Nobody is perfect and so mistakes occur at any time. Although today you would probably do not distribute any postcards with mistake on (when noticed in time), but dump them and reprint.

Sometimes overprints and/or additional imprints were necessary when mentioned prices or postage rates had changed, or in case of change of address etc.

Of special interest however, are political/patriotic overprints done in a different language because the region / state belonged now to another country after end of war or other conflict. Hard to be believe that the labour involved paid off. But usually when a war was over, supply was short and wages low. The old stock of post cards was used up first. Cards with overprints like this are not that often seen. Not to forget WW1 censorship card samples.

Some other overprints found make little sense at first look, however. Further research is necessary.

Departure SS Karlsruhe

Navy Spectacle. The Imperial Navy was the favourite ‘toy’ of Emperor Wilhelm II. In order to make the people believe that the tax money was well spent, it was promoted in different ways. This card from a show or exhibition bears a silver overprint. Here is name ‘Hamburg’ is covered, probably the place the show started. The card was p/u (Oct. 1901) from Munich and the sender mentions the show, so it travelled across major German cities. Nice litho printing by Eckstein & Staehle from Stuttgart.

Departure Steamship ‘Karlsruhe’. A collotype printed, with heavy litho colours superimposed view published by K. Eden, Bremerhaven-Wesermuende. This 10,826 register tons passenger ship (the “corrected” name turns up with details on ship on address side again) shows the original name removed and the (rubber stamp?) imprint D.(ampfer) “Karlsruhe”. The card is not p/u. In literature I found the reason for the name change of this NDL ship. It was built in 1900 and carried the name “Prinzess Irene” and was the last of the NDL Barbarossa class ships. At outbreak of WW1 the ship was at New York. In 1917 the US Navy confiscated it, bought back by the NDL in 1922 and in service to New York from 1923 on under the name “Bremen”. Renamed into “Karlsruhe” in 1928. Scrapped at Bremerhaven in 1932.


The Gaiety Theatre & Aldwych, London. A sepia gravure printed view that carries no information on publisher or printer. On address side at top left position we find the above illustrated overprint. A pattern with “Printed in England” arranged inside. Very effective by the way as I cannot make out what was overprinted. But what was the reason for this? What stood at this position that people thought it would be better to overprint it? The card is not p/u.


The Administration Bldg. Radford College, Woman’s Division of V.P.I., Radford, Va. Published by Asheville Post Card Co., Asheville, N.C. An U.S. made card, no. 45537, linen-like surface card, the colouring looks quite terrible. Not p/u, c. 1930’s. The meander type border overprint at top of picture was probably necessary because a wrong caption was imprinted first? Many white border and linen-like US cards I have seen show the caption of landscape format cards arranged at top, above picture.

Four cards from Poznan, Poland. The city of Posen, under Prussian control since 1793 became part of Poland territory after the end of WW1 in 1919. From 1934 - 1945 again German and then back to Poland. These overprints date from 1919-20. Note the coloured card where the imprint and colour of sky was first removed and a new caption imprinted. The local publisher Themal used a ‘Tx’ code (together with card number) only. No need to overprint anything. The otherwise not very exciting cards become collectable because of the overprints / correction.


Colmar, Alsace, France. No caption found on picture side.


Detail from a Prague card. Similar procedure as above. At the end of WW1 the Austro-Hungarian Empire was over. Czechoslakia was born. The former German language captions were removed (and part of the address side where probably the printer’s name was found?) and new a caption imprinted.

Colmar / Kolmar. I guess this sample with the ugly overprint on address side dates from early WW2 years, when Germany attacked France and occupied Alsace / Lorraine back. The French card was nicely done by gravure (deep sepia look) and carries no caption on picture but address side only. The name of the place as well as publisher was overprinted. Now it read “Kolmar” instead “Colmar” again. Quite stupid.

Haddon_Hall_Gardens_and_Terrace Overprint_addresside_Haddon_Hall

Haddon Hall, Gardens & Terrace. Sepia duotone collotype printing for J. S. & S. who ordered this (and other) cards from a printer in Saxony.


Then came WW1 and the remaining stock of cards received a thick black overprint across the stamp box to cover “Printed in the County of Saxony” as can be seen on the second sample I managed to find. Also imprinted were Inland and Foreign postage rates (then actual). This had been no good idea, or the cards sold only slowly, as the illustrated (gummed) stamp-like sticker with higher postage rate was pasted onto the overprint at a later date.       Nice find by Chris Ratcliffe.

Ed. note:  More cards with different overprints and corrections available if interested.

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