Antiques & Collecting: Postcards are popular, inexpensive to collect

Postcards are among the most popular inexpensive collectibles today, perhaps because they are easy to find. But they require time and searching to create a special collection.

Postcards are wanted for the postmark, the stamp, the message or the picture on the front, and they can be framed and hung or displayed in scrapbooks. Although an English postcard was mailed as early as 1840, the first U.S. postcard wasn’t printed until 1873.

The earliest picture postcards mailed in the U.S. probably were cards sold at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. A printed stamp was used on early postal cards by the U.S. Post Office. A rectangular stamp was glued onto a souvenir postage card, bought and mailed by tourists. The required postage changed 21 times between 1872 and 2000, going from 1 cent to 21 cents. Today it is 35 cents.

Collectors also can date a card from its design. The “divided back” era began in 1907. “Linen” cards that had texturized paper for better color printing were popular from 1931 to 1959. “Chrome” era postcards featuring Kodachrome photographs started in 1939.

The craze for collecting postcards began in 1946, and there were clubs, stores, sales and research for collectors buying postcards.

This unusual card, featuring the side of an attached metal turkey, seems great for a Thanksgiving message, but the raised turkey would not allow it to go in the mail. It’s part of a group of cards that have strange attached or moving parts known as “mechanicals.” It also has a divided back, suggesting a date as early as 1907. The postcard has an old price tag of $20.

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Q: I recently bought a green Thanksgiving plate at an auction and am curious to see its value. A colonial couple is pictured on the front, and underneath it says: “Speak for yourself, John.” There are four other scenes around the border. The back of the platter has a picture of pilgrims, and underneath it says: “Pilgrim Exiles” and “Colonial Times by Crown Ducal, England.” I can’t find any information about this online. Can you help?

A: Crown Ducal is a name used on some pieces of porcelain made by A.G. Richardson and Co., Ltd., of Tunstall and Cobridge, England, beginning in 1916. The Colonial Times series of plates was made in the early 1930s. It includes 12 different designs and was made in several colors, including blue, brown, green, mulberry and pink. Plates were made with scalloped or smooth edges. A square plate with scalloped corners and embossed design also was made. Colonial Times plates sell for $25 to $50.

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Q: I’d like some information and value for a toy washing machine I played with about 1932. It’s labeled “Busy Betty Washing Machine, No. 354” and says, “Patent Applied for, the Hoge Manufacturing Co. Inc., New York, N.Y., USA.” It’s metal with white enamel paint, glass tub and removable wringer. It’s 10 1/2 inches high and is in perfect condition.

A: Hampden Hoge started the Hoge Manufacturing Company in 1909. At first, it made office supplies. It started making toys in 1931. Toy washing machines, sweepers, sewing machines, cars, trains and other toys were made. The No. 354 model Busy Betty Washing Machine was listed in the company’s 1936 catalog, which said the machine “actually washes” and “grownups can use it to wash handkerchiefs and other small items.” A slightly different model was made later. Production ended in 1939, and the company was sold to the Mattatuck Manufacturing Co.

Value of your toy washing machine is about $360, more if in mint condition.

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Q: My husband was given a pair of bookends by a family in South Dakota over 50 years ago. He thinks they are cast bronze. They picture an American Indian on horseback. He has his head down and looks very dejected. It’s marked on the bottom: “The Last Trail, Copr 1928,” with the letter “C” in a triangle inside a circle.

A: These bookends are sand cast iron, not bronze, and were made by the Connecticut Foundry in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. The company started in 1919 and made iron bookends in the late 1920s and 1930s. It went out of business in 1983. The foundry made your “The Last Trail” bookends in several shapes. The image is based on a statue called “End of the Trail” made by James Earle Fraser in 1894. It has been reproduced, and the image has been used on many things. The bookends sell for $40.

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Q: I have a vase marked with an anchor surrounded by a laurel wreath on the bottom. The words “Anchor Pottery” are above it. What can you tell me about it?

A: Anchor Pottery was in business in Trenton, New Jersey, from 1893 to 1926. The pottery made dinnerware and toilet sets. It also made premiums for the Grand Union Tea Company. In 1916, Merrill, Lynch & Co. bought the Grand Union Tea Company, Anchor Pottery and Globe Grocery Stores, and merged them with Jones Bros. Tea Company. Anchor Pottery was sold to Fulper Pottery in 1926.

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Tip: Use your lace and lace-trimmed tablecloths. It is more damaging to let the linens get dusty than it is to wash them. If you’re really worried about stains, don’t serve red wine or cranberries.

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Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. By sending a letter with a question and a picture, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, The Journal of New Ulm, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.

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Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

Staffordshire plate, sailing ship, Cadmus, fishing, dark blue, floral border, 1830, 9 1/4 inches, $95.

Candlestick, cut glass, hollow body, intaglio flower, strawberry diamond, ray cut base, rolled rim, 14 inches, $95.

Basket, purse, lightship, scrimshaw lid plaque, Nantucket style, signed, 7 x 9 inches, $125.

Wavecrest, plate, shell and leaf, green, pink blossom and branch, unmarked, C.F. Monroe, 7 1/2 inches, $330.

Folk art, boot scraper, wrought iron, animal shape, pierced eye, 1850, 11 x 13 x 12 inches, $350.

Tortoiseshell cigarette box, silver mounts, C. Saunders, Francis Shepard, 1895, 6 x 4 inches, $375.

Loetz, crete pampas, green iridescent, squat base, baluster mouth, signed, 1899, 8 1/2 inches, $415.

Kazak rug, geometric design, red center, blue border, hand woven, 73 x 114 inches, $545.

Majolica figurine, honey bear, drum on back, Holdcroft, England, 8 x 3 1/2 inches, $640.

Commode, fruitwood, three long drawers, cabriole legs, scrolled toes, late 1700s, 33 x 47 1/2 x 24 1/2 inches, $1,625.

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