Mutoscope Arcade Cards

Mutoscope Arcade Card

Mutoscope Arcade Card

Mutoscope Cards were sold from coin-operated vending machines in arcades and amusement parks during the 1940s. They are a distinctive size (5.25″ x 3.25 inches or 13.3 cm x 8.25 cm) and carry the inscription “A Mutoscope Card”. The subjects of the cards are “pin-ups” or cartoons (those by Jimmy Hatlo being the most prized). Noted pin-up artists included Zoe Mozert,Earl Moran and Gil Elvgren.

The International Mutoscope Reel Company is only one of the companies producing cards sold in vending machines. However, this firm also manufactured the Mutoscope motion picture device and the “flip-book” reels that went inside. The arcade cards are not the same as the cards used in the mutoscope reels. Mutoscope cards are a recognized category of collectible paper.

More on Real Photo Postcards

Real Photo Postcards were popular from the very early 20th century to as late as the 1950s.  Negatives of family photos would be sent out to photography houses which would print them up as postcards. Thus, they could be mailed to distant family and friends. The real photo postcard trend was not limited to family photos. In the early twentieth century free-lance postcard photographers roamed the world taking photos of all kinds of places and things and were paid by postcard publishers for their negatives. Some of these photographers had their own small postcard publishing businesses. These commercially-sold real photo postcards often have white hand-written captions identifying their subjects. The white writing is part of the photograph (the result of the photographer’s using a black marking pencil on the negative, which gets reversed and becomes white in the positive print).

Real Photo Postcard-Freelance Photographer

Real Photo Postcard-Freelance Photographer

Though family portraits are probably the most common type of real photo postcard, the most valuable real photo postcards contain images of unusual and uncommon glimpses into early twentieth century life:

  • people engaged in occupational activities such as working on roads, in blacksmith shops, on ships, or in any walk of life
  • people in uniform– particularly military
  • unusual images of animals
  • images of early farm equipment such as tractors
  • images of transportation including horses and buggies, early cars, boats, trains and airplanes
  • images of post-disaster damage including famous tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes
  • images of sports including teams, players and game being played

Postcard Backs-Clues for Dating

I’m planning a series of articles on postcard collecting and last week’s article on real photo postcards was the first of the series.  Today, I want to show you how to take the clues from the back of the postcard to help you determine approximate dates.

Postcard Back

Postcard Back

  • Card has  printed stamped government postals with space on one side for the address only — This is likely from 1861 (when postcards were first authorized) to 1898.  Privately printed post cards were not allowed, though in 1893 full color postcards were printed on the reverse side of the US government printed side.
  • Card has  printed logo on one side “Private Mailing Card”  —  This is likely from the period 1898 to 1901.  Only the address was allowed on the address side, but the card was printed privately.  Often the image side was printed to allow space for senders to write a message.  Messages were not allowed on the address side.
  • Card has the words “Post Card” or “Postcard” on the address side with no divider —  This is likely from 1901 – 1907.   Only the address was allowed on the address side and space was still frequently left on the image side for messages.
  • Back has a divider —  1907 or later.  The address, and the message were now on the same side, allowing for the image to take up the entire front.  Most cards were printed in Germany, and the lithography processes there were so advanced that most cards from this period are spectacular.  Postcard sending and collecting became a mania, and this collecting frenzy was only slowed by WWI which cut off the supply of the quality produced cards from Germany.  Every home had its postcard albums, and communication by postcard was “the norm.

Fashionista Alert…Couture Auction

One of the best ways to keep track of the value of items is to see what similar items are anticipated to sell for at a premier auction house.  I ran across this auction of Couture Fashion items that is  starting tomorrow 4/19/09.  The online catalog includes photos, brief descriptions and anticipated price ranges.

I browsed the catalog and found 341 items of couture fashion clothing plus scarves, purses and  jewelry lots.  There are 615 lots total.

Vintage Couture and Accessories
9:00 AM PT – Apr 19th, 2009
3 days
offered by
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

1338 West Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60607

Such fun to look! and you can register to bid if you just can’t resist trying for an item you can’t live without!

Postcard Video

If you enjoy looking at postcards, you’ll enjoy this!

Buying Vintage Flatware

Many of us have nearly complete sets of flatware.  But something has happened to one or two of the pieces, or you never acquired a complete set from your wedding gift list.   Everything is fine if you have a pattern that is still being manufactured.  Just pop into your favorite retail store carrying your brand or do a search for online sellers of that brand.


Farberware, fork

Farberware, fork

But what if the pattern is discontinued?  How will you ever fill in that gap?

The foremost retailer of discontinued patterns is of course, Replacements.com.  I love Replacements.com because they have a very complete selection and they offer a free identification service if you aren’t sure what the pattern name is.  Just follow the directions and email an image to them and they’ll find the name for you.  However, the down side is that they sell based on their service and completeness of inventory, not on price.  If you don’t mind paying the premium price, you don’t need to read any farther. 

However, you can find other less expensive sources.  Use Replacements to make sure you have an accurate identification of the pattern name and manufacturer, then do one or both of the following:

  • enter the pattern and manufacturer name into an eBay search.  If someone is selling it, you should be able to find it.  Be sure to do an advanced search and look in eBay stores as many sellers list at auction once and then place their offering in their eBay store at a fixed price.  eBay store inventory isn’t always listed on your initial search and you may have to look for the eBay stores listings.
  • Google the pattern name and/or the manufacturer name.  There may be a website or company site that will have your pattern.

How to Handle Records

Vinyl Records, LPs, 45s and 78s are very susceptible to damage. Here are some tips I found online to keep your collectible records in great shape!

Hold by Edges

Hold by Edges

  • The oils on your hands can damage the playing surface. So Avoid Touching! Hold your disk by the edges and on the labeled surface only. Or wear thin, clean cotton gloves.
  • Avoid creating scratches by not dropping the record and by making sure that the stylus (needle) is clean and free of dust. Also don’t drop the stylus on the record or shake the turntable causing the needle to skip over the grooves. Scratches are permanent and degrade the sound of the record.
  • Make sure that your needle is the correct one for the record. Don’t play the record with a dull needle. Dull needles cause damage that cannot be repaired.
  • Keep your turntable clean and free of dust by keeping the dust cover closed and remove dust promptly.
  • Avoid stacking records on a turntable (the use of a spindle to stack albums and 45’s was commonplace in the 50’s and 60’s). Or placing on any other surface without a protective sleeve
  • When done playing your record, give it a quick brush to remove any dust and static. Return it to its sleeve. If you plan on listening to your vinyl for any decent period of time, invest in a carbon fiber record brush
    .