Postcards depicting all types of scenes were at the height of popularity during the late 1800s. Postcards were a primary means of sending greetings to friends and relatives, particularly for holidays. The golden age of communication, as this era was called, ended by the 1920s.

The Victorians in the late 1880s had transformed the original Celtic holiday of All Souls Eve into a romanticized family fun celebration. This change is reflected in the postcards of the day. Adorable smiling chubby children sit atop Jack-o-lanterns portrayed with cute smiling faces providing them with a personality and sense of having human characteristics.

Black cats that in earlier times were associated with witchcraft were depicted in postcards at the turn of the century as sweet cuddly creatures. They were shown being held by smiling children. Even the witch was given a new identity as an attractive smiling female expressing messages of love.

Another popular superstition of the era shows up in romantic Halloween cards by showing a young lady looking into a mirror at the stroke of midnight to see the face of her future husband. In other cards she is pictured in front of a large mirror while looking into a hand mirror to view the image of her future husband. Light for her to see is provided by a jack-o-lantern.

Prominent Illustrators

Grace Drayton, the creator of large eyed, chubby cheeks Campbell’s Kids used similar depiction of wide-eyed children with chubby cheeks and smiling faces to illustrate Halloween postcards for the Raphael Tuck and Sons printing company.

Ellen Clapsaddle was another illustrator for Raphael Tuck and Sons. Her work was also produced by Wolf Publishing Company, a company she created herself. Clapsaddle was one of the most prolific illustrators, completing approximately 2000 postcards. Her illustrations of children are distinct in that they feature colorful sweet looking children and youth.

Jason Freixas was a Canadian illustrator who published through Winsch, a New York company that published their cards in Germany. The postcards by Freixas are rare. However, the characteristic checkered borders surrounding round-faced children make them easy to identify.

Building a Collection

Select images to which you are drawn; some cards will call your name. For some, that will mean collecting cards with black cats, romantic sayings, or pretty witches. Collections can be built upon collecting the work of one or two illustrators. You may decide to specialize in postcards that are signed by the illustrator, or that were printed during a particular time period. Whatever factors you determine will guide your collection need not limit your collection should you find a card that meets none of your criteria but speaks to you none-the-less.

It is generally recommended to purchase the best condition card within your budget. Avoid cards with stray marks, missing or folded corners, creases, discoloration, damage from liquid spillage.

Dating Postcards

1898-1901- Postcards published during these years have the inscription “Private Mailing Card”. The inscription makes cards from this era extremely easy to identify.

1901-1907-Cards from this era have undivided backs, which permitted the sender to provide the address of the intended recipient. The message to the recipient had to be written on the picture side of the card. The inscription “Post Card” is also seen on the backs of cards from this era.

1907-1915-March 1, 2017 marks the official beginning of the era of the divided back postcard. This allowed for the address and message to be placed on the back, leaving the picture clear of writing. Additionally, the picture fills the entire front of the card; there are no borders to postcards of this era.

By yanam49

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