Friday, November 20, 2015

Episode 1707: The One with the Deltiology Doppelgänger Incident

I had a bit of an uncanny moment here last night at the Papergreat World Headquarters and Research Facility.

Some background: Wednesday's rambling post was titled "Notes, scribbles and doodles on the back of an old postcard," and this is the postcard that was featured...


Thursday night, I was sorting postcards, because that's how I roll during an off night from work1 and because the collection is getting a little out of hand and needs some order brought to its chaos.2 As I was sorting through the postcards, separating out vintage shots of Pennsylvania cities, steamships, bear cubs and Led Zeppelin, I did a double take when I came across this postcard...


What are the odds, one might ask, that a modest collector of postcards in York, Pennsylvania, would have doubles of the same obscure vintage postcard illustration?3 (The answer is that there are way too many variables to actually figure those odds. It was a rhetorical question, really.)

The second card is in near-pristine condition, much nicer than the one I wrote about on Wednesday. It's about 3/16ths of an inch taller and it has a different publisher. Wednesday's example was published by N.W.D. & S., which I believe was a based in Norway. Today's example is from Mittet & Co., a Norwegian publishing house that dealt primarily in postcards and children's literature in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Here's a look at the two postcards, side by side...


So, here's the other crazy thing about this. The illustrations are not identical! In the one on the left, there's a knothole in the second wooden wall plank from the top. Also, the circular white markings on the man's green vest are different in the two illustrations. What other differences can you find? It's like one of those Double Check challenges in Highlights magazine.

Finally, here's the inscription from the back of today's Doppelgänger postcard:


Godt Nytaar is Norwegian for Happy New Year. I think it's safe to assume that "1/1 03" refers to January 1, 1903. But I doubt we'll ever know for sure who this particular Hilda Knudsen was. Or if she knew Mabel Eleanor Thevenet.

Footnotes
1. That's not the only thing I did. Sarah and I also played baseball on the PS3, watched a couple episodes of Friends and read some more of Annie Jacobsen's Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base.
2. The categories for the preliminary round of sorting included Keep, Donate to Budding Deltiologists, Mail to Postcrossers, Modes of Transportation, and Near-Future Papergreat Posts.
3. A Google image search does not reveal any other instances of this illustration online.

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