Collector Spotlight: Six degrees of postcards

eiffel tower postcardJohn Guare’s concept of “Six Degrees of Separation” confounds me. Using the principles of such a theory, I should be able to make connections with each person I mention on this page, but I can’t and I wish I could. Most of us like to tell of our encounters with famous people.  I, for example, once shook hands with President Jimmy Carter, but beyond that encounter, I am unable to be much of a name dropper. However, if the sands of time could flow backwards a few people I would love to meet are Rachael Robinson Elmer, Pierre Trapier, Elizabeth O’Neill Verner, Manuel Wielandt, Henri Cassiers, and dozens of others. Who are these people? They are artists whose work appears on postcards in my collection.

1 La Tour Eiffel, Paris by Georges Laforge

2 Sphinx, near Cairo, Egypt by J. JaronékSphinx postcard

I’m not sure if I should call myself a postcard collector or an art collector. 

My collection is about 90 percent artist-drawn cards, therefore, I find myself in the enviable position of owning some of the world’s most beautiful art. It’s just that my versions are only 3 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches.

Bayeux postcard 3 Chemins de fer of Bayeux, France by Jean-Baptiste André

In addition to being a collector, I am also the editor of two postcard club newsletters. I beg my fellow club members to lend me cards to research – I have always enjoyed research because the information you find most interesting is completed through the guilt-free process called RDPM: reading dead people’s mail. Often the story isn’t much, but throughout the years I have devoted most of my spare time to this process, and truthfully, I wouldn’t change a minute.

When you collect postcards you meet wonderful and interesting people. Dealers are fun to know because most are willing to help you expand your collection. Fellow collectors are just as much fun because you learn from their experience, and if you’re lucky enough to find a collector who is fascinated with the same cards you like there is an immediate camaraderie.

The most fun however comes far outside the six degrees of separation, when you learn the name and life-story of the person who created the art on your postcard. Washington Arch postcardI have researched dozens of them, maybe hundreds, and my favorite few are represented by the illustrations herewith.

I offer my help to anyone seeking information about their postcards. Contact me at

4 Washington Square Arch, New York City, NY, by Arthur Hass

S S Paris postcard7 S.S. Paris (French Line – Paquebot) by A. J. Leon