Thursday 5 July 2007

Postcards of the Day (and Night) No. 6 and 7

An opportunity to admire the art of the retoucher as he or she deftly transforms a postcard view of Cincinnati streets from day to night. Most of the vehicles and pedestrians are in the same positions but a select few have been erased in a half- hearted effort to conceal what’s been going on. In a curious way, neither image is convincing. The thought occurs that the night scene might be the original over which the retouch artist has spread a tepid wash of daylight.

The backs of the cards show they were posted to the same address in the East End of London in July and August 1920 and at first glance they might appear to be carrying a coded message. The likely explanation is, however, a lot less interesting. The words ‘Post Card’ have been crossed through and the words ‘Printed Matter’ and the name and address of the sender are stamped on the back. My best guess is that this was to take advantage of a concessionary postal rate of 1 cent (instead of 2 cents) that also required the sender to fix the stamps to the view side as per the instructions top right. No doubt a postal historian could explain this apparent service to postcard collectors.

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