French Indo-China – People on postcards

Amongst a huge postcard collection I have just bought at auction is a small album of around 150 cards from an area I previously knew very little about, namely French Indo-China. The main body of the lot was humour (400 Tom Browne cards, for example) and glamour from the Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods (many Raphael Kirchner, Barribal, Montedoro, Brunelleschi etc).

But it was the Indo-China cards that sparked my early interest and I have been listing some of them for sale on Reynard Collectables website here.

French Indo China was in place from 1887 to 1954. It included what is now known as Vietnam but which at the time consisted of three territories – Tonkin (North), Annam (Centre) and Cochin China (South) – along with Cambodia, Laos and Kouang-Tcheou-Wan.

My postcard collection seems very much centred on the peoples of the territories rather than the topography and include anything from opium smokers to farmers to a number of groups at market. People from the different areas are also shown, such as Dapcau, Sontay, Haiphong, DaNang, Laos etc.

Many of the cards seem to have been accumulated by a soldier in the French Colonial Forces and there are a number of cards (mainly of people in the Dapcau area) addressed to him as “Monsieur J Bonc, Adjutant 10e Colonial, Dap-Cau”. All these cards have Dap-Cau postmarks so I suspect he was mailing the cards to himself to get a used card with  proper local postmark – a stamp collector maybe?

There are several different publishers shown in these cards such as P.Dieulefils from Hanoi,  M.Passignat also Hanoi, Plante from Saigon, Ponjade de Ladeveze etc.

As I mentioned there are well over 100 cards, none of them common, and a great opportunity to build a new collecting area or add to an existing one. For me it all helps to expand my knowledge of past and current world social history and geography. Fascinating stuff, and all available in Reynard Collectables delcampe store here!



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Gruss aus, Groeten uit! Early pictorial postcards from the Golden Age.

I have already added a number of early postcards from a huge collection bought a few months ago, but now as I am listing more on Reynard Collectables delcampe store site I thought I would add a few more images.

The above title hints that whereas most have the caption “Gruss aus” (greetings from in German), I do have a number of similar cards from other countries including a nice selection from the Netherlands (hence “Groeten Uit”).

Amongst the lot were hundreds of Hotel and Restaurant cards and a number of “Hold to Light” cards which have an added dimension when a light is shined through the cards to reveal an otherwise hidden feature (such as moonlight, a cows insides etc!). When I can work out how to portray these in their best light (!) I will add a few pictures of these in a later blog but for now some of my favourites from the latest batch are shown below and these are available on Reynard Collectables delcampe store here. I am also listing one or two amongst my various ephemera and odd items listed on Reynard Collectables ebay store here.




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1797 document – The Fifeshire Fencible Cavalry Regiment pledge allegiance to the King!

A fascinating piece of military and social history surfaced in an old scrap book I purchased at auction last week. It was in the book with several totally unrelated and more modern items of ephemera, but this caught my eye when viewing the auction, if only for the early date of 1797.

It is a handbill document produced by a group of non commissioned officers (Sergeants) in a short lived regiment called the Fifeshire Fencible Cavalry. Fencibles were regiments organised purely for home defence and this regiment came into being in 1794, formed in Cupar, Fife by Colonel John Anstruther Thomson. They were only in existence for six years being disbanded in 1800 and seemed to spend most of their time in various barracks around the UK. This document relates to events while they were in Sheffield Barracks around the time of some serious civil unrest in Ireland and with a group called the “United Irishmen” seemingly trying to turn serving soldiers against King and Country (with some success I believe). In this document the group of named Sergeants are basically pledging their allegiance to the King (George III) and also offering a 30 guineas reward for evidence leading to conviction of any traitors.

For a regiment with such a short life I surprisingly found some regimental information in a website online, maybe because this regiment went on to be amalgamated into other more famous regiments? I must admit it is the first time I have ever heard the word “fencible?

Also I found that the paper printed on had a watermark “1795”, all fascinating stuff and I assume a fairly scarce and desirable (hopefully) item, and available for sale in Reynard Collectables ebay store here along with lots of other interest items of ephemera from various periods.


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One of the intense frustrations of on line selling no matter the size of your transactions is having to suffer occasional “paypal bending over backwards to give money to an unscrupulous buyer”, also known as chargebacks. In fact just dealing with paypal is so frustrating!

I sold some cards in January to a buyer in Hong Kong (“stampsfromhongkong” was his delcampe user name) and it took me a month to get the payment from him, and I then sent the items straight away with a certificate of posting obtained.

Now two months later and having had no messages at all from the buyer I get a paypal message saying the buyer has contacted them as he cannot access his delcampe account to find out if the items have arrived or not (??!!). On this flimsy evidence (surely a buyer would no if something has arrived or not?) paypal withdraw the £12 from my balance and ask me to respond.

I go into their “resolution centre” (do they call these things oxymorons?) and find I cannot answer the charge but have just three options a) Refund immediately b) Send proof of “delivery” (no buyer will ever pay £5.50 on top of postage for tracked delivery on a low value item so there is never any and they are not interested in proof of posting) c) Send evidence that the refund has already been sent.

No opportunity to offer evidence that I believe the buyer is fraudulently trying to take my money (he needs delcampe access to tell him if items have been delivered “to him”?? And the reason he has no access to delcampe is that they have suspended his account with only a 41% feedback rating).

I raised a complaint against the buyer but you NEVER get any dialogue with paypal and they just thanked me for sending proof of posting (??) and they would now contact my buyer for a response.

Now a week later I get a message from paypal to say they have found in favour of the buyer despite them never getting a response to the previous update, in fact I have never heard from the buyer after numerous polite messages.

From many many online forums you will always get this complaint about paypal always falling over backwards to find for a buyer even when some pretty strong evidence of fraud on the buyers part, but paypal are just so big and slippery you just feel helpless to challenge them.

Not a huge sum of money to lose but so annoying and frustrating that I spend years running an honest operation, always notify paypal of any spoof emails I receive and somebody with a proven record of poor trading comes in with a vague query of being unsure if something arrives and paypal cannot wait to throw (my) money at them!

I hate Mondays and Paypal.

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More early postcards – this time art and railways!

To combine your passion for art, railways and collecting old postcards, what more could you want than some of these early artist-signed cards from the huge lot Reynard Collectables has just acquired. As well as many other subjects and topographical views, there are a number of railway-related cards. The two shown below are fine examples of artists’ images of railway stations in the late 1890s, these being Frankfurt a/m (unsigned) and Karlsruhe (by Heinrich Kley).

Shortly to be available in Reynard Collectables delcampe store here or ebay store here.


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1900s art postcards – definitely works of art!

As well as around 2000 “Gruss Aus” style cards in the recently acquired auction lot mentioned in my previous blog, there are also several hundred “art” postcards from the same period, that is late 1890s through to 1910.

Most of these are signed and are by famous publishers such as Ernest Nister of Nurenburg and well known postcard and general artists of the time. Names such as Heinrich Kley, Henri Cassiers (my two favourites I think), Zeno Diemer, Weilandt, Mutter, Munch, Luigi Loir etc etc.

Many of the views are “impressionist topographical” views of places in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and several others. Some are similar in style to the aforementioned “Gruss Aus” cards just without the words, but including small vignette views.

These cards could make a lovely art subject based collection, either by artist, town/city or country, and are much more affordable generally than the “Gruss Aus” cards. To tempt you I have added a small assortment below, and shortly many will be available in Reynard Collectables delcampe store here or the ebay store here.

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19th century postcards and mini works of art – Gruss Aus, Art Nouveau and more!

I have recently bought at auction an expensive(!) and very large collection of very early postcards numbering around 3000, many pre 1900 with the earliest around 1890. This was an age when pictorial postcards were still developing and it was also, as the decade progressed, when some of the most beautiful chromo-lithographed cards were produced.

Of the thousands of cards, the majority are from and representing places in Germany, with Germany probably being the main producer of postcards up to World War 1. One subject field in this lot are ‘Gruss Aus’, literally ‘Greetings From’, and I have 1-2000 of these from Germany as well as Russia, Romania, Turkey, Palestine, Portugal and even the North Pole (Nord Pol). They are generally brightly coloured with multiple views and very attractive cards, although when used the sender had to try to squeeze the message around the pictures (for the uninitiated, pre 1902 only the address was allowed on the back of these cards, known as ‘undivided back cards’). These Gruss Aus were also used to send greetings back from a Naval ship, or an Army barracks as well as from holiday destinations. I guess similar to our ‘Wish You Were Here’ greeting?

These are not the cheapest cards to start collecting, with many over £10 or £20 each, but they offer a glimpse into an often much grander and more glamorous world as many have images of grand hotels and restaurants or large exhibitions.

I have included a group in the scans below and many will be available in Reynard Collectables delcampe store here and ebay store here over the coming weeks.

Also in the large lot were around one thousand early 1890/1900s artist-signed cards, including some beautiful mini works of art from artists such as Cassiers, Zeno Diemer, Kley, Mutter, Wielandt, Rossi amongst others. These are arguably just as attractive as the Gruss Aus but generally more affordable at often under £5 each. I will be showing some of these in another blog to give a flavour of just how attractive a collection of these could be.

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