Mii-dera Temple, Ōtsu, Japan

Old photo, circa 1900 – 1910s.

Price:  $15.00            Size:  5 and 3/8 x 3″

Mii-dera Temple, also called Onjo-ji Temple…..

A Buddhist temple that was established in the 7th Century as a, “Uji-dera Temple (temple built for praying clan’s glory),” and one of the four largest temples in Japan. The view we see looks east toward the city of Otsu and Lake Biwa (the largest lake in Japan). There are some people appearing in this photo, as well – four men, one seemingly gazing up toward the person taking the photo.

Sources:  Onjo-ji Temple. https://www.japanese-wiki-corpus.org/shrines/Onjo-ji%20Temple.html (accessed August 16, 2022).

Mii-dera. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mii-dera (accessed August 16, 2022).

Indian Man With Monkeys RPPC

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1918 – 1936. Stamp Box:  K Ltd. 

Price:  $12.00

Jumping from Bali over to India, (at least, we presume this to be India), here’s a lovely, Real Photo Postcard of a man in a traditional style dress (the patterned portion is a lungi, I think) and cloth head covering. He likely has some fruit in his hand that the monkey is trying to get. You’ll see four monkeys in this image, probably all some type of macaque. The card is dated by virtue of the K Ltd type of stamp box.

Sources:  “What are the differences between Lungi and Dhoti?” February 23, 2021. mrlungi.com. (accessed July 26, 2022).

Joherey, Janhvi. “10 Native Monkeys of India – With Photos.” animalwised.com. January 30, 2017. (accessed July 26, 2022).

“Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes, K – L.” Playle.com. (accessed July 26, 2022).

 

Temple Guardians, Bali, Indonesia

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1910s – 1930s. Publisher:  Gevaert.

Price:  $75.00

This seems to be a rare card – we’re not finding any duplicates online – and the subject matter is great!

It was after a couple of days of research, and at the point of giving up (much online scrutiny of gods, deities, masks, carved repeating patterns, etc. in a surprising number of potential countries) that the location in question was happily revealed. Not surprisingly, it was the larger figures in the postcard photo, with their protruding top teeth, tongues hanging out, curving tusks, bulging eyes and bull-like nose, that took us (in that moment of certainty – like a space-warp instant travel) – to the island of Bali, Indonesia. (It would be nice to be able to identify each carved figure but that turns out to be more challenging:  There can be multiple manifestations, including both female and male representations of the same god.)

Below, our Google search result, and see the link in “Sources” for more information from the Bali Culture Tours website:

Sources:  “Balinese Gods With Their Manifestations And Their Meanings.” Bali Culture Tours. (accessed July 26, 2022).

“Images of Indonesia Deities.” Google.com search. (accessed July 26, 2022).

Sphinx And Pyramids, Gevaert RPPC

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Publisher:  Grevaert. Circa late 1930s – early 1940s.

Price:  $8.00

This one is in okay shape, good except that the card is curling, rather than laying flat. And it’s not necessarily rare; there seem to be plenty of surviving similar-view vintage cards, since the subject matter is so…..we normally take it for granted – incredible). I bought this postcard thinking about my great-great-grandfather, Giovanni Oliva, who, I had been recently surprised to learn (from a reputable family source,) traveled from his home in England, to work on the Suez Canal, stopping on the way to or from the work site to see the Sphinx and the Pyramids at Giza. (A Genovese Italian living in or near Liverpool who had traveled to Egypt – the stories he must have brought home!) Did he know of that other Giovanni from Genoa? explorer and Egyptologist, Giovanni Battista Caviglia (1770 – 1845). (I picture my great-great-grand sending a salute and a grin across the years.)

To try to pin down a date for the card, we turned to an old newspaper article, from November 24, 1936:  This was the first, in modern times, that the complete structure had been uncovered.

Sources:  Great Sphinx of Giza. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sphinx_of_Giza (accessed July 9, 2022).

Giovanni Battista Caviglia. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Battista_Caviglia (accessed July 9, 2022).

“Ancient Grandeur of Sphinx Revealed.” The Ithaca Journal. (Ithaca, NY). November 24, 1936. Tuesday, p. 1. (Newspapers.com).

Mena House And Pyramids, Giza, Cairo

Undivided back postcard. Postmarked April 6, 1905, Cairo, Egypt. Artist unknown. Publisher:  Lichtenstern & Harnel. Stamps:  Used Deux Milliemes, Sphinx and Pyramid, Green; Unused Un Millieme, Sphinx and Pyramid, Brown. Enlarge images to view condition for stamps.

Price:  $30.00

An unknown artist’s tableau of Mena House, a luxury hotel established in 1886, with the Pyramids of Giza behind it. Closer to us in the scene, the figure of a white-robed Egyptian standing next to a dirt road.

For comparison, a photo below, retrieved from the Library of Congress website, and taken from almost the same angle, but a little closer in:

The postcard is addressed to:   “M. J. M. Sluiter, Barendzstroat No. 40, Amsterdam (Hollande)”

The sender wrote:   “Voilà une adresse – Madme[Madame?] Egizia Romani. Minet-el-Bassal. Alexandrie (Egypte)       Ida Romei”

So, it’s kind of funny but “Egizia Romani” translates from Italian as “Egyptian Romans.” This leads us to think that maybe this was part of the street or district address, rather than a name. But not necessarily, as Egizia is an Italian given name and Romani an Italian surname.  What appears to be “Madme” then might be an incorrectly written abbreviate for Madame (Mme), since French is likely not the sender’s native language. (Ida’s an Italian living in Egypt, writing in French, to someone in the Netherlands. I love these types of criss-crossed connections across the globe!) The fact that Ida Romei had a stamp for her name and address (Ida Romei, Scharawe 22 Cairo Egitta – showing on the reverse) is unusual and may indicate she was a woman of some means.

Minet El-Bassal is a district in Alexandria, on the western harbor, that was built around 1810 and became famous as an industrial and trade center for Egyptian exports, including grains, sugar and most notably, Egyptian cotton. At the time this postcard was sent, in 1905, it was certainly prospering. It is one of numerous places on the planet that for economic and political factors had later fallen into terrible decline, with somewhat recent studies showing online regarding hopeful proposed revitalization. We’d be interested to hear from any readers who might be able to give us any up-to-date information.

A last thought:  In typing the above, the term “urban decline” of course comes to mind. But I wonder how easy it’s become to name something and then become blasé or cynical about it, in part, because it has been “categorized.” As in, we learn to react to the words and become indifferent to the events.

Sources:  “Mena House Hotel (1886)”. Historic Hotels of the World:  Then and Now. https://www.historichotelsthenandnow.com/menahousegiza.html. (Accessed June 23, 2022).

Maison Bonfils, photographer. Hotel Mena-House et pyramides / Bonfils. Egypt Jizah Jīzah, None. [Between 1867 and 1899] [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2004666753/.

Minet El-Basal, Alexandria, Egypt:  Urban Revitalization. https://www.behance.net/gallery/37446209/Minet-El-Basal-Alexandria-Egypt-Urban-Revitalization. (Accessed June 23, 2022.)

Bicharin

Divided back, unused postcard. Circa 1910s – 1920s. Publisher:  The Cairo Postcard Trust.

Price:  $15.00

Here’s a striking portrait of a handsome young man, a member of the Bichari tribe. As per usual, we wish we knew his name and more about him (note the scars) as an individual, not just someone indicative of a tribal group. And it hits home – the lack of education most of us have about our fellow travelers on this planet, past and present. Here’s a great site, if you have time:  Africa 101 Last Tribes.

Sources:  Bishari. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishari_tribe (accessed June 17, 2022).

Africa 101 Last Tribes. http://www.101lasttribes.com/tribes2.html. (accessed June 17, 2022).

La Crue du Nile Old Postcard

Divided Back postcard. Postmarked June 22, 1912, Alexandria, Egypt. Publisher:  POF or OPF. Stamp:  Postes Egyptiennes, Cinq Milliemes, rose color.

Price:  $15.00

La Crue du Nile…..The Flood of the Nile

The flooding of the Nile was usually an event each August before the Aswan High Dam was built in 1970. If you have time, take a look at this great article on the Saudi Aramco World site, “The Last Nile Flood,” by John Feeney.

This postcard was produced from a photo; at the time of this post, there’s a colorized version of the same scene available on eBay, but from a different publisher. The scene is two boys seated on a water buffalo, a man in charge of the animal at the reigns, and two men in charge of a camel, the one holding onto the camel’s tail. The boys and men are all posing for the camera.

Addressed to:   “Yonge juffrouw Lucie van Veen, Keizersgracht 254, Amsterdam Holland.”

The sender wrote:

“Alexandrië 22 Juni 1912. Beste Lucie, Ik ben nog niet op en kameel geweest, maar ik hed er al meer dan een op straat ontinoef. Ik denk heel dikwyils aan jullie allen en hoop dat je je niet te veel verveelt. Vele groeten.”

Translated from Google as:   “Dear Lucie, I haven’t ridden a camel yet, but I’ve seen more than one in the street already. I’m thinking of you all very often and hope you’re not bored too much. Many regards, Anie Schulthess.”

What a great way to start a postcard line, “I haven’t ridden a camel yet.” Love it! Neither Anie nor Lucie are showing up on Ancestry, however it’s always possible their descendants will find this card. We listed the type of stamp for the stamp collectors out there. The publisher’s a bit of a mystery:  Assuming that the initials go in the order of POF, if not OPF, however we’re not finding any other like this online right now or in the usual sources we consult (Metropostcard, Walter Corson’s Publishers’ Trademarks Identified and several others). Here’s the logo that’s appearing on the front of the card, bottom right:

Source:  Feeney, John. “The Last Nile Flood.” May/June issue of 2003, Volume 57, Number 3. https://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/200603/the.last.nile.flood.htm (accessed June 1, 2022).

Port Said Entrée au Canal Old Postcard

Divided Back, Used postcard. Postmarked November 11, 1913, Port Said, Egypt. Publisher:  The Cairo Postcard Trust. Series 306. Postally used stamp:  Postes Egyptiennes, Deux Milliemes, Green.

Price:  $15.00

Colored scene of Port Said, Egypt, entrance to the Suez Canal. Publisher or printer would have added the colors to this card which would have based upon a black and white photo.

Addressed to:   “Monsieur Foray, rue Pierre-Gay, Décines-Charpieu, Isère, France”.  The front is signed and dated by the sender. The signature (Springer?) is open to interpretation.

This card would be of interest to the Foray family. One possibility is Bernard Foray, who was married December 4, 1886 to Annette Vittoz in Décines-Charpieu.

Décines-Charpieu is located in Lyon, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France.  “Isère” in the address, was a little difficult to decipher, and then we wondered why it was included, but the question got sorted out by Wikipedia (in the History section):

“Décines left the department of Isère to join the department of Rhône in 1968, and became a member of the Communauté urbaine de Lyon in 1969. On 1 January 2015 Décines left the department of Rhône to join the Metropolis of Lyon.”

Sources:  Décines-Charpieu. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9cines-Charpieu (accessed May 28, 2022).

Archives départementales du Rhône; Lyon, France; Actes de naissance, de mariage et de décès. (Ancestry.com).

Aqsunqur Mosque (Blue Mosque) Cairo, Egypt, Circa 1910s

Old photo, circa 1910s. Cairo, Egypt.

Price:  $30.00             Size:  2 and 1/2 x 3 and 3/8″

A view from Bab al-Wazir street, Cairo

We’re taking a trip to Egypt. Here’s a photo found loose in a box at an antique store in Nevada. (There’s the photographer’s journey and then there’s the photo’s journey.) But, it’s always exciting to happen across the ones from far-off places, in this case to picture the individual traveling by steamer, along with his or her trunks, exploring someplace exotic, soaking in a different culture (though it probably wasn’t viewed in that terminology back then) and then taking a moment to write in a strong hand, “Cairo -“ upon his or her return. (Also, appearing on the reverse are the initials in pencil, “M.S.D.”)

Predominant in the view, the building with the rounded dome, is the Aqsunqur Mosque or Blue Mosque, along with its minaret, and another in the background. The mosque was built in 1347 on the orders of a prince, Shams ad-Din Aqsunqur, during the reign of the Mamluks. It is one of a number of “blue mosques”, so named because of its walls of blue tile, on the interior. The tiles were not added until a period of renovation in 1652 – 1654.

Rather dark in the image (click twice to enlarge) is a man wearing a Fez hat, standing very straight next to an auto with its top down.You can read what we assume to be the license plate. The gentleman appears to be in uniform (note the sleeve cuffs that are slightly short) and the small necktie. We’re picturing him as a cabbie or the driver hired by our traveler. Behind the car, barely visible, two men in white hats. To our right, a small wooden cart with large wheels; this would have been either hooked up to an animal or have been pulled or pushed by a person. (Both instances are seen in photos and postcards found online.) Further right, a small child in long dress and head covering, probably being watched by her mother, whom we can’t see due to the shadows of the building.

Sources:  Aqsunqur Mosque. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqsunqur_Mosque (accessed May 27, 2022).

Jama’a Al-Aqsunqur (Blue Mosque). (World Monuments Fund). https://www.wmf.org/project/jama%E2%80%99-al-aqsunqur-blue-mosque (accessed May 27, 2022).

A Detroiter, Circa 1910s by Photographer Charles J. Merz

Real Photo Postcard, circa 1907 – 1918. Detroit, Michigan. AZO Stamp Box.

Price:  $10.00

We’re taking liberties with the title of this post by presuming that the subject above lived in Detroit. In any case, he’s a handsome guy, here in dark suit, light-colored tie and pocket handkerchief, and a detachable collar. He’s seated in a carved wooden chair, which most likely, belonged to the photographer. And we wonder if this chair could have folded – is that a seam we’re seeing on our right above the armrest, or is it just part of the carving?

The time-frame for the card is based on the AZO stamp box, all four triangles pointing up, and the fact that it is a Divided Back card.

As for the photographer:  Charles John Merz, son of Christian Merz and Elizabeth Trost, was born September 14, 1872, in Michigan. Both parents were born in Germany. He married Buffalo, New York native,Tillie Bischy on June 5, 1901. Their daughter, Olive, was born about 1905. And, it turns out that Merz was in the photography business for decades, which is unusual for the time, given that most photographers (and there was so many that went into the trade) had either a rather short-lived career, or had moved on to other occupations by the 1920s. (It would be interesting to see statistics on this subject.)

Charles appears to have gotten started in the photography business around age 20, or a little earlier. The 1893 city directory shows he was working for, or with, photographer, Herman Baron, at 49 Monroe Ave in Detroit. By 1896 he is with the C. M. Hayes & Co. studio, and listed as a printer. The most recent city directory with the Michigan Avenue business address was found for 1919. On the 1920, ’30 and ’40 census records he is listed as a commercial photographer. By 1930 he, Tillie and Olive, are living in Livonia.

In searching for other photographs or cards several can be currently found for sale online. But, the Clements Library at the University of Michigan holds an old album containing photos from 1888 to about 1910, about 147 total, including a self-portrait. These images are not online but see the link below for more info.

Sources: “Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes A-B.” (Playle.com). https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photoa.php. (accessed May 24, 2022).

Year: 1880; Census Place: Frenchtown, Monroe, Michigan; Roll: 595; Page: 399B; Enumeration District: 178. (Ancestry.com).

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1893. pp. 232 and 847. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1895. p. 961. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Detroit Ward 10, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 751; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0109; FHL microfilm: 1240751. (Ancestry.com).

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 73; Film Description: 1901 Tuscola-1902 Branch. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Detroit Ward 14, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T624_686; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0217; FHL microfilm: 1374699. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Detroit City Directory, 1919. p. 2840. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Detroit Ward 15, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_814; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 457. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1930; Census Place: Livonia, Wayne, Michigan; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 1015; FHL microfilm: 2340810. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1940; Census Place: Livonia, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: m-t0627-01833; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 82-177A. (Ancestry.com).

“Charles J. Merz Photograph Album (1888 – ca. 1910).”  Charles J. Merz photograph album, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan. (accessed May 24, 2022).