Halloween Postcard Collection, ca. 1900

Value (2009) | $4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction

GUEST:
We had the privilege of getting to empty out my wife's great-aunt's attic. Complete attic full of stuffed dolls, postcards.

APPRAISER:
How many postcards do you think were in there?

GUEST:
Boxes and boxes and boxes. Thousands, thousands.

APPRAISER:
You brought binders and binders full of postcards. How did they get in the binders?

GUEST:
That was my job. I sat down and put them in little piles and separated them and put them in categories-- holidays.

APPRAISER:
Oh, you separated them by holidays?

GUEST:
Holidays, yeah. There were a lot of other holidays, too, but I chose to show the Halloween ones. Most of these cards are from about 1898 to about 1910.

APPRAISER:
There are some that were actually printed earlier than they were sent. Some of them have postmarks on the back from the 1930s, but the cards were made 20 years earlier.

GUEST:
Ah, I always wondered about that.

APPRAISER:
You did some research about this artist right here. You like her?

GUEST:
I do. A really sad story. Her name is Ellen Clapsaddle, and she went to study in Europe during World War I, and the war came and blew up all her original art, and she became destitute and became homeless. And she did a lot of these. A lot of these Halloween cards and other holiday cards were issued in series, where there would be four to eight in a series.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
You have a complete series of many of them. You had a series of the Clapsaddles. You also had a series of this set. These are embossed. The embossed ones go for a little bit more money. Many of these were made in America. Some were made in Germany, some were made in England. This is one of the common ones. Relatively inexpensive, not embossed, more for kids. This one I thought was interesting because she's blindfolded, and they're planning a prank. She was being tricked. You almost never see bats, especially as well done and artistic as that bat is. On the top here, the metamorphosis pictures, if you look at them one way they look like a skeleton or a face. But if you look at them deeply, you can see it's a drawing of people. These are great artworks.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Looked at more as art than as Halloween, but they cross over into Halloween because they're creepy.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Creepy's good. This one is one of my favorites. This is called lenticular. So when you look at a picture one way you see one thing, like the clown, but when you look at it another way, you can see a skeleton. As for condition, a crease on a card can devalue a card by 25% to 50%. You have a fabulous collection of Halloween cards. This book alone is worth as much as all of those other books put together. This book, if it was separated out and sold at auction, would bring somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000.

GUEST:
Wow. Wow. Wow, I had no idea, no idea. That's amazing. Thank you, Aunt Mary. $4,000 to $6,000 for that book.

APPRAISER:
Easy. Easy.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
allcollectors.com
Hudson, MA
Appraised value (2009)
$4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
Event
Denver, CO (July 25, 2009)
Form
Card
Material
Paper

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