most common sizes of tintypes.  I'm no expert, don't quote me on anything.

I like this picture, it has a ton of detail.  Everybody's dressed kind of formally - perhaps a 19th century Sunday afternoon at the boardwalk.  Both men are wearing the same kind of hat, the one on the left has a cigar in his had, the one on the right appears to be resting his hand on top of a cane.   The women are wearing very long dresses, large hats with feathers/flowers, both are holding umbrellas (for the sun, not the rain), and there appears to be a bag of some kind of the floor next to the woman on the left.
My opinion is that this was not a planned photograph, where they made an appointment and so on.  I think they just walked in, and it was taken and developed in a hurry.  The backdrop of the photographer's studio is hung kind of carelessly, and everybody looks a little slanted.  I don't think the photographer took a lot of time with this photograph.   I've cropped the picture a bit, the actual tintype has uneven edges and is rounded on the top corners - it looks like it was trimmed hastily.  I think these people were just out for some late 19th century fun in the sun and ducked into a little studio to have their picture made.  It's pretty cool.

I have this listed in the eBay store, you can find it here, if you wish.  At least for awhile.

Update:  Sold!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cabinet Photo Native American Indian

This is a beautiful photograph of a Native American Indian.  His hair, face & clothing are very intricate and detailed.   This photograph is mounted on cardboard, with a photographer's printed name of Ellsworth Marks,  Clinton, Missouri.  The only problem is, this photo is almost certainly a reproduction.

This got me to thinking about what exactly is a reproduction, and how do you tell?  I'm certainly no expert, so these are very good questions for me.  And Cabinet Photos of American Indians seem to be prime reproduction material.  The originals are very expensive.

To me, a photo is original if it it is printed (in a non-digital manner) from the original negative.  So the original negative may be from the 1890s or so - if someone had that and took it to a dark room and printed the picture out yesterday, even on modern photographic paper, I would consider that original.  I suspect it would not be as valuable or collectible as something printed out in the 1890s with the technology & paper of the 1890s, but it would not be a reproduction. 

To me, a reproduction is a picture of a picture, whether that second picture was made with an old 35mm camera, or scanned into a computer.  Also if someone scanned an image of the negative into a computer then used photo shop to create a photo, that is obviously a reproduction. 

Someone went to the trouble to very carefully and skillfully mount this photograph on cardboard backing with photographer's information on it. It looks for all the world like a 19th century cabinet photo.If it was an original cabinet photo, a person may reasonably expect to receive hundreds of dollars for it - or more, depending.   But I've seen a lot of pictures like this (not this particular one, but cabinets of American Indians), and they're almost always considered reproductions.   The interesting thing is though, the people who say they are reproductions almost never say how they know that, so I'm left in the dark.

I'm familiar enough with late 19th century photographs to know that they are not black and white.  They are frequently very subtle shades of browns and grays, which are very hard to reproduce accurately in my eBay listings .  If a photo has a classic black and white look to it then it probably does not date from the 19th century. 

I also know that if a picture is printed off a computer, at some level you can see the pixels. Sometimes you can see it with the naked eye, sometimes you need a some magnification.  This one was definitely not printed from a computer.

Also, late 19th century photos are printed on very thin paper - this paper is not really thin, it looks to be a later vintage.  Maybe that's it, maybe that's how they tell, I'm not sure.

If I accept the fact that this is a repro, then at some point in the past someone used cardboard backing from Ellsworth Marks photography studio in Clinton, Missouri, and very skillfully mounted this photo on it, with an intent to deceive.   Maybe it was old Ellsworth himself, or maybe someone who came into possession of these items at a later time.  I don't know.  And I have no idea where the picture would have come from - did he get it from someone else?  Did he cut it out of a magazine (not likely).

This is probably a repro, if I am to believe stuff people say about photos like this.  Photos that are really too good to be true.  I just wish the people who seem so certain about these things would be a bit more open about how they know for sure. 

Even though this is most likely a reproduction, it is beautiful.  Chances are someone would like to have it.  I've scheduled it and others for sale in the eBay store, starting at about 10 PM tonight.  I'll be listing others throughout the week.

Update:  Sold!  (this one was a safe bet)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

1960s Holiday Inn Advertising Postcard

This is a standard/chrome postcard advertising the Holiday Inn motel chain.  From the looks of the cars and so on I'd say it's from the 1960s.

Postcards advertising hotels, motels, restaurants and other places of business are very common, and postcards advertising Holiday Inns are as common as dirt.  But I like this one - it is very subliminal, which I suppose is a goal of a lot of advertising.

In this card there is an airplane, cars (one looks like a mid-60s Ford Fairlane, but I could be wrong), a Gulf gasoline station, a bunch of happy, good looking, decent, hard working white people kicking up their heels around a swimming pool, and even a trashcan to get rid of anything used, unhealthy or unpleasant.  The marketing people thought of everything.  The trashcan was a stroke of genius, no question about it.

The whole thing exudes safety, convenience, happiness and a natural destination for those traveling by plane or auto, a good place for families.   I suppose if you're traveling by Greyhound bus, you were out of luck.

If you'd like to check out my eBay listing for this card click here - the link is only good for a month tho.

Update:  Sold!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Snapshot of a Mom and Little Boy, with Rifle.

This is the reason I like snapshots - you just never know when you're going to run across something like this.   Just a typical suburban scene in America, a mom with her rifle toting diaper clad little boy.  Though I'm not positive, I believe this photo is 1960s or so.

I'm sure it's a toy rifle, and I'm sure everything about the photo is innocent.   But still, it's an interesting change of scene from most snapshots, which consist of people standing somewhere looking like they wished they were somewhere else.

Its a small photo, about 3 x 4 inches.  The resolution on it is not great either, in fact it's within an inch of being out of focus. This was far from being a professional photograph.

If you wish to look a the eBay listing, go here

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hello Ora, Where Are You - 1909 postcard

This is a strange postcard from the first decade of the 20th century.  It is a picture of clothing - looks to me like a skirt or dress draped over a chair and men's clothing of some sort hanging on a really neat coat hanger.  I originally thought it was a pair of pants, but heck I don't know.  Behind all that is a door with rather ornate handles.  Its a very simple drawing, as drawings go, but on the other hand it tells a story.

This card was postmarked Berne, Indiana, February 8, 1909.   It is addressed to Miss Ora Click of Berne (RR3 to be exact).  The message is printed and simply says "Hello Ora, where are you?"

That is possibly a very deep question, or maybe not.  I thought about it awhile, and decided to stop.  The physics of it is a bit more than I want to deal with.

At any rate, this little postcard is very interesting on a very subtle level.  The image, combined with the message leads me to believe that something was going on here, between Miss Ora Click of Berne, Indiana and whoever authored that question. 

Update: Sold!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Patriarchs Militant Parade Uniform

This is a circa 1880s-1890s cabinet photo of a man all duded up in his IOOF Patriarch's Militant Parade Uniform. 

When we first saw this photo we thought it was Knights Templar - a year earlier we had come across several parts of an actual Knights Templar uniform from the 1930s, and this looked very similar.  Another eBay user corrected us though, and was very specific on how this uniform was different than the Knight's Templar.  We did some further research and learned what a Patriarch Militant was, and some of the ranks and such. 

This brings up something I learned very early on in my "selling" career.  People who buy collectibles frequently know a lot more about the item than the seller does. 

Over the years we've learned a little about a lot of stuff.  We've concentrated on postcards & photos, and over time have educated ourselves in the different types, printing technologies & eras.  We've learned a lot about the physical properties and types of photographs.  We've gotten so we can distinguish 1860s fashion and hair styles from 1880s fashion and hair styles, but there are many people around who are much more knowledgeable about this than we are.  Sometimes they let us know. 

This is a neat, neat photo from the late 19th century. 

Update:  Sold! (finally)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Antique Photo Factory Workshop Man & Woman Workers Barrels Boxes Early 1900s

This is an antique photo of two people, a man & woman, in some kind of workshop.   No one wrote anything on this picture to identify the people or its age - we believe it is very early 20th century.  It is mounted on a larger cardboard backing & is a little faded.

There is some sort of light above the table, but I'm not convinced that it is electric.  The items on the floor near a table and a barrel look like nuts & bolts to me, but it could be anything.  It has an ornate, probably tin, ceiling.

I've gone over this picture with a magnifying glass looking for anything like tools or advertising I could identify.  Some of the items on the shelves have writing, but I could not read it.

I like pictures like this because of all the details in it - details no one gave a thought about.  This one is full of wooden barrels, boxes, shelves with cans on them, stuff piled on the floor, and on and on.  I have no idea what kind of work went on there, but it captures a fraction of a second of two people's lives.  Two people who are long gone, but who look quite healthy here.

Update:  Sold!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Detroit Publishing Postcard of Wallace Way & Fitchburg High School, Fitchburg, Massachusetts

This card was produced by Detroit Publishing, and I've always felt the "Detroit" cards were kind of special. 

Detroit Publishing started in the later part of the 19th century as Detroit Photographic Co., then changed their name to Detroit Publishing in 1905.   I believe they went out of business in 1924.   Detroit Photographic (later Publishing) apparently received the right to use a process called "Photochrome" in North America.  This was a process developed by a company in Zurich & it was used for coloring black and white photography.  I think.  On later "Detroit" cards they call the process "Phostint", and say they're the only one who use it.

This process is what makes these cards a bit special.  The color & image is sharper and more detailed than other cards, and they have a look to them I can recognize immediately.  All things being equal, I'll charge a little more for a "Detroit" card than I will for others.  They are better quality.

Detroit Publishing subjects are pretty much anything - this one is a High School in Fitchburg, Mass.  There are a lot of scenic cards, a lot of urban scenes and so on.  And like all postcards from this era, they document things and a way of living that no longer exist.  There are still many to be had, and they are relatively inexpensive.

I can estimate the age of this card within a couple of years - it is 104 to 106 years old.  Its an undivided back card - after 1907 the back of the cards were divided for an address & message.  Also the caption (which you can't see in the photo posted here) says "Detroit Publishing".  I know that name wasn't used until 1905, so this card was created in 1905 or 1906, perhaps early 1907 at the latest. 

I have no idea if the scene it captured still exists - my guess is that it doesn't. 

Update:  Sold!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Victorian Trade Card - Lauching an Egg

This is a Victorian Trade Card, probably from the 1880s.  These cards were used as advertisments for businesses, and I believe were given out free to customers.  Many people collected them, pasted them into scrapbooks and such, and over time I suppose had a very eclectic set of small pictures.  Taken as a whole they are very good documentation of 19th century fashion, social history & values.  Maybe.  

Frequently the illustrations had nothing to do with the business they were used to advertise.  Printing on he back of this one advertises J. Henrich & Co, Teas, Coffees & Spices, 503 N. Third Ave., New York, which has nothing to do with a couple of miniature toga wearing children setting a large egg shell afloat.  But it's interesting just the same.

Also, its quite possible this same picture was used to advertise a completely different business - I've seen examples of that along the way.  This was a time when any kind of truth in advertising laws did not exist, and not only did completely different businesses use the same pictures to advertise their product, they also made pretty much any claim about it they could think up.  Lots of snake oil out there in the 19th century world.

Update:  Sold!

Monday, September 5, 2011

CBS Columbia Square Hollywood California Standard/Chrome Postcard

This is a standard/chrome postcard of the CBS building in Columbia Square, Hollywood, California.  Radio station KNX studios were there.

What I like about this postcard are the three cars - the solid green one and the two 2-tones.   I'm not up on my automotive history so I can't really say what year, make or model these are, but they scream late 1950s.  Back when cars were made of steel, back when they didn't have seat belts or a thousand other saftey systems we take for granted today, back when if you hit something while driving there was a good chance somebody was going to die. 

These three cars were everyday vehicles, nothing special about them, anybody who had a job and wanted one could buy one.  They were big, solid, powerful machines, with V8 engines and lots of horsepower.  They just don't make them like this anymore.

I digress.  I don't know the exact date of this card, but I assume it's from the late 1950s, because of the type of card it is & the way the cars look.   In the original card, the colors are a bit sharper than what I have displayed here.  It is very hard to get everything exact, no matter if you use a scanner, or like me, a digital camera and a light box.  In the original, the sky is a dark rich blue, and I can't reproduce that without putting everything else out of whack.  It's the limitation of digital photography, my freeware photo editing software and my abilities, but I do the best I can.

Update: Sold!

Friday, September 2, 2011

CDV of a Young Woman in Neu-Strelitz Germany

This is a CDV photo of a young woman, taken by H. A. Krull in Neu-Strelitz, Germany.   What I find interesting about this is the hat she is wearing.  In our eBay listing we called it a "Santa Claus" hat, but I'm sure it's not.  It has a fringe with some sort of plume behind it, and they are probably white.  The cap is a dark color, but which dark color is anybody's guess.   She is also wearing a long necklace, perhaps with a locket, earrings, and a ring on her right hand.

Neu-Strelitz is north of Berlin.

On the back of this card is photographer information and a couple of medallions.  Photographers, especailly European photographers, would frequently include copies of awards they had won on the backing of the photograph.  One of the medallions on this one has a date of 1863.

If this were an American CDV, I'd estimate it from the 1880s, just by the physical characteristics of the photo and the backing.   It's possible this is from the 1880s also, but since it's from Europe I can't be positive.  It may be earlier.  But I think 1880s would be a good estimate.  No matter what - it's old.

Update: Sold!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

RPPC of a Sports Team - Probably Basketball, circa 1920s

This is a Real Picture Postcard (RPPC) of what is probably a college sports team of some sort.  We're not 100% sure what kind of team it is, but we think it's basketball.  

There is no messages or other writing to indicate who these people were, so we're left to wonder.

There are several ways to date an RPPC, the most obvious one being if it has a postmark or if someone wrote a date on it.  This has neither.  Another way is by clothing, and the "coach" is wearing a suit with a white shirt that has a high rounded stiff looking collar, with a tie.  That seems to date it into the 1920s.  The stamp box is another indication - different companies used different paper and they tended to turn the stamp box into their logo.  You can get an idea of how old an RPPC is by that logo.  The stamp box on this one dates the card from 1918-1930 or so.  So 1920s is a pretty good guess.

So 85 to 90 years ago a group of now anonymous young men on what was probably a college sports team posed for a team picture, and through the randomness and vagaries of life, we ended up with it.  Stuff like this never ceases to amaze me.

The postcard is not in the best shape in the world, but it's still an interesting picture.

Update: Sold!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Byron Harmon Real Picture Postcard (RPPC) of Bow Lake, Alberta, Canada

This is an RPPC by Byron Harmon of Bow Lake, in Alberta, Canada.  I believe it is in Banff National Park, and I think it is early 20th century.  It is black & white, showing a teepee, the lake, mountains and clouds.  The actual card looks much nicer than what I could reproduce here.  I've seen color cards (probably linen) based on this view.

Byron Harmon was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1876 and died in 1942.  He spent much of his life photographing the Canadian Rockies around Banff.  I've had other RPPCs of his photos, and they all are very high quality.  Much, much better photography than you find on your average postcard.

This was a mass produced RPPC, and there is a caption in white identifying the location a Bow Lake - its hard to read on the actual card, and pretty impossible to read on the reproduction here.  I believe these captions were made by scratching them on the negative. 

Anyway I like this RPPC - the image has a rather stark Ansel Adams quality to it.

Update:  Sold!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Charles M. Russell's Favorite Horse Red Bird - Art Postcard

This is an art postcard by Charles M. Russell (1864-1926).  The postcard is copyrighted 1952, I'm not sure when the original art was created.  The back of the postcard contains a short biography of the artist.

Charles Russell captured 19th & early 20th century cowboy & western themes in his art.  Sometimes his subjects are humorous, sometimes brutal or dangerous.   I like this card because it's a very realistic & detailed drawing of a horse - Red Bird. 

We've listed several of Russell's "Cowboy Art" cards this week in our eBay store, and still have a few more to go.  They are very nice cards.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Frederick Gutekunst Cabinet Photo of a Man with Thick Muttonchops

This is a cabinet photo of a man with a polka-dot tie, a plaid suit and thick mutton-chops, probably from the 1880s.  Very stylish for the time, I suppose.  He has the look of an office worker of some sort, but his occupation is anyone's guess.

The photo was taken by "Gutekunst, 715 Arch Street, Philadelphia", or at least in his studio.   Frederick Gutekunst lived from 1831 to 1917, and became a famous and popular photographer in Philadelphia, beginning in the 1850s.

We've had this cabinet card for quite awhile, and it's actually been some time since I've looked at it, but I remember it struck me as being a very "sharp" high quality picture.
Update: Sold!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dirigible Flying Over Lower Manhattan Linen Postcard

This is a linen postcard showing the lower Manhattan Skyline in New York City.  What I find interesting is the dirigible flying overhead.  There are lots of Manhattan Skyline postcards out there, from all eras, but not so many with dirigibles in them, and that makes this card kind of neat.

This card has the look of a white border (about 1918-32), but when you look closely, and tilt it a little, you see the ridges, so it's a linen card (about 1932-52).  I wonder if this was printed from an image originally used on white border cards.  I've seen old linens reprinted on chromes before, so it's possible a white border could be reprinted on a linen. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

45 Star Embossed USA Flag, 1906 Postcard

One of eBay's categories for postcards on the USA site is "patriotic", and this certainly fits in that category.  This is a standard/sized postcard of a 45 star American Flag, postmarked in Boston, Massachusetts in 1906.  The waves in the flag are embossed, giving it both physical and visual depth.  This card also has an undivided back, meaning it was created at a time only the address (no messages) were allowed on back.  The back of this one has the postmark and an address, but no other information.  No indication of who sent it.

There is a very faded poem written above the flag, and some other information written at the bottom of the card.

It was sent to an address in Greenland, New Hampshire.  There's still a post office there, I looked it up.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Castle San Angelo in Rome - Antique Postcard

This is an old postcard of the Castle San Angelo in Rome.   It is an undivided back card, which mean it was made in the very early years of the 20th century - probably before 1905.  This is an Italian card - all the captions and other information printed on it is in Italian, except for one French translation telling you that this is indeed, an Italian postcard.

I'm pretty sure the caption translates "Rome - Bridge and Castle San Angelo".  I've actually been there, and it still looks very much like this picture, except it's in color.

This structure was originally built about 1900 years ago as a tomb for Emperors of Rome, and was later fortified and used as a safe haven for Popes.  Its not far from St. Peters, and I believe there is a tunnel leading from the Vatican to the Castle.  When it was built, I'm pretty sure they didn't call it Castle San Angelo. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ketchikan, Alaska, Eagle & Raven Totems Postcard

This is a standard/chrome postcard showing a couple of totems from Ketchikan, Alaska.  The back of the postcard says these are eagle & raven totems, and that's about all I know about it.

There is an address of the manufacturer on back, in the format of "Berkeley 2, Calif.".  This type of address was used pre-zip code days, from about 1943 to early 1963.  I can tell just by looking at the card that it was most likely made in the 1950s or later.  The card is probably over 50 years old.

Update: Sold!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Political Comic Postcard - Carter, Nixon, Regan, Brown, Kennedy & Jolly Beans!

This is a standard/chrome postcard gently poking fun at some major political figures of the time.  It's copyright 1982 (making it one of the more recent standard/chromes), and is signed (again signed, not autographed) by Art Strader, who apparently did a series of these.

Ronald Regan was president at the time, and he had a well known fondness for jelly beans - hence the bean theme.  Jimmy Carter & Richard Nixon are the "Has Beans", Regan is the "Jolly Beans", and Ted Kennedy and I think (but not sure) Jerry Brown are the "Would Beans". 

I haven't seen cards like this very often, and I think it's interesting. 

I wonder why Gerald Ford wasn't in the group?  And is that really Jerry Brown?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zen Buddhist Priest Statue

This is a postcard of a 13th wooden statue of a Zen Buddhist priest, from the Japanese Kamakura period, an era which I know nothing about.  In fact my knowledge of Japanese art & culture is not great, period, but I can appreciate what is obviously a beautiful work of art.

This card was published by the Pennsylvania Museum & School of Industrial Art, and I assume it was originally sold in a gift shop.  

I don't know the age of the postcard, but I suspect it is Pre-WWII.  It is divided back, and there's no real clue from the stamp box. 

I like art cards.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cabinet Photo Circa 1880s-1890s of an Indian Warrior

This looks like a person I would not want to tangle with out on the high plains in the late 19th century.   Even though this is a studio portrait, the fierceness and a complete ability to handle himself on horseback comes through.  Personally, I think this is a magnificent picture.

There is information below the image.  "Loves Horses" and some other words I can't decipher are handwritten.  The photographer information is printed below.  This particular photographer "A. Bogardus" had offices in New York City - we've sold photos by him before, but nothing like this.   Actually it looks like the photographers were Sherman & McHugh, successors to Bogardus.  Bogardus was a lot better known, I think.

We have several American Indian photos up for auction currently, and what we've found while researching is that frequently these photographers (or their agents, or perhaps free lancers) would head west, stay there sometimes for years,  take tons of pictures, bring them back east and sell them. So that's why you see these posed pictures for photographers working out of of New York City, Chicago, or West Superior, Wisconsin.

Although we don't claim to be experts, this looks to be an authentic period photograph.  By authentic I mean it's not a photograph of a photograph.  It's not a new reprint.  The mounting looks right, although it appears someone has trimmed to top at some point in the past (a very common occurrence).  If perchance it is a reprint, I'm pretty sure it's a 19th century reprint.

This is a "Cabinet Photo".  Cabinets were popular in the late 19th century, from about the 1870s on.  Typically it consists of an albumen print affixed to a 4 x 6 inch (give or take) cardboard backing.  The photo t is usually a bit smaller than the cardboard, of course.  Frequently the age of a photo can be estimated by the graphics on the cardboard - as time went along and printing techniques changed and improved, graphics, especially on back, got much more elaborate.  On the earlier cards the printing was much plainer.

This is a bit smaller than the standard Cabinet Photo - the whole thing measures 3.5 x 5 inches, or just a shade smaller than a standard sized postcard. The top has definitely been trimmed & it's possible the sides have too. 

I always worry about authenticity with items like this, but I see nothing about it that would cause me to think it was anything other than a 19th century photograph.  I like this one quite a bit.

Update:  This one sold!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Racey Helps - The Astonished Angler

This is an artist signed standard/chrome postcard by Racey Helps.  Racey Helps was a children's author & illustrator, and there are many beautiful postcards of his work, featuring animals in all sorts of situations.  This one is called "The Astonished Angler" - apparently a mouse has gone fishing and accidently caught a frog.

This piece of art was done under the auspices of the Medici Society in London, which till exists.

I'm not sure of the age, but Racey Helps died in 1970 or so, making this postcard from the 1960s at the latest.  I like it.

Update: Sold!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Antique Photo of a Young Woman with Wire Rim Glasses

There's probably no real reason I should like this photo, but for some reason I'm drawn to it.  I think it's the expression, more than anything. Her head is slightly tilted, and she has a "get this over with and let me get out of here" kind of look.  She's dressed nicely, lots of bows and lace, with a very high collar.  She's also wearing wire rimmed glasses, which is interesting.  She could have taken them off and no one, especially now, would know the difference.  I'm glad she didn't, because for me it adds another element to the photo.  It makes her seem more human.  I've always found this photo intriguing, wondering what was on her mind.

There is no date information on the photo, but I'm pretty sure it's in the 1890-1910 time frame.   She looks to be in her early 20's, which would mean she was born somewhere between the late 1860s to late 1880s, give or take.  If she were born in the later end of that spectrum, she could have lived well into the 2nd half of the 20th century.  She would have lived to an age where her grandchildren and great-grandchildren (perhaps even her children) would have trouble believing she was ever young, strong, in good health & dressed stylishly.   

The photographer's name was Ingalls, and he worked at Knowlton's Studio in Farmington Maine. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Snapshot Men on Motorcycles, Summer of 1938

This is a small snapshot of 4 men and their bikes. On the back someone has handwritten "Summer of 1938".   The two bikes on the right appear to be Harley Knuckleheads (either '37 or '38) - you can see the roll bars on them.  The one on the extreme left may also be a Harley, but the one right next to it is probably something else. 

The photo has lots of creasing, but it's still an interesting image.  Old time Harleys in the field, raising a ruckus no doubt.

Update:  Sold!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just a quick word on comments - specifically mine.

Ever since I started this blog way back on May 22, I've had a couple of issues, probably related.  1st, it never seems to realize I'm signed in.  2nd, I have extreme difficulties responding to comments.  It's gotten to the point that I'm just going to respond to comments with a separate post for now.  Sigh.

So Christine H. thanks for your comment on the Sammelwerk post.  I think they're interesting little pictures.  I tried to reply to your comment, but it just won't let me. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sammelwerk Nr. 9 - A wedding in Augsburg


This is the front and back of a very small picture, and I'm really not sure how to categorize it, eBay wise.  

They are German, and are all "Sammelwerk Nr. 9".  Sammelwerk is a collective work, and if I'm reading the German correctly on back there are 300 of these in 5 groups (34 thru 38).   I believe these are miniatures from selected artists, and that they all appear in a book somewhere, but I might just be making that up.  A bit of wishful translation thinking.

Anyway. These are all 2.75 x 3.25 inches, so they're rather small.  Most are signed, (not autographed, big difference) but I cannot read the signature.  Almost all of them have paper missing on the back - they appear to have been glued into a scrapbook at some point.  The only thing that changes on the back printing wise, are the picture number, the title, it's group, and the broad time period in which the scene takes place.  Everything else on the back is the same for all of them.

They all depict scenes of daily life in Germany over a period of 5 centuries.  We have about 30 of the 300, and eventually they'll all get listed.  

Its just we're not really sure what category to put them in.  They could be considered trade cards, but they are not from the Victorian era, they're newer.  But I honestly don't know how new or how old.  And everything's in German, and though I know a smattering of German and I have access to online translators, translations can still become an issue.   On this particular one, the title is Burgertrauung in Augsburg.  Well I'm pretty sure Trauung is a wedding, and I think Burger has to do with cities, so is this a civil wedding ceremony?  Not sure.  The translator didn't help me out much.  Augsburg is a city near and dear to my heart, btw, not too far from Munich. 

So these are neat, but something new for us.  New things are always weird.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Little Girl, Big Dog - Early 20th Century Postcard

For some reason people seem to like little girls with big dogs.  I can't blame them, I partial to the dogs, myself.  Just ask Pickles.

There is a whole series of these cards, and I have a couple of them.  Some of them have the same dog & girl, others are different.  But the background and scene are the same.

I've noticed that postcard publishers do that.  You'll see the exact same pictures in different formats sometimes.  Sometimes you'll see the same picture but with a different caption.  I think I have a postcard which somehow placed the Rocky Mountains in Kansas.  

This is a pretty postcard, early 20th century, divided back.  On the back the word "post card" is printed in about 20 different languages.

Not sure what kind of dog it is, but it's pretty good size.

Update:  Sold!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Comic Linen Postcard - Love Thy Neighbor

This is a comic linen postcard, probably from the 1930s, perhaps early 1940s.  It was published by CurtTeich-Chicago, very big in postcard circles.  It depicts a couple of travelers at a campground.  It is also part of a series of 10 cards, though I have no idea what the other 9 cards are.

Linen postcards were popular from around 1932 to 1952 or so.  The cards get their name because they were made from ragstock, and you can see & feel the ridges in them.   Sometimes these cards have borders (like the previous generation white border postcards), and sometimes the ink bleeds all the way to the edges.  However the white border postcards have a smooth surface and linen cards do not.  Also, the colors on linen cards are generally brighter and more garish than earlier cards (and the later chromes for that matter). Subjects were pretty much anything you can think of, including comics.

Comics were drawn, sometimes even signed by the artist.  They frequently pushed the limits of risque-ness allowed during the era (you could buy these in any drugstore, after all).  Some barely hinted at it, and some did a lot more than hint. A few might have some strong social commentary.  Lots lampooned husbands & wives.  And some just had Scottish Terriers saying "Hoot Mon" to each other. 

Update:  Sold!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Snapshot - Summer of 1934, Interesting Clothes

This is a snapshot taken in the summer of 1934, probably with an inexpensive camera.  It is about 3.5 x 5 inches, but someone trimmed the edges at some point.  There is more information about the person - his name, and the fact that he died at some point - on the back.  There is no information about the location or why he's dressed this way.

People buy snapshots for lots of reasons.  Sometimes it's the fashion, sometimes it's an interesting location, lots of times it because of what I call "accidental art".  Most of the people who took snapshots were (and are) amateurs with cheap cameras who want nothing more than a remembrance of something.  Sometimes what they come up with is very interesting.

Well this one is quirky, sort of.  A man is standing on some steps leading to what is probably a very nice house, perhaps a clubhouse, leaning back on a railing, and wearing a rather unusual outfit.  (Men don't usually wear outfits, but I'll make an exception here).   The over all impression is that he's a person of above average means. 

We've had this photo listed for quite a while, with no takers.  But it's a little odd & things like this tend to catch someones eye eventually.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Don Keys Motel - Coal Grove, Ohio

This postcard is about as typical as they get.  It is a standard/chrome postcard of the Don Keys Motel in Coal Grove, Ohio.  Standard refers to the size, about 3.5 x 5.5 inches, and chrome refers to the photography method. The photos on these cards were typically made with Kodachrome or Ektachrome 35mm film.  I've seen standard/chromes as early as 1939, but they typically range from the 1950s to the early 1980s in the USA.

There is a message on the back of this card.  It is a thank you note signed by Don Keys himself, sent to some recent customers from Minnesota. It doubles nicely as a bit of motel advertisement.  It is postmarked in Ironton, Ohio (just across the river from Ashland, Kentucky) and dated Dec 3, 1969.

I checked online (for a couple of mins) and could find no evidece that this motel still exists. If it does they don't seem to have a website.  If anyone knows for sure, let me know.

Update: Sold!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

CDV Photo of Two Men, Chester County, Pennsylvania - 1860's

This is a CDV (Carte de viste) photo of two men sitting in chairs.  It was taken by an A. McCormick, of Oxford, Chester County, Pennsylvania.  I can date this to the 1860s for a couple of reasons, but mainly because there is a green George Washington 3 cent tax stamp on back.  I believe this particular stamp dates this photo to 1864.

CDVs are small, usually about 2.5 x 4 inches, usually with an albumen print affixed to a cardboard backing.  They were popular from the 1850s to the 1880s at least.  The thickness and look of the cardboard, plus the styles of the graphics advertising the photographer also give clues to the date.   If you're expert enough, you may also be able to tell by clothing or hair styles - of course people aren't always current with the latest fashions, especially older people.  Sometimes people are nice and write names and dates on it, but usually not.  And sometimes it has a tax stamp.

I like this CDV because it has two men in it, they have interesting mustaches and beards, the hats seem a little unusual, and they're wearing long coats, they both have on what looks like the same kinds of boots, and of course, the tax stamp on back.  And the actual picture looks nicer than what I could reproduce.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Swedish Easter Witches - Hildur Soderberg

This is a fun postcard from Sweden.  Glad Pask! = Happy Easter, and those are witches flying airplanes over a city.  Apparently Easter Witches are a part of Swedish folklore.

This card was signed by Hildur Soderberg, and I believe he did a series of these.  This is the only one I have, but I'm sure I've seen others.

I'm not exactly sure of the dating on this card, but it looks early 20th century - pre-1918 - to me.  There is a message on back (in Swedish I think), and it is addressed, but it was never mailed.

Update:  This one sold!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lincoln Avenue in Carbondale, PA - 1909

This is a postcard showing a view of Lincoln Avenue in Carbondale, Pa.  It was sent to an address in Remington, Indiana, and postmarked in Carbondale in 1909.   It was published by the Rotograph Co., "N.Y. City", and printed in Germany.

Many pre-WWI cards were printed in Germany, and frequently have very nice colors and sharp details.  The quality of printing declined after WWI started.

This old card just shows a pleasant street - but if you look closely you'll see a large animal, probably a horse.  It most likely is pulling a cart of some sort.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Catholic Cardinal by Alfred Weber

This postcard is of a drawing by Alfred Weber (1862-1922), who drew Cardinals engaged in non-religious, everyday activities.  It's from the early part of the 20th century.