9 Jan 2018

Happy New Year from Yesteryear

As the New Year is kicking into gear, and our idea of the obligatory New You is following suit, it is all too tempting to map it out of Brand New Things as opposed to just New Things! Now hold on. How about turning back the clock, especially as far as those vintage French New Year fancy cards (a.k.a. mignonettes) are concerned?

Bonne Année (1908)

The design of those yesteryear cards bears more gusto and compulsion than today's watered-down/ minimalistic representations. Look at those freestyle calligraphic fonts embossed in gold dust and swathed in flowers, a call for Spring in the thick of Winter: how dainty and desirable are they!

Bonne Année (year unknown)

Picture the scene: you get ready for breakfast, check the post as coffee is percolating away, and bring back half a dozen of those adorable mignonettes from the letterbox to your kids and spouse. Open them together and relish on the sweet words sent out to your family by other loved ones, as you sip café au lait and munch on chocolatines. Rejoice in the knowledge that the senders are receivers too as they too are experiencing the tokens of family joy which you sent them. 

Happy New You, Y'All!

Bonne Année (1912)
Bonne Année (1909)
Bonne Année (1906)
Bonne Année (1908)

Source: Move over, eBay, the big boys are in town! Delcampe is the specialised ephemera auction site from Belgium that describes itself as the greatest marketplace for collectors, with a current offering of almost 80 million items from the world over - I kid you not!

Postcards (> 46.4 million items to choose from!), postage stamps (> 22.8 million!), books, magazines and comics (> 2.6 million), old papers (> 2.5 million, anything from autographs to invoices and lottery tickets!), numismatics (> 1.1 million!), and other collectibles (> 3 million, including photography, advertising and music). From the commonplace to the rare collector piece, from the affordable to the extravagant, from the dilettante à la Mirabelle to the serious hobbyist à la J. Paul Getty, Delcampe has it covered.

Bilingual, so why not? A Happy New Year (1908)

You may kickstart your collecting career with less than five dollars to spare, making you the proud owner of a 100-year-old greeting card (see above). Collecting has to start somewhere and it might as well start with those as the risk factor is close to nil. Note the strong use of symbology for love, luck, happiness, peace, eternity and prosperity: heart, four-leaf clover, horseshoe, lily of the valley, dove, forget-me-not and mistletoe. (1) Bonne Année greeting card from 1908. (2) Bonne Année greeting card (year unknown). (3) Bonne Année greeting card from 1912. (4) Bonne Année greeting card from 1909. (5) Bonne Année greeting card from 1906. (6) Bonne Année greeting card from 1908. (7) A Happy New Year greeting card from 1908. Cards (1) to (6) are still available to purchase.

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