July 26, 2021

Clarissa Ferraris

Postcards and Coronavirus

Postcards have always reflected the events of the times. Initially, they were the essential images for small accidents and large events alike. There was no TV or social media in the early 1900s to supply images of what happened. In addition, many artists have used the postcard as a medium to show their ideas or thoughts about things around them. This pandemic is no exception!  The Spanish flu of 1918 left us with postcards which show hospitals and nurses and doctors at work. These new cards will do the same.

This recent pandemic is not much different. Postcards are ready to be found. Times have changed and most of the new artist postcards do well to interpret the Coronavirus mood. There don’t seem to be pictures of hospital wards or live photographs of street scenes, with one exception from the United Kingdom. This illustrates the changing landscape of today’s information sharing: street scenes are on TV and social media but not on postcards.

New cards have appeared from eleven different countries including the United States and the present count is 180 different ones. Some are in a series (more than two cards) and some are single. There are still more to be found!

Here are some of the most charming and interesting.

The set about fashion is a set from Italy by Karen Antorveza. What else from Italy!  Here are two shown from a series of nine postcards for keeping your distance.

The monkeys with masks summarize some of the ideas about Covid; this postcard is from France designed by Pierre Oriol entitled “Portrait de Virus” [Virus portrait].

Patrick Hamm is a very well-known artist from France who designs postcards for fairs, clubs, and political events. He published the one shown here which illustrates our sentiments during this year: kick the Coronavirus down the road!

The words translate to “Stop. Get-out!” uttered by a properly masked soccer player.

From India, the Covid postcards all have a special cancellation. The one that may be most appealing shows a diversified crowd with masks.

… from Russia by Irina Zeniuk

From a series of four by Carolyn Draws

From an American set of five by Erica of Rogue Ranch

This design by Lisa Quon is a wink to past pandemics when the masks were in the form of a beak. The beak design allowed the wearer to place a perfumed handkerchief inside the beak to overwhelm the stench of the dying.

She also warns us about future pandemics, with her caption “I’ll come around … eventually”!

These last two are looks to the past and to the future. The beginning and the end of the pandemic. The beginning was by transmission from animals to humans. Molly Brown (USA) designed two postcards one for bats and this one of a pangolin.

The caption on the back states, “Pangolins are the likely transmitters of Covid from Bats to Humans.” Her style is outstanding.

The end of the pandemic is through vaccination. Christy Miller (USA) designed a series of four postcards to send to friends to let them know her vaccination status!

It is fun to search for these postcards, they are not expensive and you travel the world without leaving home.

*   *   *

My main sources of these Covid cards were Delcampe.net, EBay.com and Etsy.com.

At Etsy the designer is selling directly to you, and you can communicate with them about their inspiration. There is a caveat on postcards from Etsy: some have a plain white back. So, perhaps they are not technically postcards, but if I like the design, I mail the “card” to myself and transform “it” into a postcard.

Other sources of information are European magazines: Picture Postcard Collecting (UK), Cartes Postales Magazine (France), and La Gazette (France). Over the last year, they published either advertisements by designers of postcards or there were very well documented articles on the topic. Special thanks to Mark Routh (UK) and John Scarrott (France) who pointed me in the right direction to find these postcards.

Comments welcome!

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But there are also sellers right there on Etsy, YorksLittleArtStudio for example, who sell postcard rubber stamps so you can easily make your blank back cards into postcards. I am always careful to buy acid-free ink for my projects.

Thank you very much for the information.. I order it!!

Interesting variety of approaches to COVID. If I could have just one of these cards, it would be the one with the pangolin.

You can still get that postcard on Etsy.com. you could also get its companion the bat!!

Lantern Press, a company in Seattle, Washington, has a series of Covid-19 cards.

Could you provide me with the link to the postcard series? I look at their website and it seems that you would need to order a lot of them. They also do not show Covid designs. Thanks

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