Rare Vintage Victorian Era Trading Card to Print
Last fall I had an ‘epic’ adventure traveling almost 100 miles to what I thought would be a spectacular estate sale in a 1800’s mansion in Racine, Wisconsin. The sale preview photos were astonishing – this house was entirely furnished in antiques and looked like it came straight out of 1890. They had a huge collection of Victorian trading cards, old books, jewelry — it really seemed worth the trip.
But when I got there, I was somewhat devastated to find that I was not the only one to think this sale was worth a long trip. Even though I got there right when it opened, there were over 100 people on the list before me waiting to get in. People were coming out of the sale with boxes and bags – if they were coming out at all. It was one of those sales that was so ‘sticky’ that no one inside wanted to leave, meaning nobody waiting outside could get in. My anxiety level started going up when I realized I was there for more than an hour and still wasn’t close to getting in the house.
Finally, almost 2 hours later, I got in.
And it sucked.
Everything good was already gone. The stuff that was left was priced at sky-high ‘retail’ levels, meaning I could probably find the stuff on Ebay for cheaper than I could in this estate sale. To make matters worse the thing I wanted most, the trading cards, were in the jewelry room which had its own separate additional waiting line. I poked around through the entire house, found a few things, then decided to bite the bullet and wait in the jewelry line again. Once I got inside the room, I was informed that the trading cards had been moved to another room. At this point, I was like WTF?!
So, this is a very long way of saying that this incredibly lovely Victorian Trading card was one of the tiny handful of things I was able to get my hands on at this epic fail of a sale. They were stamped on the top by the Hildebran & Hoover shoe store in Joliet, IL. These were the most unusual cards in the entire collection (I have another one that is similar) – the enlarged faces and tiny bodies are not like anything I have seen out of that era. This girl is “Ready for an Engagement”, wearing a flowered garland and playing the triangle. They are printed on a beautiful thick textured card stock with a foil gold background. I haven’t been able to find anything on their history at all – the illustrator clearly had a unique style and I wish to God I could find out who drew them!
Ultimately, I don’t really think that getting 5 trading cards was worth the trip. But at least she is lovely enough to make me smile every time I see her.
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