Félix Potin Calissons Box Top

Cardboard box top for Calissons from Félix Potin, Paris, France. Circa 1880 to 1910.

Price:  $17.00           Size:  About 8 and 1/2 x 3 and 3/4″

For the collector of antique items from the French company Félix Potin or for the collector of antique pastry ephemera, in general:   A cardboard box top from a box of calissons. A calisson is a french pastry with a distinctive shape that’s made from ground almonds – below are some beautiful examples:

And how nice that this box top has hung around this long, over 100 years and counting. Imagine the lovely presentation the pastries had made as a gift for someone, or just as a treat for the one who bought them. The date of the item is estimated to be from around 1880 to 1910 due to its gorgeous Art Nouveau style border. In the center is displayed an aerial view of the cookie factory that was located in La Villette, Paris, in the 19th arrondissement. The weight of the box, or perhaps just the pastries, was 500 grams or just over one pound. Scrawled across the top is,  “guides de la machine”  (machine guides) and another word, difficult to decipher. Whether this was somehow related to the factory (maybe written by someone that had worked there) or is evidence that the box had held small machine pieces after the cookies were gone, or is from something completely unrelated, we may never know.

Below, a wonderful article clipped from The Wichita Price Current dated October 30, 1899 about Félix Potin. Bravo, Félix!

Sources:  Félix Potin. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%A9lix_Potin (accessed October 23, 2020).

“images of calissons” Google.com search (accessed October 23, 2020).

“The Biggest Grocer’s Shop In The World.” The Wichita Price Current (Wichita, KS) October 30, 1899. Monday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

Young Man’s Dream, Circa 1910

Two pals in Newsboy caps, skinny tie, bow tie and sweaters

Our guy from the top left, looking distinguished and contemplative, with pipe

Divided back, Real Photo Postcards, unused. Cyko stamp box. Circa 1910.

Price for the set of two:  $35.00

I had just spent a ridiculous amount of time comparing these two images to see how they were done. 🙂 Looks like the charming lake scene of an attractive young woman on a lake, with a partial border of lilies (very Art Nouveau) is the same size on both cards, one being just the reverse of the other. The shaped border, however, is slightly larger on the second postcard, so that part must have involved a separate process, then, of course, arranging the trimmed photos in the border would be next….but why dissect? The end result is beautiful and unusual, and possibly two-of-a-kind.

One can’t help but look for an artist name though, and in so doing might imagine seeing a signature (John something) in the shadow of the oar (top image) but a name glimmering on the water, so to speak, could just be coincidence.

As for time-frame, I’m guessing late 1900s to mid-1910s, in looking for men’s narrow necktie style, women wearing neckties, Art Nouveau, etc. There do not seem to be many examples of women in neckties in the 1900s – 1910s, and that was surprising. But here’s one below in the bottom right corner from a Google search for the popular British actress, Madge Crichton:

Mostly Madge

A 1910 advertisement from The Marion Star:

Sources:  Art Nouveau. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau (accessed July 1, 2017).

“Images for old postcards Madge Crichton.”  Google search, July 1, 2017. Google.com.

Marx Bros. & Hess collar and necktie ad. The Marion Star, (Marion, OH) May 14, 1910. Saturday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com)

Ushering In Easter

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Trade card, lithograph for The Fleischmann Co., Form No. 910A. Made in Germany. Circa mid-1880s – 1890s.

Price:  $10.00        Size:  3 and 1/2 x 5 and 1/2″

There’s the Easter Bunny and one Easter egg behind the young gentleman in the flared double-breasted coat with the wide lapels, checkered pants, top hat and walking cane, with gloves in hand. It’s a spring day, the lilies of the valley are in bloom, and the flowing red lines appearing from “underneath” the scene, as well as the flowing lines of the lilies of the valley, are very Art Nouveau; a beautiful advertising piece from the Fleischmann Company. A “Handsome Banner Picture” could be obtained in exchange for 50 Yellow Labels taken from the cakes of their Compressed Yeast.

Exactly what is meant by “banner picture” is not quite clear. And an internet search did not illuminate the answer.

As to the time-frame for the card, perhaps mid-1880s to 1890s.  An entry in New York City directories in 1886 shows,  “Fleischmann Maximilian, yeast, 701 Washn. & 219 E. 23d, h. 115 Madison av.”  which half-way matches the address given on the back of the card as 699-701 Washington St. The exact address given is proving hard to find in online sources, surprisingly. Newspaper ads show the 701 Washington address at least into the late 1920s. And numerous entries in various years show both “Fleischmann & Co.” and “The Fleischmann Co.”

Source:   Trow’s New York City Directory, Vol. XCIX, for year ending May 1,1886.  p. 606. (Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995).

The Tree Spirit

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This postcard is signed by artist E. Weaver. Biographical information was not found online but Sherry Arent Cawley, in Berrien County, author of one of the Postcard History Series put out by Arcadia Publishing, describes the artist as  “…a very prolific American postcard artist at the turn of the century through the 1930s. His designs, in sets of 8 to 32 are whimsical and humorous with many drawn in a simplified Art Nouveau style.”

Indeed, prolific is the word, as numerous cards can be found currently for sale, and in browsing through, it appears the artist used a different color scheme for each series; this above was one of a set in green and black, and shows the lovely poem,

“True Friendship

True friendship is a golden link

Which none should seek to sever

And mine will last, I truly think,

Forever and forever.”

The back is signed,  “From Your Most Humble Friend, O.S.”  and at the top,  “x x x”.  Another in the series was found currently on eBay dated by the sender in 1922.

Divided back, unused with writing. Publisher unknown, series or number 2328, 32 designs. “Art Birthday Message.” Circa 1922.

Price:  $5.00

Source:  Cawley, Sherry A. Berrien County (Postcard History Series). Charleston:  Arcadia. Author copyright year 2000. p. 30. (Google eBook).

Easter Day

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Divided back, used postcard. Postmarked April 6, 1914 from Mount Jewett, Pennsylvania.

Price:  $10.00

“The world itself keeps Easter day,

And Easter larks are singing;

And Easter flow’rs are blooming gay

And Easter bells are ringing.”

That’s a lovely poem for Easter, but what I love most about this postcard is the illustration:  There’s a big basket of eggs (quite large eggs) two bunnies and a little boy. I love the expression on the boy’s face as he holds the one bunny in his arms (and the bun’s expression, too) while the one on the ground gazes at the basket of eggs. Flowers on each side of the card frame the scene somewhat, and have a little bit of a flow-y Art Nouveau look to them.

The sender wrote:   “Best wishes for a Happy Easter. Your friend Annie.”   The card is addressed to:

“Miss Edith Johnson, Clermont, PA. Box 85.”

The village of Clermont is a “blink and you’ll miss it” location, according to Neil Anderson’s blog, Neil’s Neck of the Woods. “It sits a few miles south from Pennsylvania’s scenic Route 6 as it intersects county Route 146.”   (I was happy to find this description as Clermont was not showing up on my Google map search.) And here’s another great website regarding Clermont at Smethport History.

UPDATE:  Thank you to Judy, one of our informed readers, who states,  “Edith Johnson was the post mistress in Clermont, PA.”

Sources:  Anderson, Neil. “The Village of Clermont,” Neil’s Neck of the Woods. Web accessed April 5, 2015.

Historic Clermont, Pennsylvania, Virtual Tour. Smethport History. Web accessed April 5, 2015.

Fae’s Keepsake

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Here’s an Art Nouveau heart-shaped bit of ephemera. The back just has one word, “Fae”  written in pencil. It shows a country path veering off to the right of a cottage in the distance. It is no surprise that the artist added some yellow and orange to depict sunrise or sunset; these times of the day show up often in antique and vintage cards, especially where house scenes are concerned! What seemed out of the ordinary was the rounded band nearly surrounding the tableau, with it’s unusual design. But as it turns out this idea is not so unusual after all; many others within the genre can be found online, often highlighting the figure of a beautiful woman; a Greek muse, for example.

Embossed heart-shaped card with scalloped edge in Art Nouveau style. Circa late 19th to early 20th Century. Fair condition due to fold and small tear at top left, and wear showing at bottom.

Price:  $6.00   Size:  About 4 x 3 and 1/4″

Why On Earth Don’t You Write

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There is a Cora A. Seeley, age about 32, single, listed as a servant on the 1905 New York State Census, Saratoga County, living with Herbert A. Shaw, his wife Edna, and daughter Mary. Curiously, the census taker only marked an “x” in the place for city. The 1900 Federal Census for Milton (just southeast of Rock City Falls) shows Cora listed as “foster sister” to Herbert Shaw. Cora was born in New York, November 1872 according to this census.

The unknown sender of this card did not write a message to Cora, but mailed it from Rochester, Minnesota (exact date unreadable). I love the postcard header though, with it’s heart design in the middle and it’s surrounding Art Nouveau lines that incorporate two leaves flanking the header. And note the “wings” that flank the center portion above the heart. The front is a bit unusual, depending on how this strikes you, a little stark perhaps, a little odd with the red-orange earth that looks more like a basketball than anything. It’s copyrighted by M. Stein, 1907 of The Stein Company out of Chicago.

Undivided back, used postcard. Postmarked 1907 from Rochester, Minnesota. The Stein Co., Publishers, Importers, Jobbers, Chicago, Illinois.

Price:  $10.00

Sources:  New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: E.D. 07; City: Milton; County: Saratoga; Page: 3 (Ancestry.com)

Year: 1900; Census Place: Milton, Saratoga, New York; Roll: 1158; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0119; FHL microfilm: 1241158 (Ancestry.com)

Pretty Soon I Owe You A Letter

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“Pretty soon

I owe you a letter,

I must confess;

Will write

In a week

Or may be

In less.”

The sender wrote:  “Dear Lottie, Youre out of luck were going to Camp Taylor. Henry and Clara were over last night. They’re going home Sunday. Frank”

Addressed to:  “Miss Ethel Main, 522 Orchard St., San Jose Cal.”

I don’t know why, but I’m always surprised by the seemingly endless amount of different lettering styles that show up on old postcards, miscellaneous cards, and the like. Delighted though, to be sure. This one is no exception. Love the way the “o’s” overlap in “soon”, the rounded “w”, the dots added between the words, and the “n”, although the “n” in “confess” is different. I guess the ink got filled in on that one by mistake. Anyway, this is an Art Nouveau style card, as you can see by the flow-y lines of the few sprays of flowers and leaves, (timely for fall colors right now) and is also unmistakably Art Nouveau in the beautiful postcard header on the back of the card.

This is the first in a collection of postcards that are addressed to Ethel Main. Camp Taylor that is mentioned in the message to “Lottie” (or is that Lettie?) is today Samuel P. Taylor State Park, located in Marin County, about 30 miles northwest of San Francisco. Samuel Penfield Taylor, was a successful gold rush ’49er, who purchased 100 acres along Lagunitas Creek for the whopping 😉 price of $505.00 in 1855. Imagine paying $5.00 an acre today! On this land, Taylor set up the first paper mill on the West Coast. The full history of the park is really interesting. Check it out here:  Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

Divided back, used postcard. Postmarked May 18, 1915 from San Francisco, California. Publisher unknown.

Price:  $15.00

Source:  Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Marin Conservation League. Web accessed October 26, 2014.

Scenes On The Blue River, Kansas City, Missouri

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Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher:  The Elite Post Card Co., Kansas City, MO. Made in the U.S.A. Number/Series:  127  A-16656. Circa 1908 – 1914.

Price:  $8.00

Another Art Nouveau style postcard from The Elite Post Card Co. of Kansas City, MO. This one shows three tinted photo scenes of the Blue River, Canoeing, and “Camp.” The website Blueriver.org describes the river as “a wonderful little stream located on the south side of the Kansas City metro area”  and goes on to give a fuller account of it’s location. (I do adore this description which for me gives the river a cognizant – and rightly so – quality.) There is just something so compelling, mysterious, poetic and sacred about a river.

Source:  http://www.blueriver.org/

Views On Indian Creek, Dallas, Missouri

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Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher:  The Elite Post Card Co., Kansas City, Missouri. Made in the U.S.A.  Number/series:  157.  A-16684. Circa 1908 – 1914.

Price:  $8.00

“Views On Indian Creek, Dallas, near Kansas City, MO.”

Beautiful postcard with Art Nouveau lines and what appears to be tinted photos of three views near Kansas City, Missouri of:  Indian Creek, the bridge over Indian Creek, and Watkin’s Mill, built 1833.

Watkin’s Woolen Mill is a National Historic Landmark and a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark. The Missouri State Parks website explains that this woolen mill was the only one of 2,400 textile mills in 1870, that still contained it’s original machinery and equipment.

The publisher for this one (and the following post) is the Elite Post Card Company of Kansas City, Missouri. According to the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City, this publisher did views of the Midwest, and operated from about 1908 – 1914. They may have been having some struggles or started winding down by 1912 though, as a September 1, 1912 publication gives a short newsworthy note that the company was “petitioned into bankruptcy.”

Sources:  http://mostateparks.com/page/55172/parkhistoric-site-plans


The Bookseller, Newsdealer and Stationer, Vol. 37. New York, September 1, 1912. p. 160. Web. (Google eBooks)