This week was a frustrating one, going 0fer at H.R. Harmer, and the one lot I was interested in at Kelleher going past 5x estimate in pre-session bidding. I'm taking Fridays off from work for the rest of the year to use up accrued vacation and sick time leading up to my retirement in September, so I was itching to get out of the house Friday and go on a road trip.
My usual go-to, Denny Peoples, had told me he was going to be setting up at a Postcard & Ephemera show in Chicago this weekend, so I figured "why not?" He was at Garfield-Perry last weekend so likely would have picked up some new material since I last saw him a whopping 3 weeks ago. I called him and asked him to also bring along some cheap Banker's Box carton lots; those are fun and inexpensive entertainment to paw through.
The show was in Countryside, in the southest Chicago suburbs, a very easy drive, approximately 2 hours door to door coming from downstate. The show had a $10 early-entry hour similar to the St. Louis Stamp Expo. IMO well worth the $10 to get in at 9AM rather than 10AM. I arrived at 8:30am and there were about a dozen people waiting to get in.
This would be something new, as Denny would likely be the only philatelic dealer present, but I had high hopes for the ephemera dealers... well, I shouldn't have. There really wasn't much in the way of ephemera, it was all postcards. While there are cards I would be interested in, it would be based upon philatelic aspects, e.g., postage due usages, and that's not how postcard dealers organize their stock, unlike postal history dealers. Postcard dealers organize primarily by subject matter or state/country of origin, not by period or usage. To find postcards that would fit within my narrow collecting areas would have taken tons of hours for likely very little gain.
So I spent the first hour at Denny's table, putting a bunch of stuff aside. Then I went off to the rest of the dealers... 1.5 hours later I was done with the bourse, having only bought from one other dealer, for a whopping $15. So here I am at 11:30am and I'm effectively done. It was only a bourse, no exhibits. So I spent another 1.5 hours digging more deeply into Denny's stock than I typically do, buying some covers and postcards that struck my fancy. By the end of the show I actually found two areas of postcard collecting that I think I would enjoy collecting moving forward:
1. Designs originally attributed to Ottmar Zieher, postcards from the early 20th century from different makers featuring different stamps from a given country as the postcard front design. More commonly found unused rather than used. Denny had a bunch of different ones in his bargain postcard box at $4 each; I bought them all. As it turns out that was a very good price; they seem to typically sell for $10-$20 each unused. I believe that *actual* Ottmar Zieher cards sell for more. Just lovely postcard designs for anyone who appreciates worldwide classic era stamps.
2. Very similar in format to the above, embossed coins of every country postcards from the same period. As a former coin collector, these are lovely designs, again most often found unused rather than used. Denny had a lovely used example of the U.S. coins card sent from Great Britain with a short patriotic manuscript sentiment on the front, which I purchased.
Subsequently looking these postcard types up online once I got home, I think I could enjoy collecting these.
Denny had a couple of illegal/improper usages of postage as revenues which I picked up, and a large railroad bond from the Macon & Brunswick Railroad in Georgia that he made me a nice price on.
I bought 4 Banker's Box carton lots of cheap worldwide material to go through and turn into off-paper kiloware. These are great for evenings when the primary focus is something else like TV or radio but I also want to be doing something that doesn't require extensive scrutiny or focus. I'll go through them and remove stamps from cards, envelopes, album pages, etc., and dump the resuluting material into tubs to later sell by the ounce/pound/box, while at the same time pulling aside anything that looks like it might be more worthwhile or is more interesting for later assessment. At $40-100 per carton there's very little risk and they provide lots of entertainment. I've occasionally found some better material in them as well.
So by 1:00PM I was ready to leave the show. I spent the rest of the afternoon doing some shopping in Chicagoland and then headed home.
The two most interesting pieces I picked up from Denny were actually covers, not in any way related to my specialty, but are bookends in terms of my largest and smallest covers from the 19th century and/or turn of the century, and they each have very unique attributes.
The first cover is a K-sized (292mm x 152mm, 11.5in x 6in) linen registered mail envelope (Higgins & Gage # 5d, issued in 1878) sent from Manchester, UK to Minneapolis, MN in 1905, where the sender hand-inked a patriotic fantasy of then U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt astride an American Eagle, with the eagle clutching a shield portraying the stars and stripes.
Talk about one of a kind!(Click on the images below to see them full-sized. Not sure why, but the pinterest widget this forum uses for displaying images downsizes them unnecessarily at larger browser window widths.)
Moving to the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the tiniest cover I have ever seen, at least as far as an envelope that contained an enclosure: A diminutive 1899 cover from The Kingston Fishery Co. in Kingston Jamaica to the Diamond Match Co. in New York City. It is 58mm x 46mm (2.23in x 1.81in) with a resulting cover area of 26.7 square centimeters, which places it as the tiniest postally used cover I have seen record of.
Just lovely IMO.