We sometimes receive e’mail from postcard collectors wondering how we know the date of an unused postcard. While a date range can only be supplied with most unused old postcards, post cards published by Curteich (known as Curt Teich in earlier days) from the mid-1930s through the 1950s have an easy-to-understand built-in dating system.
Looking at the back of the motel postcard, one sees a code printed in the stamp box at top right. The code reads 2C-H3, the most important part of the code being the 2C. Curteich used an easy-to-remember numbering system for its colorful linen postcards, many of which are classic roadside Americana images. All cards from the mid-1930s on contained the letter “A”: thus, a postcard bearing the code 6A would be from 1936. “A” denoted the 1930s and 6 denoted the year 1936.
“B” series Curteich postcards were published in the 1940s: a postcard with the code 7B would have been published in 1947. “C” series postcards are from the 1950s, and thus we see that the motel postcard, coded as 2C, is from 1952.
Curteich date coding also sometimes appears on the fronts of postcards; in the case of this Route 70 postcard, the coding is at bottom right.
We’ve enlarged this code as best we can; it says 0C-H51, meaning that this post card was published in 1950. You can learn more about Dating Curt Teich Postcards at the Curt Teich postcard archives of the Lake County Forest Preserves.
Read about more roadside postcards.
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