All of it started within the mid-Nineteen Seventies once I was 5 or 6 years previous. After visiting my grandma and grandpa, enjoying with their poodle, and exploring their previous home, I used to be taken down the road begrudgingly to hold with my great-grandmother. To my younger eyes, she seemed over 100 years previous and sort of scared me. Aside from raiding her bread field for strawberry wafer cookies, it was not a superb time—THAT IS till the day she broke out a basket stuffed together with her personal greeting playing cards from a long time previous. Every go to after that, I sat on her lap, and we poured over the identical playing cards from the final go to as in the event that they had been model new. I by no means forgot the attractive graphics and the way excited I used to be every time she learn the inscriptions to me.
AND SO, IT BEGAN
Quick ahead twenty years. My great-grandmother had way back handed, and my curiosity in classic greeting playing cards grew dormant, to say the least. Within the late Nineties, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a showbiz profession and located myself attending weekly flea markets within the better SoCal space. It was at these sunny bazaars that I discovered a stack of previous greeting playing cards from the Nineteen Forties and Nineteen Fifties. I used to be immediately hooked, shopping for a handful to peruse at residence. All of it got here again to me. The great classic graphics that entranced me as a toddler nonetheless struck me. They had been actually little artworks drawn in decade-distinctive types.
By the early 2000s, I had found eBay, which fed the greeting card beast in methods nothing else had. Quickly, I had a whole bunch of playing cards. I used to be compelled to whittle down the subject material to my most desired artwork: mermaids/sea life, poodles, pixies, mid-century ladies in fancy dress, Hawaiian/tiki, bon voyage, Christmas bushes, Halloween, and anthropomorphic fruits and veggies. By the 2020s, I had 1000’s of playing cards—so many who I bought packing containers of them to fellow collectors. My remaining playing cards had been sorted into packing containers by matter, displayed on precise greeting card racks, or framed on the wall.
I’m however one collector in a sea of classic card fanatics—all of them making an attempt to outbid the opposite for the most effective mid-century playing cards on eBay. If not greeting playing cards, vintage valentines strike the collective fancy. In today of digital photograph albums, e-cards, and Fb posts, there’s a sentimental want for easy, tangible touchstones. Who amongst us didn’t perk up when a birthday card arrived within the mail or struggled to mail everybody on our record a Christmas card every year?
HALLMARK MOMENTS IN HISTORY
Traditionally, the customized of sending playing cards hails again to the early Egyptians, who wrote their greetings on papyrus scrolls. By the fifteenth century, Europeans started sending handmade greetings on paper. Elaborate valentines—though invented within the fifteenth–sixteenth centuries—turned all the craze within the Victorian period. By the mid-to-late 1800s, corporations like Marcus Ward & Co. and Charles Goodall & Son started mass-manufacturing playing cards that featured art work by revered artists of the day. Nevertheless, it was not till the Twenties and Thirties that folded greeting playing cards as we all know them immediately took form.
By the Nineteen Forties, corporations like Hallmark, American Greetings, Norcross, Gibson, Neglect-Me-Not, Admiral, and Rust Craft mass-produced greeting playing cards. Individuals might discover them at dime shops, pharmacies, and grocery shops. Each conceivable occasion warranted a greeting card—even a household taking a visit! Referred to as “Bon Voyage” cards, they wished the traveler good luck on their journey. Different occasions represented included new child, commencement, Mom’s Day and Father’s Day, sympathy, anniversary, get nicely, considering of you, thanks, and extra.
The most popular greeting card of all time wished its recipient a cheerful birthday. In reality, birthday playing cards nonetheless account for 50 percent of all card sales. Certain, you may simply submit on Fb in thirty seconds, however sending a personally chosen birthday card by the mail nonetheless holds sentimental appeal. Age-specific playing cards stay notably fascinating, as do grownup humor.
The Christmas card change custom originated in London in 1843 when high-society gentleman Henry Cole commissioned the primary Christmas card with a clean inside to ship to his family and friends. The novel concept took maintain, resulting in the manufacturing of Christmas card field units by the flip of the century.
From the start, widespread cowl topics had been Santa Claus and his elves, Christmas bushes, child Jesus within the manger, carolers, reindeer, church buildings, embellished properties, toys, and sweet. Individuals nonetheless ship Christmas playing cards, leading to a enjoyable seek for the right field every winter.
HOW TO START YOUR OWN GREETING CARD COLLECTION
The primary and most necessary factor to do when beginning a greeting card assortment is to determine what matters and graphics attraction to you. Accumulating each classic card turns into costly and takes up an excessive amount of room. It might be greatest in the event you narrowed your focus.
Purchase them in heaps if potential. Among the many most fascinating artwork/graphics presently bought on eBay and Etsy are mermaids, mid-century glamour women, animals (particularly poodles and Siamese cats), circus scenes, house journey, cowboys, Black Americana, mid-century homes, and 1950s Halloween. Costs vary from $1 to over $100, however the common worth is beneath $10—about the identical as immediately’s store-bought playing cards. Hundreds of thousands of playing cards had been produced throughout the twentieth century, offering seemingly limitless choices for a brand new collector.
Flea markets and on-line sellers are the most effective locations to find the fascinating ephemera. For me, property gross sales are notably fruitful looking grounds—and they’re a sentimental reminder that another person’s grandmother additionally saved her greeting playing cards.
Jenna Girard has been a contract author and replica editor for over 25 years, with a give attention to characteristic writing. A lifelong collector of antiques and collectibles, Jenna has amassed a exceptional assortment of leisure ephemera, classic materials, head vases, and mid-century artwork and residential décor. After 16 years of residing in Los Angeles and dealing within the leisure trade, Jenna now resides in her residence state of Michigan, the place she continues to write down/copy edit for LA-based media shops.
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