Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fortune Teller Postcard, copright 1910 - Real or Repro?

This is a neat early 20th century postcard (I think).  I have to explain the I think part.  

I've seen other examples of this exact card for sale, but they were reproductions.   One card was printed in Hong Kong, another had info on the back indicating it was printed in 1989, and they were both 4 X 6 inches, or continental size.

It's not uncommon for old postcard to be reproduced at a later date - and usually there's no big secret about it.  Repros are usually larger than the original, usually look wildly out of place with modern times, and usually have information on the back (a zip code, area code in a phone number, a URL, a date etc) which tells you it's not an original. Frequently it'll even have the word "reproduction" on the back somewhere.  But in case it doesn't, an early 20th century postcard will not have publisher info with a zip code, and it is very unlikely to have been printed in China, it's not going to be continental size and so on.   Also, it is very unlikely that some one will have multiple copies of a really neat (and possibly rare) early 20th century card for sale.  That's a red flag for me. 

There's nothing wrong with selling a reproduction, as long as the seller is up front about it.  The other sellers who had this card did not hide the fact that they were selling a reproduction of an early 20th century card, so that's cool.  And it  leads me to question the copy of the card I have, especially since I've seen no other instances of this card claiming to be original. 

As far as I can tell, which means I don't have any evidence otherwise, the "Fortune Teller" postcard I have is original.  It is standard size (about 3.5 x 5.5 inches) there is a copyright date of 1910 in the lower left corner, the stamp box and everything else on the reverse looks correct.  Though I suppose I could be fooled, the printing on it does not have the look of the later "chromes".  There is no dates, publishing information or anything esle on the card to indicate it was a reproduction of an earlier postcard.  At least nothing I can tell. 

So, I'm calling it original.  For the most part I only sell original postcards, and I try to be careful about making sure they are originals.  I remember listing a couple of WW II era military aircraft postcards that had web addresses on the back, so they were reproductions, but I made that obvious in the title & listing.  But it is not routine (in other words almost never) for me to list a reproduction postcard.  As a rule, I don't like them, so I won't list them.

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