A blog about my photos, my artwork, quotations, ideas, collections, passions, England, authors, handwork of all kinds, rusty bits, buffalo, and architectural detail...for starters. And the occasional rant.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Few Postcards

Not too long after my first trip to England, while still totally infatuated, I went to a large antique show.  Walking down one aisle I noticed boxes full of postcards and a tab labeled “Yorkshire” caught my eye.  I took the cards out of the section and discovered one of Staithes, a small coastal village which had been one of our more enjoyable overnight stops.  (Someday I’ll tell you the story about the Staithes horse breaking wind…maybe)  I looked up at the dealer and said “I spent a night there.”  She replied that she had spent several years just a few miles from there and we were off on what has become a fairly typical conversation for me…Where did you go? What was your favorite village, museum, inn, building, shop, garden, etc?

Staithes, Yorkshire

In a moment of inspiration, I thought it would be fun to collect an antique postcard from all the places in England where we had spent a night.  After all, we were only talking about maybe 20 cards and they seemed to be quite reasonably priced.  Thousands of postcards later…..

So let me tell you about deltiologists (postcard collectors).  Most of us come to the hobby as a result of working a family tree, working a stamp collection, or documenting a hometown, hobby, or favorite vacation.  It is hard for us in this time of cell phones and the WORLD WIDE web to imagine that postcards were the means of everyday communication for most of the English speaking world in the early 1900’s.  Some places in England had 6 mail deliveries a day and you could send an invitation to dinner that same night and get a response before it was time to put the potatoes on to boil.  As a result, there are millions of postcards out there to sort through and more surface in grandmother’s attic every day.  I am pleased to have the 1914 postcard that was sent from my great aunt to my grandfather (back on the farm with his three boys) telling him that he was finally the father of a newborn baby girl – my mother.

The advent of modestly priced cameras allowed anyone to take pictures of grandma on the front porch or dad’s prized mule team and have them printed direct onto real photo postcards….more millions of cards.  And then the blossoming wealth of Americans in the fifties and sixties meant world travel - all documented by postcards…millions of them.

Cards can be purchased from 10 cents for a typical chrome view from the fifties to thousands of dollars for beautifully printed, pristine cards by well known artists of the day or real photo cards from defunct far east nations.  There is truly something for every interest, bank account, or perversion.  Yeah, there are plenty of ‘those’ postcards too.  If you collect postcards, it is not long before you have thousands.  I make no apologies.

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