Friday, January 9, 2009
The Trade Card Trade
Beginning in the late 18th century, merchants in Europe and America advertised their shops and wares on small cards they would hand to customers. With the rise of lithography printing in the Victorian age, producing colorful trade cards became very inexpensive, and collecting these cards grew into a popular hobby. Collectors would swap their favorites among friends or paste them into their scrapbooks.
Collecting trade cards is hobby that was wildly popular in the Victorian era, but the phenomenon didn't last very far into the 20th century, as retailers took advantage of newer forms of advertising such as catalogs and magazine advertising.
We've got our own secret stash of vintage trade cards at Castle in the Air, and this month we've begun reissuing them for our customers as part of our postcard selection. And as a special treat for our regular visitors, we are giving away our own series of free trade cards -- one for each month -- with a calendar of that month printed on it. The first one is pictured at the top of this post. Come by and collect them all!