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Sunday, January 17, 2021

A Collecting Analogy

I've been collecting postcards over the last few years or so.  It took a while to happen.  Some years ago I bought my wife a small binder's worth of Paris cards as a gift.  Then there was one card from Philadelphia that had pigeons in it.  A few years ago I had the idea to gift her some Art Institute of Chicago cards.  That's what really did it.  (I've been in Iowa for around ten years but I was born in Chicago and spent my first 50 years there.  I'm truly a Chicagoan living in Iowa.)  The gift idea turned quickly to the desire to collect old postcards of the my home town.  
This card is probably from the 1950's.  I'm still not great at dating cards.  

Postcard and trading card collecting have a lot in common.  Remember when we learned about analogies in school?  Meow is to Cat and Bark is to Dog, Hat is to Head a Sock is to Foot, etc.?

I see analogies in my collecting.  I'll give you my clearest example.  I collect cards of my boyhood baseball hero, Ron Santo.
If I'm not in the Hall of Fame of Ron Santo collecting, I'm at least in the Hall of Very Good.  
My postcard analogy is this Chicago treasure, The Art Institute of Chicago.  I've been going there all my life.  My wife and I went there on our first date and we got engaged there.  It's filled with some of the most famous and wonderful art ever made.  I currently have an entire 2" binder devoted to just this one building.  The cards date from the the first decade of the last century to about the 1960's.  I'm always looking for ones I don't have.  As with baseball cards there are what I consider "unique" postcards featuring the same image.  There are vintage examples and more modern, rare and common, expensive and less so, etc.  

I've just been talking about collecting one very specific pair of cardboard subjects.  They are the centerpieces of each collection.  That being said I've always been one for variety.  As I've branched out in trading card collecting, from cigarette cards of transportation subjects to recent sets of things like movie posters, I've done the some of the same with postcards.  The number of subjects you can find is endless.  Like trading cards you can store postcards in boxes or binders.  They even fit in my trading card display cases.  

Well, you've heard of tortured analogies.  I'll torture you no further today.  If I haven't inspired you to collect postcards yourself maybe I've piqued your interest in seeing more here.  


  1. I enjoy collecting postcards too. I'm always on the lookout for them at flea markets, but it's been ten months since I've been to one. Plus Padrographs has hooked me up with a bunch over the years.

  2. It's probably none of my business, but I'm curious to know how you came to be living in Iowa?

    1. Short answer-- my wife's mom died and her father was in Iowa alone. They're actually from Chicago as well but ended up in IA after previously living in Roswell, NM. He's almost 88 now. My wife and I will always think of ourselves as Chicagoans no matter how long we're away.

  3. Don't know if this would interest you but I have a few Chicago-area matchbooks that I'd be willing to trade for baseball cards (or maybe other matchbooks or something). Mostly '70s-era restaurants from the Chicago suburbs but also some older ones like 1930/40s Palmer House and Harrison Hotel.


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