Where ever two or three are gathered…

#1543 Public Gardens, Charlottetown P.E.I. publisher not identified

In post card collecting, as in so many other things, if there are more than two of something then there is a series. If the items are numbered then there is a hope of  gaining some appreciation of how large or long the series is. Suspicious gaps might just be filled with a missing card.

For example there is a run of Pugh Postcards with numbers 42-1 to 42-12 and I have found images of all except 42-1 and 42-9.  These are all P.E.I. cards.  This suggests that a missing card will also have a similar subject, in this case scenes of Prince Edward Island. I am willing to bet that the two missing images are also Prince Edward Island   But it is easy to be fooled and as Mike Smith demonstrates in his terrific book on the Warwick and Rutter cards (soon to be published in a new and even more complete edition) a gap in the series of PEI cards could just as easily be filled by a card from somewhere else.

Standard back of the cards illustrated

The problem is compounded where there is a very short run of cards and the publisher is not identified. These “no publisher” cards are sometimes the work of local publishers but are more likely to be an unidentified national publisher. A case in point is the series of three cards shown in this blog posting.

Detail of card # 1541 showing textured finish. http://haggis.mccullochcentre.ca/document/2503

The stand card back is a simple upper-case “PRIVATE POST CARD” divided back card with no identifying serial numbers or unique printer’s information. The cards have an interesting slightly textured finish of fairly high quality and the colour work is subtle. For the cards in my collection the postmarks are all from 1905 or 1906.

The images do not provide a source for the photographs used but at least two of them, #1541 and #1542, show up on other cards from the period – again with no publisher noted.

#1542 View on Great George Street, Charlottetown, P.E.I. publisher not identified.
The same image being used on another “no publisher” card, albeit with a different caption
#1541 St. Dunstan’s Cathedral, Charlottetown, P.E.I. publisher not identified.

The issue for me is whether these three cards constitute the whole of this series as far as Prince Edward Island is concerned. Is #1540 or #1544 another P.E.I,. card or are these three cards the publisher’s P.E.I. sole nod to a national series. It is hardly likely that there three cards represent the total series, not with those numbers.  Has anyone else looked at these cards as constituting a series? If so have these been captured as a series by collectors.  The larger question is, of course, who was the publisher of these cards?

I would love to have responses from collectors from other parts of Canada as to whether they have collections of numbered cards of the same design from their areas of collecting.

P.S. 25 October 2020

Thanks to the miracle of the internet, part of the query that I posed above has been addressed. Andrew Cunningham, editor of the Toronto Postcard Club’s Card Talk has pointed me to Mike Smith’s book on W.G. MacFarlane. MacFarlane is almost certainly the publisher of the cards in question. The MacFarlane card titled “Public Gardens, Charlottetown, P.E.I.” is the same image as one of the cards above but lacks the card number on the face.

MacFarlane Public Gardens card lacking card number on face

However, as can be seen on the card back both the publisher name and the same card number appear at the lower left of the card.

MacFarlane card back showing publisher and number

Andrew’s comment can be seen below.  As he notes it is still not certain if there are additional cards outside the numbering sequence.

Author: sailstrait

I am an archivist, historian and small boat sailor. Since 2011 I have been skipper of "Ebony", a 1982 Halman Nordica 20. I sail in Northumberland Strait between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. A long time interest in marine and maritime history of the region has resulted in number of publications as well as the less formal presentations in this blog series. In addition I am a member of the Charlottetown Yacht Club, PEI Sailing Association and the Northumberland Strait Yachting Association. I have a specific interest in the history of the Charlottetown Yacht Club, Charlottetown Harbour, Northumberland Strait and the vessels that have sailed there over the years.

One thought on “Where ever two or three are gathered…”

  1. Hi, Mike Smith lists those in his W.G. MacFarlane guidebook. The P.E.I. cards he notes span the numbers 1521-1531 and 1541-1543. “1543” is entitled “Public Gardens, Charlottetown, P.E.I.” He also lists, separately, a few of the same cards (at least, the same captions) with the same numbers preceded by the letter “I”. It’s a common MacFarlane back (whether exclusive to him I do not know) but the design of the front, as you rightly note, is much less common. This just leaves us with a new “gap” to consider, i.e. that between 1532 and 1540.


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