May Postcard Show Moved to September: Hold-to-the-Light Postcards

By Carol Mobley
   Have you heard of hold-to-the-light postcards and wondered just what is that? You wouldn’t be the first person to ask. A hold-to-the-light postcard is a postcard with 3 layers a front with a pattern cut out of it, a lighter color layer, and the back so when you hold it up you can see the light through the lighter color of paper.
   Hold-to-the-light (HTL) postcards were first produced in 1894 and have been collected ever since. Dennis Mallory of Glens Falls, NY published a set of HTL cards that you can still find available today. Dennis formed the Avis Stamp Company in 1967 and was primarily interested in stamps and first day covers. In 1972 he purchased a postcard collection that included an HTL card which inspired him to consider producing one to commemorate the U.S. Bicentennial. For his first card he created Independence Hall which he sold for $1.25 each. There were 6 cards produced between 1976 and 1986, each numbered on the back and credit is given to artist who helped in the design of each card.
Number       Title                               Number Published
HTL-1            Independence Hall             2336
HTL-2             “1976”                                 1176
HTL-3             1984 Christmas                 1575
HTL-4             1985 Christmas                 1632
HTL-5             Statue of Liberty               2150
HTL-6             1986 Christmas                 1536
   Each card was mailed with a letter from Dennis detailing the design of the card and other details about the production, design, variations, etc. Each card had its own difficulties such as paint that wouldn’t dry or glue that caused the cards to curl. Each card is hand created. The process included 9 printings through the press, cutting of the holes, and finally gluing and pressing each card – labor intensive to say the least.
   Here is an example – the year, star, Christmas and dots on the tree are all cut out so a light shining behind the card illuminates the card.
   These cards represent the dedication of one person to keep the art of the HTL postcard alive and collectible. All 6 cards can be found in Postcard dealers’ inventory or online.
   Postcard collectors will be glad to know that the May Denver Postcard & Paper Show has been rescheduled to September 18-19, 2020 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. The summer show is still planned for July 17-18, 2020, also at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Updates will be posted to

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