COBWEB CORNERS: When postcards came into fashion
By Mel McFarland
At the start of the 20th Century, postcards came into fashion. They had been around for many years, but it was not until the post office changed its rules that they became popular. At first there was a picture or message on one side and the address on the other. When the post office decided it was all right to write on the same side as the address things got interesting.
For a long time people were able to buy pictures of various attractions, but they were inconvenient to mail. Once it became easier to send messages, more postcards became available. Some local printers made special postcards. In the early days, mailing them only cost a penny. Fancy color cards were even printed in Germany, where some fine color printing was available. Soon postcards were available in a variety of locations, with quality ranging from poor to outstanding. Companies competed to attract customers.
The earlier photographs were a great way to show friends and family what happened on trips or vacations, but they had to wait until they got home. A postcard was a quick way to contact friends and family. The people back home started collecting them. Those who sent them often saved those that were left over, making their own collections. It did not take long for collecting to become popular. Many who built sizable collections did not even think of themselves as collectors. They just had cards to use if they needed them.
Some collectors found books and albums to put them in. Most just had a box or drawer they got stuck in. Over the years, some of these were thrown out, but others were bought and sold, long before sport cards. Today searching out old cards is still popular. True collectors know how to identify types, styles, printing methods and all sorts of details. The most sought-after are real photo cards that were made one at a time, and often only one or two were ever printed. Next are the more mass-produced real photo cards. of which maybe a hundred or more were made. There are also small-production advertising cards.
The Old Colorado City History Center has several examples of Colorado Springs postcards. Cards from Colorado City itself are very hard to find. I have seen some real photo cards that were obviously done in this area by a local printer. You have any?