Dating Dexter Press Postcards
Thomas Dexter opened a print shop in Park Ridge, New Jersey in 1920. When that original location proved too small in 1928, the business moved to Pearl River, New York.
In the 1930s, Dexter was printing linen cards and some hand-colored ones. In more recent times, most of us know Dexter Press for its natural color postcards that came from his plant in West Nyack, New York after 1952.
I purchased the Dexter Press archives and geographical location file in the 1980s as they were going out of business. Since then, I have sold Dexter cards at shows, eBay, and other auction sites. In 2019, I got serious about selling them on eBay to individuals. The cards range in age from the 1950s to the1980s.
There are more than one million Dexter Press postcards in my inventory and for a long time, I have had an interest in documenting the publishing dates of these cards. Now is the time to get them out there to folks who have memories of the great places and times depicted.
Dexter Press cards come in many sizes including the standard 3½ x 5½ inches and the continental 4 x 6 inches. Many of the advertising, hotel, and restaurant cards are 5½ x 7 inches and giant advertising cards are 6 x 9 inches.
Over several years I developed the chart below to date most Dexter postcards. The card number is on the back in either the lower left corner or the upper right corner near the stamp box. Some 1950s cards may have the number in the lower center of the address side.
As I went through the cards, I found many that had publishing dates in the lower left corner and began documenting these dates in a table with the Dexter Press numbers.
The content of the photos and types of cardstocks used also helped with dating. Those from the 1950s were printed on heavier cardstock, have a flatter finish, and many are marked with the Dextone Printing Process statement. Dextone paper was marked with Kodachrome & Ansco Color by Dexter Press, Pearl River, New York.
Dexter cards printed from 1950 to 1957 are numbered sequentially
Around 1960, Dexter changed its process to the high gloss finishes for which chromes are now known. I am still sorting through cards which are in boxes by the Dexter Press inventory numbers. It will take several more years to get through them all.
00001 to 99999 with no letter following
1950-1951 #00001-39999 with no letter following
1957 5 digit number with an A following
1964 #70000-B to 99999-Bs
1965 #0-C to 9999-C
1968 #30000-Cs to 49999-C (still looking for more data)
1971-74 #70000-C to 99999-C
1975-1983 #00001-D to 99999-D
Data on the – D and – E cards will be available in the future. Watch this space for updates and expansion and improvement of this chart.
This is incredibly helpful, and has allowed me to assign solid dates to a number of cards in the museum where I work. Many thanks!
Same here. I just came across a Dexter Press, Inc postcard that I was adding to our collection with no date and this allowed me to get it to an exact year! Thank you!
Do you have a phone numbet available to make an inquiry ?
This article will help me appreciate my Dexter Press cards more the next time I get to work on my collection.
Very Helpful! ~ Wolfs Vintage Postcards
Great aid for dating Dexter cards. Thanks so much for researching and publishing this information.
Can’t thank you enough!
I’ve come across one that says “When you gotta GO you gotta GO! Only number is on the bottom right hand side of the photo, says DC 26. Any thoughts on when it was made? It was made in Pearl River.
1951 – #40000-59999 It think this may need adjusting. I have a card (44982) postmarked April 1950 suggesting an earlier date than above. I have also noticed some difference in dates depending on the backing type.
I have a card #60069- c that also has the number 70 in the stamp box. This correlates on the chart to 1970. Is that a correct correlation?
Hi, i have a postcard coded 70336-B that shows Times Square at night. This would relate my postcard to the year 1964. However, within my postcard there is a sign saying “vote for Wagner”. Wagner was presented for 3 elections and the last one being 1961 which would make this statement not work. Im very confused
Could be as simple as using a 3-year old photo in 1964 instead of taking a brand new one?
I have a 1967 Frank Robinson post card. Just tore out my basement and found it in the wall. Looks a little cruddy but if anyone on this forum wants it, I am happy to mail it so it can have some use with collectors.
Very helpful information. Thank you for sharing! I have Dexter Press postcard from 1959. The number on the back is 27076-B, but it also has D.P.59 printed on the front.
I have a Dexter Press card, Colorado with the # 6010-B. Trying to figure out the year.
Dexter with a picture of Hawaiian orchids not sure of the number it says Honolulu Hawaii 96814. An under the postal it has 15X-DT-47061-C
Dexter Honolulu Hawaii
As a youngster in the 50’s, I collected Indy 500 GIant Post Cards, most of which bear the Dexter Press imprint. I have 38 of these that I collected over a 7 year period. Do you still have any of these in your treasure trove?. The first thing to do at Indy every year was rush to the drug store post card rack and buy all the new jumbo cards.
Is there a way to track down the postcards that were photographed by Joseph “George” Abramson of “Marba Photos “?
I have a Dexter depicting three soldiers and “The 60mm Trench Mortar” with the number 108. The photo is by US Army Signal Corps. It is marked “Silvercraft” and is from Pearl River. Any idea on age or what the details are in relation to your article? Great resource, thank you!
I have Pearl River cards from series 49000-60000 dating from c.1950-1953. Bahamas Philately: Dexter Press Inc – The Digital Philatelist
Thanks so much for this! My Uncle sent me some postcards that my granddad had they were written on that someone worked at the place in the postcards and I was able to find out they were from 1956-57 thanks to you! Still not sure who the postcards belonged to originally but it helps narrow it down.
I lived in Nyack and had one postcard printed by them years ago- 1975 or so. I find it interesting that Google searches often will show a place as in Nyack when actually it’s just that it was printed by Dexter Press! Haha!
This is incredible!! Make a book of the images! Wow!
I was a Dexter distributor in the 70’s & 80’s of both advertising postcards & brochures and tourist postcards for the Canadian division of Dexter. Their printing plant was located in Cornwall, Ontario. I also did the photography. I still have a stock of Ontario tourist postcards if anyone is interested in purchasing some of them. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among the archives did you receive the original photographic negatives? The post-WWII era is so underrepresented with photo documentation. Those negatives, with modern engagement and enhancement would be a treasure trove of information.