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One Woman’s Adventure with Victorian Trade Cards

Updated on January 14, 2015
Front cover of Lizzie Lovejoy's Victorian Album
Front cover of Lizzie Lovejoy's Victorian Album | Source

Some Examples of Victorian Advertisements

American Art Company of St. Louis, MO, 1886.  Sold for $19.99
American Art Company of St. Louis, MO, 1886. Sold for $19.99 | Source
Quaker Bitters for Dyspepsia and Blood, 1880s.  Sold for $12.99
Quaker Bitters for Dyspepsia and Blood, 1880s. Sold for $12.99 | Source
Chase and Sanborn Coffee Advertisement, Sold for $30
Chase and Sanborn Coffee Advertisement, Sold for $30 | Source
Listed on etsy for $45
Listed on etsy for $45 | Source

My husband Jim passed away peacefully, here at home. He had been on home hospice care for more than nine months, and I had been his primary caregiver. I felt privileged to be with him, sharing the experience, when he took his final breath and slipped away. He had been stricken with a chronic, progressive, incurable disease a decade earlier, and I had happily signed up to be his primary caregiver. It was sometimes a harrowing journey, filling us both with fear, but there were good times, too. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

A few weeks after the memorial service, I began my own transition by taking a look at some of the things Jim had said for me to sell after he was gone. One of them was his grandmother’s old beat-up scrapbook, so I pulled it out of the drawer and discovered about 20 pages of Victorian trade cards, die cuts, calling cards, calendars, cigar and bottle labels and other items that Lizzie Lovejoy had carefully pasted there between 1875 and 1900.

It was in poor condition, with quite a few pages detached from the binding, others torn in half, some with stains and major rips. The covers were not attached to anything, not even each other. I decided to look on eBay and see if the cards would sell.

They would. So I set about salvaging what I could by carefully removing all that 130-year old paste or glue. The project took over my kitchen island completely, and took nearly two weeks, because I sorted all of them into categories and indexed them by company name. There were still quite a few that landed in the “Unidentified” pile.

I ended up with approximately 100 envelopes, most with more than one card. I’m not much of a mathematician, but I’m thinking that if each envelope-full sells for a measly five bucks …. well, you do the math. There are also a stack of oversized ones, like an 1875 calendar that measures about 10” tall, a shoebox-lid full of diecuts and some large wine bottle (?) labels.

I thought it would be fun to chronicle my discoveries as I begin to research these and put them up for auction. Sooooo, stay tuned!


It's hard to believe that two years have passed since my husband's death. Living as a widow is a whole new adventure for me, and as many widows will tell you, it just takes as long as it takes. Everybody's different in their approach to it, just as every writer has their own approach to their creative process.

Shortly after this Hub was originally published, my first item was put up for sale on eBay. It sold promptly, and I was thrilled. The second one was such an interesting card that it resulted in an article (Hub) about the building where the company was located, in downtown St. Louis Missouri in the 1880s. See the link below if you want to read it.

Several more of these delightful cards have sold, either on eBay or etsy, one or two selling for more than $30. Since I have a Store, I elected to have Fixed Price listings rather than auctions, because I did my homework and knew the approximate value of the item before I listed it.

Browse among the photos here to get an idea of how this project is going; I've put approximate selling prices on most of them. There are still quite a few on the shelf, so I'll check back in here when I have another update.


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    • Abie Taylor profile image

      Abie Taylor 5 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      Yes, I will stay tuned! Great story. Rated up and beautiful.

      And thank you for sending me advice about my tutorials hub. Maybe that style of writing is not for me. I have unpublished it and I will correct the spellings, and maybe write it out again, but I will not publish it again in the future.

      Thank you for your advice, maybe I should go back and check all of my hubs. I have checked my friend one and updated it if you would like to look at it.

      Anyway, amazing hub!

      One last thing: Since you are quite new and you have no followers, I am now following you. Good luck with your writing, I'm sure you could become successful with your writing, you have a talent for writing non-fiction stories.

      Abie x

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Hope that you will keep us posted. Have you checked with an antique dealer to see what they might be worth?

    • blueorpurple profile image

      blueorpurple 5 years ago

      sorry to know about ur husband. but great writing style. just like a story

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

      Thank you for following me. I see we have a couple of things in common, you a former caretaker and me a current one. How are you doing? How long ago did your husband pass? I can't seem to imagine me ... alone.

      We also share the love of antiques. My husband and I owned an antiques business for about five years and enjoyed it so much!

    • Marie Brannon profile image

      Marie Brannon 5 years ago from Pearland, Texas

      Hi Poohgran, my hubby passed five months ago, in February, from COPD. He was on home hospice for 9 months, so it wasn't too much of a surprise. I'm doing okay most days, and you'll be okay too. I could write three or four books about caregiving and COPD!

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

      I guess I will, I can't seem to get used to the idea. I'll bet you could write several books and I'm not sure that there isn't a need for them, although this disease has so many variables, the care taking side of it is a story all in itself. A real roller coaster ride of emotions and symptoms.

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 5 years ago

      I'm sorry for your loss..I just found this in the forums...

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