Jill Klein’s postcard hobby still going strong since 1968!
After just a few minutes speaking with Jill Klein of Jill’s Postcards and Collectibles, it becomes very clear that Jill loves what she does.
And what she does is collect postcards –a great deal of them. She and her husband, Steve Meinbresse, travel around the Eastern part of the country as well as other locations selling postcards. “My private collection is probably close to 200,000 postcards,” she said. “And my stock (postcards for sale) is at about 20,000.” When she and Steve attend shows, he is running the booth and selling the postcards, while Jill is checking out what postcards to add to her stock and her collection.
Jill said she began collecting in 1968 in Boston when she initially was interested in sunsets and linen postcards. Over the years she has increased her purchases in a wide variety of themes. “When I came to Nashville from Boston in 1971, I had one little shoebox of postcards,” she said. Now her collection has grown exponentially to include “any great images.”
“My buying habits improved to purchasing better quality postcards and in better condition,” she said. “I still love the linen postcards but now look for the most spectacular instead of the mundane.”
Here’s just a sampling of Jill’s varied collection. She collects “Social Issues,” postcards including Racism and Anti-Semitic postcards. “The anti-Semitic postcards are very hard to find,” Jill said, noting that a lot of the cards came from the U.S. as well as France and Germany as well as other European countries.
“Ethnic postcards (not real photo) are almost always racist, but a lot of Black people collect those cards; and there are collectors of KKK postcards, which are still being purchased.”
Another interest she’s drawn to include postcards that feature different incarnations of the same image. “There may be a button added to the face, or the image has been airbrushed,” Jill said. She’s very into linen postcards, some with embossing or punched out features as well as those with vibrant, bright colors. “I look at postcards like a tiny piece of art.”
Jill is also a fan of Arthur Thiele’s anthropomorphic postcards as well as those featuring close up shots of the animals. She’s particularly attracted to Thiele’s horse head postcards.
Other interests include smoking postcards that feature celebrities smoking such as Enrico Caruso, Elvis Presley, Greta Garbo and Frank Sinatra among others. “I have a lot of advertising postcards with people smoking, as well as many that feature children smoking and even some with naked women smoking,” she said, noting she has three binders of postcards devoted to smoking.
Another of Jill’s favorites are “tacky chromes,” that she described as a little risqué, funny and featuring innuendo.
Purchasing cards that other people like is a talent of Jill’s. “Any great image is what I look for,” she said. In another life Jill’s talent for finding postcards would make her a great “personal shopper.” Her interests head off in many directions, she said. “And I like that my friends can’t figure me out,” she said with a laugh “They say, ‘You’re all over the place.’”
Jill and Steve will be attending the New York City postcard show in May where she’ll be scouring the booths for more unusual postcards. “Steve will be selling in the booth –he’s a great salesman,” Jill said.
Jill and Steve are also members of the International Federation of Postcard Dealers, which she feels is an important organization for deltiology. “I would love to get more young people involved in the (hobby) of postcard collecting,” Jill said.
Jill’s Postcard and Collectibles is based in Nashville, Tennessee and Jill and Steve also attend several postcard shows in the Eastern U.S., including the York, Pennsylvania Show, the New York City show as well as Orlando, Florida and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The couple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at (615) 354-1960 or at (615) 517-8911.