28 July, 2009

Real Photo Postcards

Real Photo Postcards (1900-1920)

Aside from the colored view cards from this period, real photo postcards, black and white photographs that were usually sepia toned, were printed. The surfaces of the cards are glossy like a photograph but with printed postcard backs.

Real Photo Postcard

I have seen several Philippine real photo postcards that show views of streets and buildings around Manila, American military personnel, carnival queens and private individuals. The Americans were curious about the costumes and customs of Philippine tribal groups so there are lots of black-and-white postcards that bear Moros of Mindanao or Aetas of Luzon. Have also seen vintage postcards that show natural disasters like typhoon damages, floods in Manila, fires like the postcards of the burnt Olongapo in 1910, and even the eruption of Taal in 1911.

27 July, 2009

Photochrome Era

Photochrome Era (1939-Present)

This is the modern type of postcards with beautiful chrome colors. The colorized images are produced from black and white photographic negatives via the direct photographic transfer of a negative onto lithographic printing plates. Similar to the Philippine linen postcards, postcards of this type were published by the Philippine Education Company (PECO) and printed by Curt Teich of the US.

Photochrome Era Postcard

Although millions of postcard of this type were produced thanks to modern equipment, it is believed that this is a scarce type here in the country, especially if you are looking for pre-war and post-war photochrome postcards.

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland

26 July, 2009

Linen Era Postcard

Linen Era (1930-1945)

After the White Border Era, a linen-like paper containing high rag content was used for making postcards. The printing of this type from 1930-1945 covers a period just before the outbreak of WW II through the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines. The most common and popular are the Philippine Education Co. (PECO) published postcards. They were printed in the US by Curt Teich. One has a white border and the other has a sort of edge perforation (like the postcard below).

Linen Era Postcard

There was no printing of postcards during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. If there were postcards printed in the US, these did not reach the country. Postcards that circulated here just before and after the war were presumed destroyed during the liberation of Manila. Others were either consumed by fire or thrown into the garbage, so only a few postcards survived in the country. Because of these, linen era postcards are quite scarce and expensive.

New Post Office, Plaza Lawton

25 July, 2009

White Border Era

White Border Era (1911-1930)

Because of unlimited importation of picture postcards coming from Europe, local printers in the US complained. The US government acted by imposing high tariff and duties on the imported postcards. To fill up the gaps as a result of the short supply coming in from Europe, local printers began to publish their own version of picture postcards, mostly reprints of the imported cards This also brought about the printing of another type of postcard known as "White Border Era," so-called because of the white border surrounding the picture.

White Border Era Postcard

Unfortunately I still do not have any Philippine postcard from this era.

24 July, 2009

Divided Back Era

Divided Back Era (1907-1915)

The greatest number of picture postcards ever printed and shipped to the United States, including the Philippines, was made during this period. During this time, a dividing line was placed at the back of the postcard. The blank space on the left side of the dividing line allowed for messages to be written by the sender, and the name of the addressee and address were written on the right side of the postcard. The picture or face of the postcard covered the entire area and with no border.

Divided Back Era Postcard

Some of the interesting subjects of Philippine postcards during this era are: transportation like the "tranvia" or electric train, early cars, fire engines, railroad trains, carromatas (horse-drawn carts); famous landmarks like the Luneta and Walled City; local and provincial view cards; maritime (commercial, shipping, US ships, river boats); native occupations (vendors, farmers); public and private buildings (churches, schools, hotels); military scenes; bridges; indigenous Filipino community (Igorotes, Moros, Negritos, Aetas); greeting cards, etc.

Postcard Wikipedia Entry

23 July, 2009

Undivided Back Era

Undivided Back Era (1901-1907)

In 1901, the US government finally allowed private printers to use the wording "POST CARD" to be imprinted on the back of privately printed postcards, but postcards still have undivided backs. The lines on the back are only for the name of the addressee and address, and the front or face of this postcard with a small blank space around or below the picture-view area are for a short message or greetings.

Undivided Back Era Postcard

Image Source:
1907 Postcard: Pasig River

22 July, 2009

Private Mailing Card Era

Private Mailing Card Era (1898-1901)

During this era, private publishers and printers were allowed to print, sell and use the wording "Private Mailing Card" at the back of the card with the lines for the name of the addressee and the address. The words "Private Mailing Card - Authorized by the Act of Congress on May 19, 1898" and "This side for the address only" were required to be printed on the back of all cards not issued by the government. Regulations also required that these cards be slightly smaller in size at 3 1/4 by 5 1/2 inches and printed in light colors of buff, cream, or gray. This class of postcard has "undivided back" similar to those of the pioneer era.

Finding Philippine private mailing cards are quite scarce.

Private Mailing Card Era Postcard

Private Mailing Cards 1898

21 July, 2009

Pioneer Era

Pioneer Era (pre-1898)

The postcard of this era is characterized by an undivided back. Written messages were restricted to the front side (as seen in the postcard below), with the entire back dedicated to the name of the addressee and the address only. A local view in black and white photograph covers the whole front or face of the postcard. Also during this period, only the government was allowed to use the word "POSTCARD" in the back of the postcard. When Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act on May 19, 1898, private publishers and printers were allowed to produce postcards.

There are no examples of Philippine postcard belonging to the "Pioneer Era".

Pioneer Era Postcard

Postcard Wikipedia Entry

20 July, 2009

History of Philippine Picture Postcards

There is actually no written records on the history of Philippine postcards. If you want to know more about the history of Philippine postcards, you have to know the history of US postcards. The Philippine postcards followed the style format and form of US postcards. The only difference would be, of course, postcards show pictures and views of the Philippines.

There were two events in early May of 1898 that had major impact on the production of picture postcards in the Philippines. The first was the defeat of the Spanish fleet by Admiral Dewey on Manila Bay that resulted in the arrival of American soldiers, teachers and tourists in the country. The second lesser known event was the passing of a bill by the United States Congress lowering the postal rate for picture postcards by fifty percent.

The book
Catalogue of Philippine Picture Postcards: American Period 1898-1941 by Conrado F. Ciriaco outlines the history of Philippine postcards. Using this book and other books and articles, I will try to discuss the rich history of Philippine picture postcard. This way I hope that fellow collectors and blog readers will understand and appreciate Philippine postcards.

Catalogue of Philippine Picture Postcards: American Period 1898-1941
Author: Conrado F. Ciriaco
Copyright: 1995

Philippine Picture Postcards 1900-1920
Author: Jonathan Best
Publisher: Bookmark, Inc.
Copyright: 1994

Consuming Passions: Philippine Collectibles
By Jaime C. Laya, editor
Publisher: Anvil Publishing
Copyright: 2003

American-Philippine Postcards: The "L.S.Co." Set, the Largest Set
Article by Michael G. Price

I would like to thank Mr. Michael G. Price for sending me a copy of one of his articles and for giving me permission to quote the article.