The Stamp and Coin Place Blog: connecting the past and present of stamp and coin collecting, and looking to the future.

The Strange Short-Lived Fad of Leather Postcards

 

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Postcards became extremely popular around the beginning of the 20th century, and manufacturers frequently added features to attract buyers. Postcards were embossed, gilded, embroidered, and made of different materials. For a brief time, leather postcards were all the rage.

 

While not rare enough to be particularly valuable, most people have never seen one of these leather postcards. Many were comedic or intended to convey romantic sentiments. Like most postcards, they were pre-printed with a spot for the address and a stamp.

 

s-l1600 (16)Leather postcards were only popular for a few years between 1905 and 1910 before falling out of favor. For one thing, the post office hated the postcards, due to their thickness, which caused problems with the mail sorting machines. (There was also some confusion as to the cost of mailing early postcards, and leather postcards only added to the confusion.) The cards were usually made of deer hide, and the design added by burning the leather (occasionally, the design was inked on.) Some even came with pre-cut holes so the postcards could be sewn together for pillow covers or other mementos. A trade magazine noted in 1906 that the demand for leather postcards had boosted the leather market.

 

However, the fad was short-lived, and paper postcards reigned supreme again for the rest of the 20th century, due to the ease and cheapness of production and mailing.

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