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