Real Photo Cricket Postcards are very collectable, they are often referred to as RPPC.
Collecting Real Postcards is a popular hobby and is rated by some as more prevalent than stamp collecting.
A bit of history
In the mid-1870s photographers began to use Gelatin dry glass plates coated with a photographic emulsion, this resulted in reduced exposure times and excellent definition. Eastman streamlined the process by supplying machines which would coat the typically glass plates, cutting out a rather messy hand coating application. The downside was that the resulting image required cropping to make it suitable for Postcards.
The RPPC originated in 1903 when Kodak began retailing a camera which was designed to eliminate the use of glass plate negatives, the camera a Folding Pocket Kodak 3A was suited to Postcard size film. Typical Postcard size at this time 3 ½”x 5 ½” A couple of years later saw the introduction of pre-printed Postcard backs which allowed images to be created directly from the negative, these became readily available and within a couple of years large numbers of people were sending Real Photo Postcards.
RPPC show far greater detail and are of a much higher definition than ink based technologies, images shown are unique and therefore in greater demand, this would not be the case with mass produced images.
Cricket Postcard Memorabilia
When collecting Cricket Postcard Memorabilia the golden rule is to concentrate on authenticity, an easy way to establish validity is to examine the card with a magnifying glass, if the photo has been printed dots will appear on the image and it is probably a digital copy. If the image is solid that’s fine it has not been printed. There are various ways to date Postcards, a useful point of reference is that the vast majority of cards up to 1900 were of the undivided back variety. From 1905 -15 it was common to see the divided back style in use. Interestingly pre 1907 it was illegal to write on the address side of a Postcard and script would be found on or next to the illustration.
The years 1898 – 1918 are often referred to the Golden age of Postcard publishing.
A number of RPPC are marked manufactured by or published by, some names may include Bolland, Hunt, photo work etc. these names are followed by the address of the publisher however often there will be identification markings.
Wrench (Evelyn) RPPC are dated 1900 -1906 and are marked with an individual serial number. Wrench was very prevalent at the turn of the century so expect to find some.
It is unfortunately not possible to date Real Photo Cricket Postcards with definitive accuracy unless one can validate any date stamp which may be present. It was common to use silver mix in the emulsion, over time this can be visible under magnification. Ageing of ink and make up of material can also be a more accurate advanced method.
The rinse and fix process can cause silvering which in time leads to a slight yellowish discolouration of the paper. Certainly most RPPC I have examined have been a brownish sepia shade or put it this way an off-white colouring is usually present on back of the card.
It is very much a case a buyer beware as there are many reproductions in existence, these will have been printed by a number of more recent methods.
I have written an article “Rare Autographs Real or Fake” I would suggest reading this prior to making any online purchases, there is an interesting section on autographed photos and far more detail on ink and paper identification.
RPPC of interest to me
An antique postcard is generally recognised as one published before World War I.
Antique Cricket Photos depicting cricket grounds and pavilions, Lords, country house grounds, Eden Gardens, Kennington Oval, Melbourne, Sydney etc.
Team photographs Pre 1938, India, Australia, West Indies, England
County Cricket: Worcs, Glos, Old Trafford etc
Individual players: Pre 1938 and including 1948 Ashes Series.
Test Matches: India, New Zealand, Pakistan pre 1934, Ashes Series pre 1938 including 1948.
The above are RPPC currently required for my collection.
Good luck with your collection.
Let me know how you get on???