Garage Saling: Cards, Cards, Cards!

More highlights from the village wide. It turned out to be the weekend of vintage and antique cards. I found valentines (25 cents each), cigarette cards (British, circa 1920s, 5 cents each), and postcards (10 cents each).

The cigarette cards were a first for me. I had read an article about them once but had never actually seen any. They are a pretty reasonable card to collect because most aren’t extremely expensive. I surfed around the web until a found a couple of sites that explained their history and had some valuations for them. Cards have to be in very good to excellent condition to be worth anything. They are fascinating little cards and have been called “the poor man’s encyclopedia” because they feature all kinds of sports, animals, people, occupations, technology, and places (not to mention pinups, movie stars, and athletes).

I picked up the postcards at the same sale where I found the cigarette cards. My daughter and I spent 15 or 20 minutes going through a box of them. Postcards are another affordable collectible. I picked out all the lighthouse and Christmas cards.  For some reason, many of the Christmas cards featured windmills. I don’t associate Christmas with windmills, but maybe they were in style that year! I enjoy reading the backs of the post cards as much as looking at their fronts. I like the ones written in pencil because they are easier to read. One says simply “to Papa—Bertha” and another, “From your MaMa to her darling Myrtle.”

None of the lighthouse postcards had writing on them. They might have been places visited by someone who didn’t own a camera or who overestimated their ambition to write and send cards while on vacation.  I like the hand colored cards that show the old and new lighthouses at a location. The cards are old enough that when I look the lighthouses up in some of my reference books, it will be fun to see how the neighborhood and layout of the station has changed over the years.

The vintage valentines just make me feel good. I remember the excitement of bringing a decorated shoebox with a slit cut in the lid to school to receive the little envelopes containing the bright cards. February is such a dreary month, and Valentine’s Day the first holiday relief since the previous year’s Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Some kids went all out and gave the cards with lollipops attached. There was always a chance that a boy would give you a card—sometimes signing his name and sometimes remaining a secret admirer. I found the Valentines at a fund-raising sale for a memorial. Some dealer was donating inventory. (Lots of antique and collectible dealers are going out of business because people aren’t spending money the way they used to, so dealers can’t afford the rent on their booths and showcases.)

This type of ephemera isn’t a need, it is a delight—a very affordable delight. All the cards together (88) only cost me $6.75—about 8 cents apiece! Thank goodness for small, simple pleasures. Begonia

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