A guest Post by Fitzjameshorse
A few days ago I was shocked to discover that dedicated philatalist Mr FJH had been out early purchasing some stamps featuring a former British prime minister, here is his response:
There was a “golden age” of the Postcard. Roughly 1900 to 1930. Postcards were effectively the Twitter of the Early Twentieth Century. I daresay most postcards that I have seen at Collectors Fairs have less than 140 characters in the text.
The thing about reading messages is that it can all seem a bit voyeuristic. But it seems that there were lots of spinster ladies who wrote postcards to each other of the “shall we meet for tea tomorrow?” type. Oddly a lot of postcards I have seen have been written to Royal Irish Contstabulary members to each other.
But this “golden age” of postcards coincides with major historic events. The Home Rule Crisis and the First World War. Indeed there are a lot of propaganda postcards featuring John Redmond and Edward Carson. And you may have seen some originals or copies in source material for GCSE and Leaving Cert courses.
In fact Propaganda Postcards made a re-appearance in the 1970s and 1980s. Most Belfast and Derry based republicans will have received Christmas mail, locally delivered with money going to Green Cross or whatever. A word of caution that some alleged “Provo” mail is actually produced philatelically for the American market. Likewise…most Sinn Féin or loyalist souvenir shops have postcards featuring hunger strikers or murals. “Official” prices tend to be inflated as American buyers seem to think they are much more rare than they actually are and indeed Belfast mural postcards are now on sale in mainstream souvenir shops in Belfast.
There was one fantastic bookshop…a lefty haven in Winetavern Street, Belfast in the 1980s. It even had a sign on the door “we reserve the right to refuse admission to people in uniform” and allegedly had a designated watcher from RUC Special Branch. It was not overtly “republican” (at least thats my recollection) but it had a lot of stuff about Central America, South Africa and general lefty stuff. “Leeds Postcards” published fantastic cards which were anti-conservative. I have a lot of them and thats the funny thing….I buy a postcard in the 1980s, little thinking that it might come in handy in 2014.
There is a lot of fun to be had in poking fun. For example in early 1990s I used British stamps of Royal Wedding (Lady Dis) to produce my own Royal Divorce souvenir. It should not have made its may to me postmarked on the day of John Majors announcement because I had vandalised…oops I mean a friend vandalised the stamps by using scissors to seperate Charlie and Di.
I was lucky to get that one.
Some time later I celebrated another wedding…Princess Horsewoman and some Navy Officer….it was low key in a Scottish church …I used stamps from her first marriage to the Horsey Man.
On that occasion Luck was definitely on my side. It went thru the sorting office in the usual way but was spotted and given a very clear dated postmark. Somebody inside the Post Office saw the funny side. Didnt Michael Collins work for the British Post Office?
On occasions, there is an opportunity to create just a little mischief.
But earlier this month, the British Post Office issued a set of stamps to commemorate British Prime Ministers. …including Margaret Thatcher.
Some suitable postcards from the 1980s, Tnatcher stamps and a little creative text and we can have some fun See these two examples. “Greetings from Northern Ireland” and “Gotcha” (Belgrano) both safely delivered. There are other versions which are far too tasteless to be published here.
Of course there is an opportunity to use the Harold Wilson stamp. Didnt he make that “spongers” speech.
Of course …it is all very silly. But my intention is that these postcards are passed thru my family.