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Abundance of ‘The Lost Chord’ postcard impacts price

"The Last Chord" series of postcards, from Bamforth and Company, is the product of inspiration from an early 20th century song by the same name, according to an assessment by Ask the Experts panelist Dr. Anthony J. Cavo.

Q I read your articles in Antique Trader and am writing to find out if four postcards (in our family for probably 100-plus years) have any monetary value. I hope they are valuable as I would want to sell them. I thank you very much and hope your information is favorable.
Yours truly,
— R.F
Churchville, Pa.

The Lost Chord Postcard Rich in History

A Your postcards are from Bamforth and Company (1870 to 1990), Holmfirth, England circa 1908 through the 1910s.

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James Bamforth was a genius in terms of the visual/media arts. He began his career during the 1880s as a photographer and quickly began to produce glass slides for magic lanterns. The people in many of his slides were family and friends whom he photographed against a variety of painted backdrops; these were often accompanied by lyrics to popular songs with moral themes. Although Bamforth & Company are most widely known for their postcards (many of which were adapted from their glass slides), the company also made more than 130 films beginning in 1898. They're creation of the invention of film editing dates to early 1899.

There were a couple of Lost Chord series in the Bamforth Life Series postcard line. Bamforth is the producerof various postcard lines including unique themes (temperance, morality, religion, faith). However, they are widely the source for their risqué seaside postcards, beginning back in 1910.

Poem Influences Postcard

The poem, The Lost Chord, was written by Adelaide Anne Procter in 1858. The music was written in 1877 by Arthur Sullivan; reportedly at the bedside of his seriously ill brother who died in 1882. This was an immensely popular song and the inspiration for The Lost Chord postcard series, which bears the lyrics. Because of this popularity, these postcards were produced in massive quantities and are readily available on most internet vending sites at very little cost.

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Age alone does not dictate value. In recent issues of the Antique Trader, our subscribers have read articles about expensive postcards such as the rare Chinese Emperor postcard and the Schmucker Butterfly Girls series. These are valuable due to rarity, as in the case of the Chinese cards, and the artist, as seen in the Butterfly Girls. I would like to tell you that your set is valuable; however, a set of four postcards in The Lost Chord series in very good to excellent condition can sell in the $16 to $24 range. 

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