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Sentimental Postcards with Horses

Updated on February 4, 2017

Collecting antique postcards is a fun hobby and less expensive and easier to store and display than most other antiques. Certain subjects are particularly popular, especially older postcards depicting people and animals. In this article I am going to focus specifically on bromide postcards depicting women with horses.

Between about 1890 and 1940 a lot of photograph-postcards were produced depicting sentimental subjects. One popular theme was a beautiful woman with a horse. Many of these were made by companies based in Germany, they used bromide paper and automated printing with color tinting added by hand. In the modern (and somewhat cynical) era there is something about the open sentimentality of these cards that I think makes them very appealing.

The horses featured in these cards are often dramatic in coloring, either white or black, with a long mane and tail. The ladies posing them often wear romantic flowing cloths with long loose hair and accessories such as flowers. The overall effect is an soft, dreamy and romantic scene--beautiful in an idealized way but without being overtly sexually provocative.

The style of these postcards varied somewhat based on the manufacturers, as described below:

EAS -- 5435/3
EAS -- 5435/3

EAS

E. A. Schwerdtfeger & Ce, Berlin (1894-1920)

EAS also has a London and New York office. Their logo is an E&S within a heart. (Example shown right). Their main focus was on postcards of well known actresses, but also of beautiful women in exotic costumes. They tend towards women with stronger features and higher contrast compositions.

3489 (1913)
3489 (1913)

NPG

Neue Photographische Gesellschaft (1894-1948)

Founded by Arthur Schwarz, NPG postcards are made in Germany, as are most bromide prints of this type. This company was a membership organization with many contributing photographers so the styles of the postcards sets vary widely as do their subjects.

NPG and similar companies developed an automatic printing process that allowed some of the first mass production of postcards. They made 250 series of postcards, each normally including six images. Horse series include 691, 3489 and 7366. (Examples shown right and below). In 1948 they were incorporated into E A Schwerdtfeger Ltd.

NPG -- 7366/4 and 691/5
NPG -- 7366/4 and 691/5

PFB

Paul Finkenrath, Berlin (1901-1911)

PFB produced greeting cards and postcards for export, particularly to the United States.It was owned by Finkenrath and two other partners Sigmund Oettinger and Paul Schimpf. PFB are estimated to have produced at least 5000 different designs including designs including ornate embossing. Their work used largely uncredited artists who remain unidentified to this day.

PBF -- 2707/2
PBF -- 2707/2

G.G.

Gerlach GG Co

I haven't found the full company name of G.G and Co. as yet. I think it might be Gerlach GG Co. The card below depicts a Red Cross nurse with a wounded soldier. The also have a series showing a grey stallion alone.

They seems to be better known for postcards of provocatively posed pretty young ladies.

GG -- C9, 3004/3
GG -- C9, 3004/3
GG -- 2428/3 Kenny Porten
GG -- 2428/3 Kenny Porten

Other Themes

Other postcards show couples with horses, or ladies with other creatures such as dogs. There are also some series with horses and unclothed ladies. Well, not actually unclothed, they tended to wear a close fitting body suit that was suggestive of nudity rather than the real thing.

Collecting

Photo postcards of this type are easily found on Etsy.com, but you tend to pay a premium price there. By contrast, creative use of search terms can win a patient bidder a real bargain on Ebay. The extra effort can bring the per-card cost from around $20 to under $5. If you look at mixed lots of postcards you will often see an old card mixed in with those of lesser values, and the whole lot going for a steal.

Comments

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    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 

      5 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Wow, it's hard to tell whose prettier - the women or the horses. lol One of them actually looks like Claudette Colbert.

      Interested - voted up.

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