Saturday, May 15, 2010

Florida Float, Real Photo

Here's a real-photo postcard of a float in a parade. We don't know if the parade was in Florida though. The parade could have included a float for every state, and it could have been just about anywhere. Real-photo postcards are often highly sought after, depending on the subject matter. Why? Because they weren't printed, they were developed, and there was often only one card of the particular scene.

It helps a lot if you know the exact location of the photograph. It also helps if you know the date, although the stamp box on the backside of the postcard will help you determine that.
Real-photo postcards were developed on various papers, and they often included markings that help narrow down the date. For instance, this one has the letters AZO and 4 triangles pointing up. Because of this, we know that the postcard was printed between 1904 and 1918. Not exact, but better than nothing!
Here's another one, with an Al Capone look-alike on the right.
Where is his right hand? Is it holding a gun?  Are the men exchanging something behind the woman's back? Is this Mae, the woman Al fell in love with and eventually married? Here's the back of the card:
The letters PMO indicate that the picture was developed between 1907 and 1915.  That's, of course, very disappointing to me, because Al Capone was born in 1899, so that would make him no more than 16 years old in this picture.  So, I guess it's probably not Al.  Darn! Well, at least you can see the usefulness of these stamp boxes for determining the date. If you would like more information, Playle's website provides an easy guide to determine the dates of old cards.
Today is Sepia Saturday, so click on the link to view some beautiful sepia photographs accompanied by colorful stories.


  1. Oh, these are wonderful! Martin posted a photo postcard today, too! Wish I had some of my ancestors!

  2. I didn't know anything about postcard photos until today. How interesting! That splendid hat is quite something, isn't it?!

  3. I have some wonderful postcard photos of my family. Such treasures. Fun to hear you have family ties to Galena, KS. Some of my surnames from that area are Miller, Rathfon, Spangler, Cowan, Vick and Hayward. Any connections?

  4. Thanks so much for the information about dating postcards. I just looked at some of my old ones and none (that I saw, at least) have letters around the stamp box. But then the ones I looked at were commerical cards and not photographic post cards. I do have a few of those, though I can probably tell the date better based on information about the individuals in the postcards.

    Interesting that in the Florida postcard, the bird on the front almost looks real.

  5. I never get tired of speculating about the people pictured in these kind of postcards. And that is one fabulous hat!

  6. Thanks for the information about real photo stamp boxes and the link. I do have some American cards in my collection so it is useful for dating them. I agree with you that these one-off real photographs are of considerable historic significance.

  7. This good information to have. I now know what they are and can investigate their age. That boat is quite a float. Isn't that a man's hat sitting on the right man's lap?

  8. L.D.,
    It looks like both men have a hat in their laps. I guess it was considered polite to take them off for the photo, although I would have liked it with all three of them in hats.

  9. I think this is my first visit, Christine, but it surely won't be my last!
    I'm delighted to read the bits of information you can share about the postcards, but it's your commentary that make this really delightful!




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