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Collecting Warner Gothard Postcards

Collecting Warner Gothard montage disasters and events postcards can be extremely rewarding and their uniqueness has captured the imagination of many collectors over the years. The reason for their popularity is completely understandable. Each postcard tells a story of an incident or special occasion around 100-years ago in a revolutionary way by text and images entwined together to make a montage postcard that is simply a work of art in it's own right.

A standard photographer of the day would take a series of photographs of an event and choose the best ones to publish as postcards. This would normally be one view for each postcard with a simple caption confirming the event. The sons of Warner Gothard decided to take things to a completely new level by adding multiple images of the event onto one postcard surrounded by portraits of the people involved and informative text so the whole story could be told. These special postcards were very popular with the buying public who used to keep them as souvenirs of the event which would explain the reason why so many are unposted. Warner Gothard montage postcards are just as popular today with private collectors, local and social historians.

Some of the postcards are more accessible and cheaper than others so new collectors would normally start with the Bournemouth Tram Disaster, Barnsley Public Hall Disaster and the railway accidents such as Sharnbrook and Tunbridge. After that the Colliery disasters such as the (a) and (b) postcards of the fire at Hamstead, Birmingham and the Mine Disaster at Barrow Colliery, Barnsley should be fairly easy to pick up though slight more expensive than the first selection. Things can get a little less accessible and more expensive from this point on. Some postcards can be extremely elusive and even if you are lucky enough to find one of the rare copies you will no doubt have to pay a premium before you can add it to your collection so deep pockets and patience are the order of the day.

Spending some time inspecting them with a magnifying glass can reveal little pockets of information and images that were not immediately identifiable with the naked eye. The more enthusiastic collectors will quite happily spend a lot of money on a copy because it's slightly different than their original even in a minuscule way. This is how collecting Warner Gothard postcards can get a little obsessive. The fun is not just in the hunt, it is being the owner of something very special. You do not have to collect every Gothard montage ever produced. You just need to remember that you are building a collection of some of the best quality postcards to come out of the vintage era.

Warning: I did happen to come across a fake Warner Gothard postcard at a fair in Cheshire. When I inspected it there was something not quite right about it. The card was not the right gauge and it seemed to lack enough age which is hard to replicate. A postcard of 100 years ago has some grade of fading, surface marks plus corners and edges that are worn to some degree. This unposted example was just too good to be true but was priced at 25.00. I passed my thoughts onto the dealer and have not seen it since but you can guarantee there will be more out there because of their rarity and premium they command. My advice is buyer beware, if it does not feel right then give it a miss.

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