Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bill the Deltiologist

As many of you know, and most of you are learning, I have many many MANY interests.

Ferris Institute, Big Rapids, Michigan. Circa 1890.
Today I'm wearing my deltiologist hat and enjoying the art of deltiology.

To save you the pain of looking up the word, in case you didn't know, here's a more lengthy than you care about definition:

Deltiology (from Greek, deltion, diminutive of deltos, "writing tablet, letter"; and -logia) is the study and collection of postcards. Professor Randall Rhoades of Ashland, Ohio, coined a word in 1945 that became the accepted description of the study of picture postcards. It took about 20 years for the name to appear in the dictionary the first time. Compared to philately, the identification of a postcard's place and time of production can often be an impossible task because postcards, unlike stamps, are produced in a decentralized, unregulated manner. For this reason, some collectors choose to limit their acquisitions to cards by specific artists and publishers, or by time and location.

You can wake up now.

Today I'm in Kalamazoo, Michigan at the Southwest Michigan Postcard Club's semi-annual postcard show.  There are around 35 vendors with hundreds of thousands of postcards for sale or trade. (Photos and blog entry later.)

It's interesting how some people collect cards.  I started my collection years ago when I found a Ferris Institute card in a box at an auction sale. I was instantly hooked and my collection grew. Today, aside from Ferris cards, I collect anything Pigeon, Michigan as well as the surrounding communities.

At one show I met a woman who had a three-ring binder with pages and pages of numbers. I watched as she picked up a card, looked it over, then checked her binder.

Curious, I asked what the number represented.  She told me that was attempting to collect all the postcards produced by a specific publisher. Luckily the publisher had cataloged and included a serial number for all the cards. She told me there were over 10,000 known cards she could collect.

You go girl!  I hope you win the lottery because postcard collecting is not cheap.

My prized possession is a RPPC (Real Photo Post Card) of the Pigeon Railroad Depot shown below, when it was still in use. The postmark on the card is from the early 1900s.  That card was priced at $75 from the dealer, but he knew he would hang onto it for a long time, so he cut me a deal.

Most cards I buy are under $5.00 each, but it's not uncommon to find one I "gotta have" in the $20-$35 range. The value of the card really only what's it's worth to the buyer.

Being a deltiologist isn't cheap, but it sure is fun!

Railroad Depot in Pigeon, Michigan. Circa 1903.
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