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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Collectible, but seldom collected: Part 1—Printed Backs on Postal Cards

 

When I study Luxembourg postal cards, I enjoy the printed backs, the cachets (or “chops”) of the senders, and the auxiliary and manuscript markings applied by the postal clerks.  Yet, little has been published on any of these collecting possibilities.  It’s a shame.

Is there an unspoken prejudice against printed backs?  When asked about the significance of printed backs, a well-known American stamp show judge once told me that show judges were only interested in what the government printed (or otherwise put) on the cards.  Rather, the judge seemed enamored of comments on exhibits such as “only one recorded,” “one of three recorded,” and so on—of course, without any reference to “the record” where the pretentious claims could be verified. 

In fact, just like postmarks and government-printed indicia, printed backs provide primary data helping us understand the role postal cards played in late 19th and early 20th century commerce, showing notices, orders, invoices, and advertisements.  Without an appreciation of printed backs, our understanding of postal card use would depend largely on historians’ secondary accounts.

Here are a few examples:

001a

     

Prosper Schwartz & Cie.
Mersch

Early 1900s

002

 

001c

     

Werling Lambert & Cie.
Luxembourg
1898

005

 

004

    

Gebr. KETTEN.
Luxemburg
1905

003

 

006a

    

Ch. Bernhœft
Photographe de la Cour
Luxembourg

1906

007

 

006
006z

Imprimerie Jos. Beffort
3 Place-d’Armes
Luxembourg

1897

008

 

001 

Breistroff & Schmitt,
Düdelingen (Lux.)

1908

002

 

001

  

Luxemburger Landes-Dbst und Gartenbau Verein
Hotel Brosius, Luxemburg

1920

002

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