Sunday, December 12, 2010

Obsession: glitter postcards

Sometime this year I got really into vintage postcards. Not all vintage postcards,  just the bas relief and glitter ones pre 1915. Not only are they beautiful to look at, their handmade elements fill them with personal history that illuminates and intrigues beyond the message on the back.
menacing glitter greetings
I can just picture some old lady hunched over her card table with some glue and a jar of glitter, trying to personalize her card. My favorite thing about these postcards is the amateurish quality of the glitter work! I love the clumsy, wobbly, and kind of spooky ornamentation. They are at once heavy-handed and delicate.  Confused and freakish, yet formal and flowery. The perfect balance.
all cards from my personal collection, with the exception of "To my valentine," which comes from this etsy listing.


  1. Hey-- What a beautiful collection! My grandmother who was only born in '20 used to embellish and sequin her cards right up until her death. It added a genuine nostalgic something to even the worst 90s hallmark cards she chose. I read that the earlier versions of this glittering (or "tinseling" as it was called-- isn't that appropriate) were actually often done by the publishers themselves, or by shopkeepers who were trying to add a little extra glow to cards that weren't selling. A manufactured effort nonetheless touched by that lovable crude handiwork. Or they'd sell tinsel kits for the at-home embellishers. Do you have any info on the material of your glitter? I know that around the '30s it became mostly plastic, but before then it was often glass, mica or preferably, silver. From the look of yours I wonder if any of them are the more precious silver variety? Anyway, what a cute new blog and I sure look forward to stopping in again soon!

  2. Hello, dear,
    Yes, I also came across sites that mentioned tinseling by manufacturers and shop owners! but there seems to be some confusion over whether this accounts for most or only some....I love how blurred that line is! You really just can't tell, as the guys in the biz seem to be just as unsure in their art as the senders!
    These are good sites that discuss the subject (though it seems you've read them!):

  3. the first site is super informative and also has some nice pictures to drool over of other glittercards!!

  4. yes I love these too and find them extra special when I am hunting for cards!

  5. i always buy these type of cards at the flea market with the intention of giving them as gifts-- somehow they just never make it out of my possesion!