France – The Golden Age of Aviation

I have always admired the early postcards,programmes and graphics from the many and varied French Air Shows from the early 1900s through to the 1930s and was delighted to be able to buy a collection of these items at a recent auction.

The items range from small vignette/cinderella labels or stamps, very stylish meeting postcards and also a few very scarce official programmes which as well as great cover graphics and small bios and pictures of famous pilots of the time also contained some fine period adverts.

Although it grieves me to have to do this I have started listing the items for sale on my Reynard Collectables ebay store here, but thought I would showcase a few images from the collection with more maybe to follow!


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WW2 Allied Forces Football in Italy

My previous blog mentioned the diversity of items I accumulate and highlighted a 1950s theatrical archive compiled by artistes “Desiree and Pierre”  and to emphasise this diversity another recent listing in Reynard Collectables ebay store is another collection but this time an album of footballing photos and ephemera put together by a British serviceman in Italy towards the end of WW2.

There are many references to wartime emergency football in this country with players sometimes turning out for a team other than the one they were signed for often because of where they were stationed for their National Service.

However this seems to be mostly “normal” chaps turning out for their regiment or unit in various locations around Italy such as Florence, Siena, Ancona, Arezzo etc. I did manage to do a small amount of research though and found one or two professional footballers in the various teams (there were a number of match programmes in the album, so lots of useful names to research) including the wonderfully named Cpl Smellie whi I think turned out for St. Johnstone in Scotland, I also found at least one player who before the war was with Wolverhampton Wanderers. I would expect with more research more illustrious names might crop up but time didnt permit any more research much as I would have liked too!

There are many photos inside large stadiums, Florence in particular, with lots of action photos, medal presentations and team line ups including that of 15 HQ Signals team who it seems had won the Florence Command knockout competition as well as being champions of both 55 Area and District 1.

I like the programme also and in amongst these are matches against a Polish Army XI (in Siena) and also a Czechoslovakian Army XI (played in Florence) with all the opposition players and some of the “home” players having signed the programme. I am sure with some research more of the history of some of these players careers back in their homeland could be found? There is also a nice photo of the Polish team before the match along with a few action shots and also a small press report on the Czechoslovakian match.

All in all a superb and rare item of an aspect of the war that is not often shown in such detail and one that will as mentioned benefit from more research.

The description and more pictures can be found in the Reynard Collectables ebay listing here.WW2 Allied Football in Italy



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1950s Risque Theatre “Desiree & Pierre”

One of the joys of the collectables business is you never know what is going to come in next. To emphasise this point I am penning a couple of blog posts to highlight a couple of fascinating lots I have just listed in Reynard Collectables ebay store.

The first of these is a small collection of albums compiled mainly in the 1950s by an act called “Desiree & Pierre” who seemed to tour all over Europe with their act which seemed to entail Desiree wearing fewer and fewer clothes and Pierre dressing up as a gorilla or the Devil amongst other unusual themes!

There are many photos including an exhaustive study of the act with the gorilla costume as well as a trip to Amsterdam Zoo in 1958 for a photoshoot with a real ape and also to be filmed climbing a tree in “King Kong” style. Also seen is Pierre the Gorilla wrestling the Dutch World Judo champion Anton Geesink amongst other bizarre poses.

There are also many references to other acts they toured with along with photos and many dedications to Desiree and Pierre as they worked their way around Europe from Essen to Wiesbaden to Koln, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Dusseldorf, Den Haag and various cities in Turkey.

Fascinatingly there is also their contact/reference book with all their hundreds of agents, impresarios, photographers, interpreters, family, friends etc.

I have added a few pictures from the collection with this blog but for me have a look on the Reynard Collectables ebay listing here.Reynard Collectables Desiree & Pierre listing


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Linen Postcards Origins in Europe not USA?

As a huge fan of the vibrant colours and unusual locations of the “linen” textured postcards produced in the 1930-50s by companies such as Curt Teich and Asheville I have built up a fairly large stock. Some years back I did write a blog (see U.S.A. -Linen Postcards dated 2012, one of my earliest blogs) and included a few of my earliest aquisitions. I particularly like the obscure highway motels and the brash large letter city name cards.

Linen cards refers not to the paper content but the surface texture of the cards resembling a uniform vertical and horizontal lined texture. My assumption from reading mainly US research and information on line was that this type of card originated in the US but I think I have disproved this while sorting through my Reynard Collectables large stock of French postcards of the 1900s to 1920s.

I came across a few cards in colour (admittedly without the vibrant colours of the later US cards!) and with a definite linen texture, consisting of uniform dots and lines. The Rouen card is unused but definitely early 1900s and has “Editeur: Barrau-Crampon, 61, rue Jeanne d’arc, Rouen” along bottom edge. The St.Malo card is postally used from Sevres in 1920 and along the bottom left edge is printed “Bazar Parisien, Paraine” (not certain about the last word as it is mixed with the image).

I have added a couple of photo images of these cards which although not fantastic quality hopefully show some of the surface texture. The cards also have a toned coloration which may just be something that has happened over time due to exposure to light. I have preceded these with one of my US linen cards to show the contrast in the vibrancy of the colour in the later cards compared with the fairly gloomy earlier French “linen” cards.

Not a discovery that will change the world, and it may not even be a first but it is new to me!

At various times items from Reynard Collectables fascinating (to me!) stock of paper collectables are available in by ebay and delcampe stores. Just click on the appropriate store and it will take you there.


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Anyone for tennis – Wimbledon 1900s & Olympic Champions

I have just been listing on my Reynard Collectables ebay store a very fine group of about thirty postcards, bought last year as part of a massive (and expensive!) collection at auction. The major part of the collection was glamour and humour cards, some of which have already been featured on here, but as the Wimbledon Championship fortnight is looming I thought I would take the opportunity to put these tennis-related ones up for sale. Aside from the fact that they are very fine photo cards of Edwardian sporting stars, they were also fascinating to do some research on while completing the listings.

I think they are all from around 1906 and include three cards showing men’s singles and doubles finals, with the courts – and especially the grandstands – a far cry from today (I think this is not long before they moved to the current home of the All England Club at Church Road).

The rest are of individuals or a few doubles pairs and include some of the “superstars” of the time. For instance the English Doherty brothers (Reginald and Hugh Laurence) won a huge number of singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon, won the Davis cup numerous times and several Olympic Games titles. Hugh was also the first non American to win the US national title (now the US Open). It is said that they only started losing as their health declined, as both suffered through poor health pretty much through their lives, and Reginald died in 1910 aged only 38, just four or five years after his last major win. His brother Hugh Laurence Doherty won his US crown in 1903 amongst a number of Wimbledon titles, singles and (with his brother) doubles. But he also died young, in 1919, aged only 43, having been invalided out of WWI due to ill health. He had actually given up tennis in 1906 to take up golf, at which he was also a fine player! The brothers were eventually inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1980.

Or what about Anthony Wilding, a New Zealander who won numerous Australian and Wimbledon titles (singles champion at Wimbledon 1910,11,12,13), both singles and doubles, and was for a time world number one. He died in WWI at Neuve Chapelle in 1915 (one of his commands was a fleet of armoured Rolls-Royce cars!). He is still remembered in New Zealand and has a foundation in his name – the Wilding Foundation. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.

Another interesting story was that of Karl Behr, a New Yorker who although a decent tennis player (Wimbledon doubles and US championship singles finalist) didn’t seem to have a record anywhere near that of the previously mentioned players, but was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame well before them (but he was American!). His main claim to fame was that he was a survivor of the RMS Titanic, sinking along with his fiancee and a group of other first class passengers. He died in 1949 aged 64.

Behr’s doubles partner in their Wimbledon final defeat in 1907 was Beals Wright, also from the USA, and although he never won a Wimbledon title he did win numerous US national titles and also two Olympic titles at St Louis in 1904. He died in 1961, aged 81, and had been inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1956.

The above are just a few of the highlights from fascinating personal stories from a bygone age. Other names include Norman Brookes (Australian), Sydney Smith, Dorothea Douglass, May Sutton, Dr Wilberforce Eaves (!), Roper Barrett, Alfred Gore, Major Ritchie (his name not his rank!), Otto Froitzheim, Max Decugis and George Hillyard (who later became AELTC secretary and under whose supervision the club moved to their current home at Church Road).

All in all, a fascinating slice of sporting and Edwardian social history and a very enjoyable few hours listing these cards, which are available (if not already sold) on the Reynard Collectables ebay store here.


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Theatrical Postcards from the Golden Age

My last two blog posts have shown postcard art and Indo China postcards from a fabulous collection Reynard Collectables have just bought at auction, but they are only part of a much larger whole. There are many hundreds of vintage comic cards (a whole album with 100’s of Tom Browne cards), not particularly the very racy cards of the 1950/60s but more the gentler humour of the golden age and into the 1920/30s.

Also seen are a collection of vintage advert cards, some of which I will show in a couple of weeks but for this blog I thought I would show a small selection of the theatrical cards (again several 100 different in the collection) with most being the art poster types.

There are a few of the “playbill” type and one I have shown here includes a mixed bill including Louis Armstrong and Max Miller which I think must be from the 1930s? Also shown a nice early card promoting an individual artist Robert Steidl (I have several similar of different artists). I also particularly like the more minimalist art deco type cards by Nerman of which I show the one of the play “Thark”.

Just as stylish in their own way as the art nouveau and deco cards in my previous blog, but also they compliment very well Reynard Collectables large stock of vintage theatre,opera and ballet programmes and ephemera.

Some of these will be listed for sale shortly possibly on the new Reynard Collectables website (tba) or on their ebay or delcampe stores which will both be open again for business after the christmas holiday.

Enjoy these for now as a taster!


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Art Deco & Art Nouveau postcards

From a fabulous (and probably fabulously expensive!) postcard collection I bought recently I thought I would share a very small sample of the cards on here. There are some wonderful cards in the collection including sets by Brunelleschi, Sager etc as well as a large number of the different art nouveau designs by Raphael Kirchner. Other artists either art deco or art nouveau include Hassall, Montedoro, Bompard, Corbella, Hans Christiansen, Stoopendaal amongst many others and all original cards from early to 1900 to the 1930s. There are a few advertising cards including some very stylish art deco designs for the Red Star shipping line and I have included one of those in here.

I might add a few more later in the holidays but I will be listing these cards for sale either in Reynard Collectables ebay or delcampe stores (both shut for the holidays until 29th December) but also hopefully in a new website of my own. If you are interested take a look in a couple of weeks otherwise just enjoy these miniature artworks!

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