There’s a collectible postcard for every expression
Postcard collectors often say that we collect whatever strikes our fancy. “Ummm . . . I’ll know it when I see it,” is a phrase often heard at postcard shows.
Every once in a while, I see a face that brings a particular character trait to life for me. A clear word springs to mind, and the postcard image personifies that trait. When I hear the word, I see the face. And when I meet a real person with that particular characteristic, a small ghost of the face on the postcard shimmers on the fringes of my consciousness.
When I find a postcard with such a face, I just have to have it. It doesn’t matter whether the card is domestic or foreign, new or old, in excellent or poor condition — it just grabs me and won’t let go.
So here, for your enjoyment, are some samples from my “faces” collection:
Joyful: This little girl always makes me smile. I can take this postcard out of the box on a really rotten day, and it never fails to make me grin. I’m guessing she’s a girl from her flower earrings, but I can’t be sure—and it really doesn’t matter. She makes me want to jump for joy and giggle with delight, and my heart swells with happiness when I look at this face.
From Cartes d’Art of Paris, Serie: Les Enfants du Monde Entier (Children of the World),#4. A modern, continental-size postcard; you might just find this little one smiling up at you from a dealer’s bargain box, priced at $1 or less.
This real photo postcard image from Hoa Qui, Vietnam is titled “Vieil Homme” (Old Man) and is the work of photographer Raymond Cauchetier. Cauchetier, born in 1920, took up photography when he was an air force press officer in Saigon, Vietnam. He went on to have a prestigious career in cinema photography. Look for images like this under Foreign—Real Photo—Asia, and you might find them in the $7 to $10 range.
From the series Coutumes, Moeurs et Costumes Bretons
(Customs, Manners and Costumes of Brittany), postcards
like this pre-1920 item can generally be found in the $6 to $8 range.
From Art Unlimited, Amsterdam. Manoocher Deghati, 1993, World Press Photo Holland Foundation, titled “Egyptian woman with a T.V.” It’s a continental-size modern postcard, found in a dealer’s bargain box for 50¢.
Real photo postcard with AZO stamp box; triangles pointed
up indicates circa 1904 to 1918. This unidentified “instant ancestor”
could be found in an auction or at a postcard show for about $2 to $3.
From Series No. 228C, published by C.W. Faulkner & Co, London. A longtime publisher of games, books, postcards and other items involving lithography, this company produced the signed artist postcards of Louis Wain (famous for cats) and World War I propagand cards. This postcard, circa 1910 to 1915, was kept in a slotted album,judging by the marks on its corners, and would probably retail for under $3.Perhaps someone else found this face as much of a bright spot in the day as I do!
Standard size chrome postcard, published by Mike Roberts,
#C30998, circa 1960s. I would expect to find postcards like
this in the Indians category for $1 to $3.
Wistful: There is something a bit melancholy about this small child’s expression. It’s as though he’s longing for something—perhaps something he sees. Can’t you almost see into his little mind and heart, wishful and pensive? His striking eyes and full cheeks make me want to pick him up and give him a hug.
A modern, continental-size postcard from Roark Johnson Photography, you might find this card in the Children category for $1 to $2. Roark Johnson is a contemporary portrait and commercial photographer in Chicago.
Funny: Our appearance and our expressions often turn our faces into masks. We try to hide our annoyance at the small irritations of life; we attempt to laugh at everyone’s jokes and look pleasant even when we face aggravations at work or at home. This last postcard beautifully illustrates just how true that is. This fellow, among the masks, is just another face in the crowd.
From Art Unlimited, Amsterdam, Flo Fox, 1984, “A face in the crowd.” Modern, continental-size postcard, generally selling
for $1 to $2.