How will your antiques research pay off?

This week we publish the second installment of Esther H.M. Power’s research into the postcard giant, the Kraemer Art Co. This company is responsible for producing a long line of souvenir postcards and private mailing cards in the first half of the 20th century. Kraemer cards are found from each of the generally accepted post card eras: Private Mailing Card Era (1898-1901); Undivided Back Era (1901-1907); Divided Back Era (1907-1915); White Border Era (1915-1930); and Linen Era (1930-1945).

When explaining her research, Power said she was familiar with the Kraemer Company because of her postcard-collecting hobby. However, she took it upon herself to find some clarity in the discrepancies she had been told about the history of the company. A retiree, Power devoted the time to an area she believed would benefit not only her but all postcard fans.

Her research is impressive and is a wonderful example of a collector taking their interest to the next level.

Never before has there been more outlets of information available for collectors to research their hobbies. In Power’s case, she used some electronic resources, however most of it came through good old-fashioned shoe leather research in libraries, museums and through historical societies.

This type of research constantly changes our view of the areas we collect. In some cases it can change our view of history as well.

A researcher poring over documents stored in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania recently discovered an early draft of the U.S. Constitution. Researcher Lorianne Updike Toler was the first to put two seemingly disparate documents together to reveal a complete draft. She made the connection while examining papers by James Wilson, an architect of the Constitution. The papers are part of the society’s trove of 21 million documents.

At age 30, Toler is a lawyer and founding president of the Constitutional Sources Project (, a nonprofit organization, based in Washington, D.C., that promotes an understanding of and access to U.S. Constitution documents.

Powers and Toler are examples of the riches we enjoy when people devote the time and effort to researching their passion. Perhaps their progress will get more Antique Trader readers motivated to research their own corners of the collecting world.

In fact, please consider this a call-out for our readers to submit their research to the magazine. We will gladly publish your work in a special section in a future issue for everyone to share and enjoy.

Best of luck and who knows, you may just stumble across a national treasure.

Eric Bradley