Rare circa 1912-195 Walter Johnson “Birthplace” real-photo postcard. The design of the postcard features a photo of Johson as a member of the Washington Senators to the right, and a larger photo of his “Birthplace and Boyhood Home, Humboldt, Kansas” to the left. Johnson’s facsimile signature appears beneath his image. This postcard was created and published by W. C. Caldwell, as noted by his copyright in the lower left. Caldwell was an avid publisher of what he called “combination postcards” and this Johnson postcard was his best seller. He acknowledged that in an article titled "The Production of Combination Postcards," that he submitted to the 1915 trade journal American Photography, Volume 9. In part:
That which can be made very remunerative is the making of what I call, for want of a better name, combination photographs, a branch of photographic work which I have never seen mentioned in the various trade journals. There is probably a larger demand for these in the postcard field than elsewhere, and they can be roughly divided into two classes—those used for advertising and the view cards. . . . The Walter Johnson card is the most successful one, financially, I ever made, as thousands of these have been sold all over the United States wherever baseball is played. In this one the prints were mounted on a tan-colored board, the autograph was gone over with India ink and the title lettered on a piece of white paper. The ink lines were then drawn around the different parts uniting them into one picture.
Despite the fact that thousands of these Johnson “Birthplace” postcards were published, few have survived. This is one of only approximately 10 examples we have ever seen and the first we have offered. The postcard (5.5 x 3.5 inches), which has not been addressed or mailed, displays a heavy vertical crease near the left border, a number of moderate creases, and light staining on the reverse. In Good condition overall. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+.
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