US Stamps

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

May 3, 2021, 10 PM

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.

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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.