Errors and Oddities

Printing errors and oddities, such as secret codes, esperanto, shorthand and other interesting items. Page under construction. Much more to be added.


Printing Errors


A Major Colour Shift, Lambert Stationer, St Annes-on-the-Sea, 1904

Published by Lambert Stationer of St Annes-on-the-Sea or Lytham St Annes in Lancashire. This card, showing the Promenade Gardens in Lytham St Annes, has a major colour shift and was sent from St Annes to Leyland in October 1904.


Another Colour Shift, BS Reynolds, Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, c.1920s

Published by B.S. Reynolds Co, Washington DC. This card, showing the famous Lincoln Memorial, has another major colour shift, similar to that above, but shows more clearly the effect of the mix of blue and yellow to create the green.


The "Inland Revenue" Printing Mistake, Bacon's Excelsior Post Cards, 1906

A postcard showing a map of the Isle of Wight by G W Bacon & Co Ltd of London and, on the back, instead of the usual "For INLAND POSTAGE only this Space may be used for Communications", or similar, this card states "THIS SPACE MAY BE USED FOR COMMUNICATIONS INLAND REVENUE ONLY". The card was postally used from Shanklin in 1906 and sent to Hale in Cheshire.



The 'Carte Posatle' Error - Lévy Fils et Cie - Le Pont de Flandre, Armentières, c.1910

Published by Lévy Fils et Cie of Paris, undeniably masters of their art, ordinary examples of this animated card of Le Pont de Flandre at Armentières, LL 30, are collectible and command a reasonably high price, but this one features the very rare Lévy "CARTE POSATLE" typographical error which pushes the card into the 'hen's teeth' category. I've only ever seen two examples of this error, the other is below.



A Further 'Carte Posatle' Error - Lévy Fils et Cie - Le Rocher Percé, Biarritz, 1921

A further example of a card published by Lévy Fils et Cie of Paris featuring the very rare 'CARTE POSATLE' typographical error. This card features the rock arch known as Le Rocher Percé at Biarritz, LL 209, and was postally used from Biarritz on 9th September 1921 and sent to Monsieur J Menin, Ingénieur des Travaux Publics de l'État at Hanoï in Vietnam. Although the subject of the card itself is far less collectible than the Armentières example above the error still makes the card highly desirable.



Another Typographical Error - EGYTP - Ready for a Drive, Cairo, c.1910s

A further example of a French card published with a very obvious typographical error. This time the card has POST CARD - EGYTP at the top of the back instead of POST CARD - EGYPT. The card features a family group on a mule-drawn cart setting off for a drive and is postally unused. Although the front of the card and main heading, including the typo, is in English, the card is undoubtedly French. It is titled on the back in French and is numbered L.C. - 184, so was possibly produced by Charles Collas & Cie of Cognac, though that's merely speculative as Collas was known to use the initials LC on occasion, though it has to be said that the typeface used isn't familiar to me with respect to Collas. I also have similar L.C. cards of Alexandria.



St Michael's Church, Alphington, c.1902, with Danish Back

A postcard by an uncredited publisher showing St Michael's Church at Alphington in Devon. The card was printed in Germany and has, in error, been given an undivided back designed for the Danish market.



Frederick Kempster, The Tallest Man in the World, Dr Barnardo's, c.1910

A postcard printed and published by the Press of Dr Barnardo's Homes and showing Frederick Kempster, at 8ft 2in reputedly the tallest man in the world and a former lad from Dr Barnardo's Homes. Fred Kempster was born in Bayswater in 1889 and after his father died on Christmas Day of 1897 his mother placed him and his brother George into a Barnardo's orphanage. He later toured the world in circuses and was placed under house arrest in Berlin at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. He died of the Spanish Flu in Blackburn during the 1918 pandemic, aged 29. The card has a badly misaligned front which, perhaps, adds to its charm.



Christian Science Church, Boston, Massachusetts, c.1910

A postcard showing a view of the Christian Science Church at Boston, Massachusetts. The publisher isn't stated, but as the card has a badly misprinted back, turned 90°, any text on the left and right sides would be missing. A very similar, though not identical, view was published by Mason Bros of Boston, but I have seen one example identical to this particular card, dated 1910, though in that case the publisher was only identified by a large letter B to the bottom left corner.



Restaurant Coomans, Rotterdam, c.1920s

A postcard showing a view of the lavish interior of the Restaurant Coomans in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where the tables are set and the waiters are lined up ready to serve. The card was published by Weenenk & Snel of Den Haag and has a badly misprinted back, though in this instance the majority of the title and the publisher's logo are visible.



Westminster Bridge, London, 1906

A postcard showing a nice vignette view of the throngs of horse-drawn carts and omnibuses crossing Westminster Bridge in London. The publisher is not stated and although the back is badly misprinted it is unlikely that the publisher's name was ever stated anyway.



Hymn Card - Faith, c.1905

A sepia real photographic postcard showing a view of a young girl with a halo kneeling beside a cross with, ironically perhaps, the words to part of the hymn Change is our portion here by James Harrington Evans. The card was published by Rotary Photo of London, No 7845 in the Rotary Photographic Series, produced c.1905. Although the back is misprinted the details are all present.



Multiview, Dewsbury, Yorkshire, c.1920s

A sepia real photographic postcard showing five views of Dewsbury in Yorkshire, including the War Memorial at Earlsheaton, the Children's Lake in Batley Park and the mansion in Crow Nest Park. The publisher isn't stated, though is numbered 15. The back has been misprinted, though it is unlikely that it ever stated the publisher.



Chapelle Saint-Joseph, Ancien Château Fort au XIVe siècle, Léhon, c.1910s

A printed monochrome postcard showing a view of the ruins of the Chateau Fort de Léhon and Chapelle Saint-Joseph near Dinan in Brittany, France. The publisher isn't stated, though is numbered 2066. The back has been misprinted, though it is possible that correctly printed copies do state the publisher.

Postmark Errors




Postmark Errors and Surcharge, c.1904

A postcard featuring double Camborne cancellations which appear to be missing the year, but have instead what appears to be an italic N or a backwards number 4, or some similar symbol to the left of where the year should be. Both cancellations feature the same mark. The front of the card has a real photographic image of the actress Mabel Terry Lewis which is covered in glitter and was published by C W Faulkner & Co of London. The glitter was deemed contrary to regulations at the time and the card has thus incurred a 1d surcharge. Other cards from the same album suggest a date of 1904.


Languages and Codes



Fête Annuelle, Union Sténographique Suisse, Genève, 1905

A gorgeous printed colour Art Nouveau design postcard showing an illustration of a beautiful young woman above a view of Geneva in Switzerland and advertising the 11ème Fête Annuelle of the Union Sténographique Suisse, Aimé Paris, at Geneva on 15 and 16 July 1905. Published by R. Haefeli & Cie, Chaux-de-Fonds, not numbered. Postally used from Neuchâtel and with a short message in shorthand and sent to Hilversum in the Netherlands, via Amsterdam.


Fête Annuelle, Union Sténographique Suisse, Lausanne, 1906

Printed colour Art Nouveau design postcard showing a view of Lausanne in Vaud, Switzerland and advertising the 12ème Fête Annuelle of the Union Sténographique Suisse, Aimé Paris, at Lausanne on 14 and 15 July 1906. Published by A Chateau, La Chaux-de-Fonds, not numbered. Postally used from Lausanne and with a short message in shorthand.



Message written in Shorthand, In Dickens Land, 1904

A printed colour "Oilette" postcard by Raphael Tuck & Sons of London, No 6050, showing an illustration by Phiz, a.k.a. Hablot Brown, of Captain Cutter from Dombey & Son by Charles Dickens and with a message written in Shorthand. The card was posted on New Year's Eve of 1904 from Preston and sent to Ashton-on-Ribble.



Another Message written in Shorthand, Windsor Castle, 1909

A printed colour postcard by Horrocks & Co of Ashton-under-Lyne, No 16, and with a small advertisement for Wood-Milne's Rubber Heels to top centre. The front shows a view of Windsor Castle. This card also has a message written in Shorthand. The card was posted on 21 April 1909 in Garforth, Leeds and sent to nearby Bramley.

Morse Code


Message written in Morse Code, 1910

A printed colour postcard "In Friendship's Name" and with a message written in Morse Code. The message, in part, reads "March 1st. Glad you liked the P.P.C. I sent you love. I must also thank you for yours. I like it very much. Remember us to all in Widnes and thank them for their kind remembrance with kind regards from ME to self and love from MABEL XXX".




Rue de Rambouillet, Paris Inondé, 1910 - AHB Photo CPA - Esperanto Verda Stelo

Sepia real photographic postcard showing a view of soldiers and a boat on Rue de Rambouillet in Paris, France during the floods of 1910 and with a Verda Stelo sticker to the front indicating Esperanto usage. The message is written in Esperanto by Monsieur Guerin of 21/9 Boulevard Voltaire in Paris and a member of the Grupo Esperantista de Parizon and requests an exchange of postmarks, notably Austrian Jubilee and Bosnia, with Monsieur Ste Vinceslar Hübner, Pôsta Oficisto, Kolin, Autriche.


Message in Esperanto, sent to Yarrowonga, Australia in 1910

A printed colour postcard showing the Promenade at Withernsea, with one penny stamp to the front of the card and cancelled at Hull on 26 September 1910, sent by Arthur J Turner to Sinjoro L J Bowles of Yarrowonga in Victoria, Australia with a message in Esperanto.

Wartime Curiosities



A Get Well Soon postcard from King George V and Queen Mary, Christmas 1914

An alternative version of the regular 1914 Christmas tin postcard sent by King George V and Queen Mary to British troops serving overseas during the First World War. This version was sent to wounded troops.



Postcard sent to Ruhleben Internment Camp in 1915 and returned by the Censor

This sepia real photographic postcard by H Mortimer Allen of Tenby and showing the launching of the Tenby Lifeboat was addressed to Mr J M Anderson of the S.S. Fleetwing at Barrack 7, Ruhleben, Spandau, near Berlin on 24 November 1915. The card was returned to the sender in Bath with the stamped notification that "Picture Postcards are returned by the Censor". Able Seaman Joseph Anderson lived at 4 Berwick Street in South Shields and was captured by the Germans when the SS Fleetwing was seized at Harburg near Hamburg on 4 August 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War.

Odd Cancellations



U.F. Church, Invergordon, with censored name slug cancellation, 1916

Published by Davidson & Son of Kirkcaldy, Fife in the Davidson's Scotch Design Series, Ideal Series, not numbered, and showing a view of the United Free Church at Invergordon in Ross & Cromarty. This card was posted on 24th June 1916, in the midst of the First World War, and sent to London. The name slug of the machine cancellation has been censored for security reasons and just appears as +++++. Invergordon was the site of a U.S. Navy mine laying base during the war



Posillipo, Napoli, cancelled in Taranto with British Stamp, 1910

Published by Deutsche Erfindungen of Milano, No 508, and showing a view of the coast at Posillipo in Naples, Italy. The card was posted on a steamship or "Piroscafo" between Messina and Taranto, but despite using a red one penny British stamp the card has been cancelled in Taranto on the 17th of December 1910 and sent to Sutton in Surrey, without incurring a surcharge.



Garrison Church & Parade, Woolwich, cancelled in Fremantle with British Stamp, 1906

Published by Blum & Degen, London, No 6877, and showing a view of the Garrison Church and Parade at Woolwich Arsenal in London. This card was posted in Fremantle, Western Australia on 31st October 1906 and sent to Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, but using a red one penny British stamp, also without incurring a surcharge.



North Head, Auckland, cancelled in Vancouver with Fijian Stamp, 1914

Published by Tanner Brothers, Wellington, a "Maoriland Postcard", No 102, showing a panoramic view of North Head at Devonport in Auckland, New Zealand. This card has an even more convoluted story, being penned on the RMS Niagara (Sydney – Auckland – Suva – Honolulu – Vancouver) and cancelled in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on the 25th of July 1914 with a red 1d Fiji stamp and sent to Acton in London, again without incurring any surcharge. It seems likely that the card was purchased at the start of the voyage in Auckland, the stamp was purchased in Suva on Fiji, the message written in Honolulu and was finally posted at the end of the voyage in Vancouver. A postcard of New Zealand, written at Hawaii, and sent from Canada to England with a Fiji stamp is not something you would expect to see every day.



Glenveagh Castle, Churchill, Co Donegal, using a stamp cut out from postal stationery, 1932

Published by Lawrence of Dublin, not numbered, and showing a view of Glenveagh Castle at Churchill in Donegal. This card was posted in Bromley, Kent on 14th October 1932 and sent to Grays, Essex, using a red one penny stamp which has been cut out from pre-paid postal stationery and stuck on in lieu of a regular stamp.



Swiss postal stationery, self-addressed, 1926

A printed postal stationery postcard from Switzerland with pre-paid green 5c Helvetia stamp, overprinted with 7½c, which has been used by D.H. Scribbans Esq of Great Malvern, a stamp collector, as a postal experiment to see if he would receive it safely if he posted it to himself. Clearly he did receive it! The card was posted in Malvern on the 5th of July 1926 and was delivered with a duo of red 1d Postage Due stamps as a 2d surcharge.



General View of Twickenham, posted with no address, 1915

A printed colour postcard showing a general chocolate-box scene of Twickenham in Middlesex, publisher not stated and not numbered, and with a blank undivided back. The message from "your loving wife Susie" to her "Dear Husband", letting him know that she cannot visit him on Saturday as her mother won't let her, is particularly poignant as she has forgotten to add the address. The card was posted in Tavistock on the 27th August 1915 and bears a manuscript endorsement regarding the missing address.

Odd Divisions


Horizontally Divided Back by Grand Bazar des Bains, 1912

Published by the Grand Bazar des Bains, Grande Rue. An example of a card where the back has been divided horizontally rather than the conventional vertical divide. The front of the card shows a fishing boat at Le Grau-du-Roi and was posted from Pézenas in 1912.