By Msgr. Vincent Foy
Deltiology, or the collection and study of postcards, has been a popular hobby since the beginning of the twentieth century. The early years of the last century were known as the Golden Age of postcard collecting. Even today, it ranks behind stamp and coin collecting as a top collecting interest. Postcard Clubs and Exhibitions abound.
My parents were married in 1912, and I was born in 1915. Before her marriage, like many others, my mother had a good-sized postcard collection and in my youth she gave that collection to me. Years later I gave the cards to my sister, a school – teacher who used them in geography class. My interest in postcard collecting was rekindled when I retired and so I joined the Toronto Postcard Club. At present I have a large collection of Toronto and religious cards and a small collection of postcards of magicians.
In 1925 or 1926 I saw Blackstone the magician perform at the old Pantages Theatre on Yonge St. in Toronto. It introduced me to the Wonderful World of Magic, and magic has been my principal hobby ever since. I wrote a few things on magic over fifty years ago under the pseudonym of Dr. George E. Casaubon. My magic horizons were greatly expanded through a long friendship with Ross Bertram. I was privileged to help him put on paper the two classics: “Magic and Methods of Ross Bertram”, and “Bertram on Sleight of Hand”.
It was natural that I would combine my love of magic with my interest in old postcards. Hence my collection of postcards of magicians. Like most interested in magic, I have admired the magic greats and pioneers. During the last 25 years I have accumulated postcards of some of those to whom so much is owed in the development of the science and art of mystification.
Postcards of magicians are difficult to find.
Some postcard dealers have told me that they have never seen a postcard of a magician. Sometimes at Postcard Conventions not one dealer has a magician card. I was fortunate in obtaining at auction an album of magician cards from the estate of Jimmy Findlay, the internationally known collector of magicana who died in 1973. Those cards make up about one third of my collection. The others were, in general, collected one by one. A few were given to me by magicians.
Thanks are due to David Ben, protégé of Ross Bertram and now internationally acclaimed Conjuror in his own right. He has offered to make copies of my magician postcards available on the Magicana web site. I hope they add a mite to the appreciation of magic history.
– Msgr. Vincent Foy
For more information about Msgr. Foy, visit MagicPedia.
Since mounting this exhibition we have received interest to share some postcards of magicians. We have included a few under the category, Guest Post. Thank you to the collectors who have kindly shared their images for us to enjoy. If you have cards you would like to share, contact Magicana.