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  • Writer's pictureFlea Market Love Letters

Peeking at Postcards.

This August is all about the postcard at Flea Market H.Q. Our Book(s) About Letters for the month are the fantastic "Postcard Stories Vol 1 & 2" by Jan Carson and in anticipation of World Postcard Day coming up October 1st, 2022 we thought we'd take a moment to look at some recent postcard acquisitions to the archive.

In previous posts we've explored bringing postcards back to their locations and the history of the postcard as a means of communication. A twist on the usual format, today I thought we'll appreciate three new additions to the archive which are either nearly illegible or in the final instance, in another language. So today we're not learning so much about the individuals but the individual cards.

"Miss Cole, Co. Wicklow"

I found this card at an indoor market here in Dublin, Ireland. I loved it for the obvious features, a precious pile of puppies but when I turned it over and discovered "cross-hatch writing" I knew it had to come back to the archive.

Care to try deciphering this overlaid handwriting? There's no postmark -- we lost the Stamp likely to an overeager collector -- so we can't date this beauty but the handwriting and penmanship alone likely places it mid-1910s/1920s. While we can't crack the code, this is a beautiful example of the cost-effective if not headache inducing form of space saving writing!

"Oh Lourdes, the Postmarks!"

Some readers may recall that earlier in the Summer of 2022 I wrote about a collecting trip in the States, my first big "haul" since pre-COVID. This fantastic card came from one of those dealers in Pennsylvania.

Initially I was drawn to the overall look of the postcard, especially the stamp -- who doesn't love a rust orange stamp? -- but it was ultimately the repeating postmark stamps on the face of the card that captured my imagination. Was it a fluke by a postal worker? Or perhaps, was it an intentional design?

The back of this card tells us little -- despite the obvious that it's written in French -- the faint pencil marks clearly having survived some 100 years since it was first sent (according to the postmark!). Again, some readers may recall I took a visit in 2021 to the National Postal Museum in France -- oh to have had this card then to chat with one of their team. Another reason to get back to Paris!


Fans of the 2001 film "Moulin Rouge" will have a soft spot for Monmarte. When I saw this postcard along with the above Lourdes find while hunting in Pennsylvania, I knew from the overall look and vintage that they had to come home with me.

Having visited Monmarte and trekked the steps to the top of Sacre Coeur for the incredible view this is one of those personal time travel treasures in the collection for me.

The faded back of this card is a mystery waiting to be revealed. Perhaps its romantic? Perhaps its factual? I'm sure someone reading may be able to shed some light but until we peel back the layers it does feel a bit as if it could have leapt from the pages of one of the Books About Letters novels I read to share once a month here.

Get in Touch.

So there you have it! A glimpse into what draws me to collect certain postcards for the archive. Do you collect any letters, cards, etc.? I'd love to know what spurs your treasure seeking. Send us an email

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