In 1906, there was a trade publication that came out every month or two that was sent to people to encourage them to sell postcards. The covers say “Appealing to the Stationery, Art & Souvenir Novelty Dealers.” You could buy the issues for ten cents or subscribe for $1 a year. The advertising in this publication gives us some insight into what certain novelty postcards were called at the time of issue. It confirms some of the biggest publishers of postcards during that era by the size of their ads.
Bamforth & Co of New York had full page ads, as did Raphael Tuck & Sons and Franz Huld of New York. A full page ad by Schornstein & Stern of New York laid claim to the biggest hit of the Season with Feather Bird cards which were said to be the biggest profit maker in post cards. The bird cards had 73 different images from this one publisher, all in beautiful colors the same as birds in nature. The assortment consisted of parrots, swallows, ostrich, stork, eagle, ibis, chickens, geese, pheasants, peacocks, canary, owl, swan, and butterflies to name a few. They were to retail for 25 cents (much more than the penny most cost) and wholesaled at 7 cents each.
Another ad from the Souvenir Pillow Top Company is for leather post cards and featured more than 100 designs. This ad said “Art Ticking 18 by 18 inches with 15 catchy designs and sayings, representing postcards laced together, burnt leather effect. Big seller, very attractive. $2.60 per dozen.” They sold leather postcard purses and “Bootie” post card purses. The bootie purse was $9 per gross (144 items) the Juliette purse was $18 per gross or $1.50 a dozen. Ahhh to be able to step back in time.
The Ullman Manufacturing company ad featured the “Just Published” series of Sunbonnets including the Mottos, Months of Year, Nursery Rhymes, Little Coons and Senses. Besides postcards the advertising included interesting postcard display racks. By the way, for those who care, post card is always used as two words in this 1906 publication.
The editorial was about the importance of selling quality merchandise and to overlook the offer to sell cheap goods. It mentioned that gifted artists designed great cards that were being copied and printed in a cheap manner to sell for five for one cent instead of the penny each. But, it is pointed out that while you may make money quickly soon your customers will recognize the poor quality for what it is and refuse to buy from your store. By selling high quality the editorial goes on, it will foster the postcard trade and make it a permanent industry. Real photographic postcards retailed at 5 cents.
The editor advised cigar store dealers to move their postcard stock to the front of the store during the summer months when traveling clients were very liberal buyers of souvenir post cards. “So widespread has the fad become that practically every smoker has friends who are interested in collecting souvenir post cards,” says the publication.
Elsewhere, the publication talked about the increased sales during the summer and pointed out that in Springfield, Mass., in the summer post card mailings exceeded 5,000 cards a day and a vast many more when conventions were in town where the attendees would send as many as 10-15 post cards a day each.
An interesting fact about post card in the undivided back era (prior to 1907) was pointed out in this 1906 publication. It says, “Postcards can go through the mail with a one cent stamp, provided there is no writing on the addressed side other than the address. If there is writing other than the address then a two cent stamp is required.”
In spite of how many times this had been explained to the public, there were still cards held in the local post office each week until extra for postage was paid. Perhaps this is why it was finally changed in 1907, to allow writing on the address side.
Examine the ads presented here and learn more about the collector’s items of today from advertising of the past.
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