US Stamps

John M. Hotchner

Checking out the other side: three artistic additions to 1¢ McKinley postal card

April 07, 2017 07:00 PM

  • A watercolor of houses on a rocky point of land and boats in the water was painted directly on the message side of a 1¢ McKinley postal card.
  • A bowling invention called the “Nevermiss Alley” was drawn in ink on the message side of a 1¢ McKinley postal card. While the card is horizontal, the drawing is vertical.
  • The cartoon artwork was pasted on the message side of this 1¢ McKinley postal card in violation of Post Office Department rules against adding anything to postal cards. In this case, it resulted in the post office uprating the card to the 2¢ letter rate, as evidenced by the 1¢ postage due stamp.

U.S. Stamp Notes — By John M. Hotchner

While a purist may ignore the back of a postal card, we collectors are funny people, and the message side might actually be of more interest in some instances. I am one such collector. 

For those who enjoy the extra dimension, I am sharing the backs of three postal cards that are more than 100 years old.  

Each of these 1902 1¢ McKinley postal cards (Scott UX18) was sent from a different state and has artwork added by the senders.

Connect with Linn’s Stamp News: 

    Sign up for our newsletter
    Like us on Facebook
    Follow us on Twitter

Two of the cards had the artwork applied directly: one by paint, and the other by pen. The watercolor painting is displayed horizontally, while the pen-and-ink drawing of a bowling invention called the “Nevermiss Alley” is oriented vertically.

A 1¢ postage due stamp was added to the third example, a card sent in 1907 from Bigelow, Mo., to New York City.

The Post Office Department’s rules prohibited the addition of any material to a postal card, and this one has a three-panel cartoon drawn on a separate piece of paper and pasted on the card.

Because of this add-on, the postal card had to be treated as a first-class letter and uprated, per regulations, to 2¢ as letter mail. 

Art on the back of postal cards is not often seen, but when encountered, certainly adds interest and value.