A Look at Labor Day



Today we celebrate and honor all workers, especially those in manual labor.



Capture04In the late 19th century, support began to rise for a holiday to celebrate labor, and provide a time of rest and festivity for labor workers and their families. Though the origins of the holiday are somewhat in question, the generally accepted story is that Labor Day sprang from a General Assembly of the Knights of Labor in New York City, in September of 1882. The Secretary of the Central Labor Union, Matthew Maguire, proposed a national Labor Day holiday to be held in subsequent Septembers.



Capture02Oregon was the first state to officially celebrate Labor Day in 1887. Thirty states celebrated Labor Day by the time it was made a federal holiday in 1894. After workers were killed by the Army and Marshals Service during the Pullman Strike of 1894, when factory workers who lived in a Pullman company town struck for better working and living conditions, Congress unanimously approved Labor Day as a national holiday, and it was signed into law by President Cleveland only 6 days after the Pullman Strike ended. While some favored the traditional European date of May 1 for a labor celebration, others were concerned that a May Day celebration would result in Haymarket-style incidents, and would support socialist and anarchist movements.



Capture03Labor Day became a day of rest for workers and their families, often complete with festivals, speeches, and parades. The tradition of Labor Day sales sprung out of this, as stores moved to take advantage of workers who now had a whole day to shop. However you celebrate, The Stamp & Coin Place wishes you a happy Labor Day!



The stereo cards shown here, along with other vintage collectibles, can be found in the Stamp & Coin Place store on eBay.

Photochrom Postcards

Photochroms (also spelled photochromes) are postcard varieties born from chromolithography. These stunning images make wonderful collectors’ items.


How are photochroms made? Black and white photo negatives are colorized by transferring the negatives onto lithographic plates. This produces a color profile unique to the process that is very distinguishable from color photographs.

You can buy this photochrom postcard by Tuck & Sons here!

You can buy this photochrom postcard by Tuck & Sons here!


An employee of the longstanding printing firm Orell Gessner Fussli, named Hans Jakob Schmid, invented the photochrom process. Other companies picked up the process in the 1890’s when photochroms reached the height of their popularity. Color photography was made possible at the time, but chromolithography was easier and more convenient.


When the Private Mailing Card Act let private publishers make postcards, thousands of photochrom postcards were produced.

Even after 1910 when photochrom’s popularity ended, companies continued to print photochroms, usually in the forms of posters and art prints. The last photochrom printer closed its doors in the 1970’s.


The Zurich Central Library has the world’s largest collection of digitalized photochrom prints; many are available online.

Do you collect photochroms?

All About Carnival Glass

The rainbow colors of carnival glass have caught many a collector’s eye.

Carnival glass is an inexpensive kind of glassware with a rainbow shimmer. Although it got its name from its use at carnivals, that’s not where the glass got its start.

Tiffany made the first iridized art glass, but the formula was expensive, as the iridescence was mixed into the glass instead of sprayed on the surface.Carnival_glass_vase

But then Fenton Glass Company made a cheaper kind of iridescent art glass in 1907: the first carnival glass, then called “Venetian Art” by Fenton. This made the glass much more widely available, although it took a while to catch on. But other glass makers copied the manufacturing process and made it more widely available.

Customers didn’t want to pay a lot for a piece with such a cheap process, so soon the glass was being given away as a prize at carnivals. Forget stuffed animals: glassware was the way to go.

Movie theaters and grocery stores also gave the glass away for promotions. Pieces were otherwise found at five-and-dime stores.

A carnival glass pattern uploaded by Wikimedia commons user russavia, taken by user aussiegall.

A carnival glass pattern uploaded by Wikimedia commons user russavia.

When the Great Depression came around, carnival glass had a decline thanks to the emerging of the depression glass patterns, which were very cheap, colorful machine-made glass.

Carnival glass has been called many things, such as “Taffeta,” “Cinderella,” and “Poor Man’s Tiffany.” It really only got the name “Carnival Glass” after World War II, by which time it had become collectible. Glass companies started to make carnival glass again in the 1970s, but collectors prefer the original, early 20th century pieces.

Red or pastel-hued carnival glass is especially rare. One ice blue carnival glass plate even sold for about $16,000 on eBay.

Do you own or collect carnival glass pieces? Let us know in the comments!


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