I do not think of myself as old, and I do not want to get old, but I do plan on getting a lot older. My birthday collection began at the start of WW II, and I’ve been an ardent postcard collector since 1975. My one major category has expanded into several while my mini categories have topped a dozen. What am I going to do with all these postcards? Well, I have decided to donate a few of my local interest cards to a deserving institution. A few. That would be a small handful out of the fifty or more boxes my wife and I have amassed.
Although, perhaps, two boxes of those are duplicates, the rest and a dozen albums are full rate “Very Collectable” to “Quite Fabulous.”
What will we do with them? I do not yet have an answer. But... I have tried to cut back on new acquisitions, and I’ve encouraged Janet to do the same. The stacks of cards on tables and desks are testimony to our lack of success. I do look online and wind up winning a couple of cards a week. And we do go to club meetings and bring home only a few finds. And the San Francisco shows do lure us, but our catch there is minimal. The worst happens in our non-pc life. A very nice woman, whom we’ve known casually, the other day said, "Oh, you collect postcards, don’t you? Good! I have three boxes of family cards that have to go. I'll bring them to you." We'll come and get them, we reassured her, and we did. It was a drizzly evening in this year’s very wet winter, and, with a large plastic sack tucked under my jacket, I rang her bell. "C’mon in. they’re back here," she said, leading me down the oak floor of the 1910 home filled with antique furniture and vintage mementos that any collector would enjoy browsing... and adding to one’s own collection.
The three shoeboxes were bulging with jumbled postcards. Thanking her I said that we appreciated her thoughtfulness for not put-ting them in the blue recycle bin. The cards spent the night in our car. During a dry spell the next morning I brought them inside, and in the afternoon we feverishly sorted through them. We were amazed at what we saw.... Nothing! Out of the three boxes we pulled out about 20 for friends and about five each for our-selves. What was left was fifteen pounds of uninteresting white- and yellow-border views - not a main street or recognizable storefront among them-and endless dreary chromes of boring motel interior, exterior and multi-views, unworthy of the club 10¢ table. Alas! The best part of the adventure was not having to find room for 3,000 more postcards. Here are a couple of the savable cards from the treasureless trove, and a few others I've picked up lately.
#1 is the best card in those boxes. It’s an artistic view of San Francisco with the Wells-Fargo building (un-named), Path of Gold light standards, and a California Street cable car. Very nice! It was published by The Morris Plan Company, an early savings institution, and it was produced by Schwabacher-Frey Co., a venerable and long gone San Francisco stationer. (Very, very nice!) #2, Petaluma's Choice, was published by a local higher end supermarket. It records a pre-served Coca-Cola ad on one of the well preserved iron front buildings in town. Contemporary and collectible. #3 is my other keeper from the boxes. It’s a white border from the late '20s or early '30s and shows the bridge built across the bay from San Francisco to Oakland with anchorage and angle change on Yerba Buena Island. It was published by the California Toll Bridge Authority. What is particularly odd looking is that there is no Treasure Island, the large, low lying extension to the north side of Yerba Buena that was built from bay dredgings and which held the 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition. The five mile bridge now carries about 260,000 vehicles a day. #4, a British made Real Photo, is a gift from a friend who knows of my goat interest. Possibly from a crossing-the-equator event, it shows a couple of rescued desert islanders coming aboard. #5 was found in the hallway of a coffee house where a rack of Freecards would have been located. It goes in my Food & Drink collection. "Bottlescape" was painted in 1926 by Winston Churchill! From the Imperial War Museum. #6 is an addition to one of my mini categories, Mt. Rushmore that I continue to add to. In fact, I have two new cards for it, this and a Corn Palace facade. Fun! Lots of fun! That's what postcard collecting is all about.