Published: August 29, 2006
Intense widespread interest generated record prices at Jackson’s International’s postcard, photography, coin and ephemera auction, which took place on August 1 and 2. Forty-one states and eight countries representing 658 registered bidders competed for the 1,400 cataloged lots with total sales of $801,700.
The auction consisted primarily of four collections, including specimens from the archives of Curt Teich Publishing Co.; the H. Danny Danielson collection of real photo postcards, St Louis, Mo.; selections from the Jack Davis collection, Bozeman, Mont.; and the inventory of Matrix Gallery Picture Postcards, Long Island, N.Y.
Perhaps some of the most eagerly awaited items to be offered were the linen color postcards from the archives of Curt Teich Publishing Co., 1898–1978. In 1982, the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Ill., became the repository for the archives of the Curt Teich publishing company, once the world’s largest producer of advertising postcards and views. The offered specimens consisted of duplicate examples from the archives of linen postcards from the period 1930–1950.
Linen postcards were first produced in the late 1930s when access to quality European printing was restricted due to high tariffs and, later, because of the war. They continued to be produced in large numbers through the 1950s. They are typically printed on heavy paper with a crosshatch line pattern on the face of the card, giving them the look and feel of fabric or linen. Together with a textured like surface, they are easily recognizable by their vivid colors and shadowless, airbrushed appearance.
Some notable sales of individual linen postcards from this auction include a Curt Teich Publishing advertising postcard depicting a “Santa Claus” snow dome that sold to a collector from Kansas City for $793. A similar card advertising a “Little Mammy” snow dome sold to a New York collector for $440.
Groups of linen cards arranged by subject also sold well, including a lot that consisted of five linen postcards advertising Norfolk Paint by means of black parody that sold for $1,880 against a presale estimate of $150/250.
One well-established trend that was corroborated at this auction was the continuing popularity of real photo postcards. This is an area that apparently has no end in sight due to the crossover appeal to collectors of Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century American photo images. Some highlights of individual real photo postcard sales include an example depicting a Soda Car displaying signs for Vin Fiz and Coca Cola that sold to a collector from Michigan for $822. A real photo postcard presumably depicting a barber with various accoutrements and curiosities sold to a California collector for $646.
Group lots of real photo postcards also did exceedingly well. For example, a group of four relating to the burning of African American Will James in November of 1909 sold for $3,055. A group of 33 depicting cowgirls sold for $1,762.
The second session opened with a small offering of original watercolor illustrations by Samuel L. Schmucker (American, 1879–1921), an illustration artist working under contract for Detroit Publishing Company, publisher of color postcards from about 1900 to 1930. These one-of-a-kind paintings are the actual artwork from which the postcards were reproduced. The first painting offered was a highly decorative image of a nude and satyrs, measuring 24 by 15 inches, circa 1900; it sold to a collector from Florida for $12,925. The other Schmucker watercolor illustrations each measured 8 by 5 inches and represented a variety of different series. “Autumn” from the “Childhood” series sold for $5,170. A “Pick-a-Ninny” from the “Little Miss Nations” series sold for $4,465. “Swann” from the “Water Birds” series sold for $4,230, and “Sea Horse” from the “Mermaids Lovers” series sold for $3,995.
Halloween cards sold next. This is an area that continues to see strong upward movement, particularly on good Winsch, Clapsaddle, Whitney and Schmucker examples. Some highlights from this category include a single Winsch Halloween card with a costumed child perched in a tree with owls that sold for $1,000. Another Winsch with a Schmucker illustration sold for $851
Christmas postcards followed Halloween cards and saw a strong resurgence in better examples. Of particular interest at present seem to be the Hold-To-Light examples, so called because they are designed with certain areas (windows, lamps, letters) cut out and backed in translucent colored paper, which when held up to a light give an illuminating effect. A few examples from the Christmas category include a Mailick die cut Hold-To-Light Santa that sold to a California buyer for $1,057. A Hold-To-Light Santa wearing a blue suit sold for $998. A Hold-To-Light Santa carrying dolls sold for $940, and a Hold-To-Light Santa driving a toy filled car did $763.
Other notable postcard sales include a pair of Raphael Kirchner die cut Hold-To-Light silhouette cards of women sold for $2,291. A set of 12 Alphonse Mucha months of the year did $2,232, while a pair of Vin Fiz soft drink advertising postcards sold to a buyer from New York for $3,055. A group of 18 Carpathia and Titanic postcards did $2,350.
The sale ended with a small offering of vintage photo images, coins and stamps. Some highlights from those categories include a whole plate Union Case “Washington Crossing the Delaware” that sold to a buyer from Atlanta for $3,055. A cracked whole plate ambrotype of Niagara Falls by Platt Babbit brought $1,527.
The sale concluded with coins and stamps, including a VF 1893-S Morgan silver dollar that sold for $8,225. A group lot of 377 mixed Morgan dollars sold for $7,637 (slightly more than 20 times face value). A group lot of 354 mixed dates Peace dollars sold for $3,877, and a lot of 100 Franklin half dollars sold for $2,115. Notable stamp sales included a hoard of mostly post-1970 mint sheets that sold for $15,275. A large lot of US postage stamps consisting of four albums plus letters and first day covers sold for $6,345, and 20 binders of miscellaneous US stamps finished at $2,585.
Prices reported include buyer’s premium. For information, www.jacksonsauction.com or 800-665-6743.
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