Fun with Antique Postcards

Last week I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Maine visiting relatives. A trip to Maine isn’t complete without an hour or two at an antique mall, but I don’t have room for many cool knickknacks in my little apartment, so I usually go home empty handed. This time I was smart and headed for the boxes full of antique postcards. I managed to take home three extra special ones for a song.

I can’t wait for 2012 to get here, because then I can wish someone the most terrifyingly happy new year ever!


Here’s another New Years card from Europe that’s bursting with unusual symbolism. Nothing says Happy New Year like mushrooms, clovers, and cannons, right?


(My dad interpreted the mushrooms to be champagne corks, which makes more sense. But boy, they do look like mushrooms, don’t they? And I saw clovers on several New Years cards, so I’m thinking that’s a European thing? Either way, I still think this card is creepier than the sum of its parts.)

And lastly, what’s more lucky than a dismembered piece of rabbit? How about a disturbingly illustrated one?


I’m really looking forward to someone’s next job interview, or maybe marriage. Good luck!

10 thoughts on “Fun with Antique Postcards

  1. Wow. The face on the kid in the second one looks like someone who wants to be one of the creepy clowns when he grows up. Like Bozo meets Lord of the Flies.

  2. Mushrooms and 4-leaf-clovers and champagner bottles are good luck charms for New Year at least in Austria :)

  3. I don’t know how you feel about the morality/ethics of it all, but this past Christmas, I copied the art from several postcards from my collection onto new blank postcards. I noted on the card that they were reproduced from vintage, and only used them for my own use. For bonus points, I also used glitter pens to highlight the artwork, like ladies used to do with purchased cards.

  4. I was recently given an entire library of circa 1980s knitting patterns (the kind you buy an issue a week from the newsagent) and one of the child’s patterns was a jumper I swore had a repeating pattern of whales and dummies (pacifiers). Turns out it was mushrooms and snails. The mushrooms on the postcard just reminded me of it. I think some sort of mushroom conspiracy going on.

  5. And the mushrooms have to be fly agaric to be lucky, at least in switzerland. And I think the cannon is used to give the signal when the new year beginns. When they didn’t all have clocks to know the exact beginning of the year, cannons where heard over long distanc.

  6. And the hares foot is a symbol of luck, too.

    Because it is so hard to capture or hunt a hare because of it’s ability to run fast and change direction unexpectedly.

    There is a sayning in Germany, that if you are able to put a pinch of salt onto the tail of a hare, you are a lucky person indeed.

    Other symbols of luck as pointed out already are four leaf clovers and chimney cleaners, ladybugs and putting a horse shoe up with the open end to the top.
    They are all associated with the new years celebrations and there is a kind of cultured four leaf clover plant they sell and adorn with pipe cleaner chimney sweepers and sometimes little marzipan piggies (standing for the piggy bank and wealth)

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