The modern greeting card originated in the middle of the 15th century in the Rhine Valley of medieval Germany. Printed New Year greetings gained in popularity during the 17th and 18th centuries. Queen Victoria’s interest in holiday and special occasion cards helped establish the sending of greeting cards as a regular event.
Louis Prang, a color lithography printer, was one of the first American manufacturers of greeting cards. The post-1945 era witnessed the growth of a number of card manufacturers who eventually would dominate the industry. The Hall Brothers (Joyce C., Rollie, and William), Kansas City postcard distributors and publishers, began printing greeting cards in 1910. Fred Winslow Rust established Rust Craft Company. Cincinnati’s Gibson Art Co. entered the greeting card field. Arthur D. and Jane Norcross formed a mutual partnership in 1915.
Although greeting cards are collected primarily by event or occasion, a growing number of collectors seek specialized type cards, e.g., diecut or mechanical. Holiday and specialized collectors represented the principal buyers of greeting cards in the 1990s.
Reference: Ellen Stern, “The Very Best From Hallmark: Greeting Cards Through the Years,” Harry N. Abrams, 1988, out of print.
by Harry L. Rinker
“Official Price Guide to Collectibles”