Horse Shows

I have been engaged in some correspondence with one of our new members Vivien Forster, who collects the International Horse Show and the Dublin Horse Show cards, Vivien wrote to me initially asking if I knew of a listing of the International Horse Show cards. I am printing the correspondence more or less in full, as I hope it will be of interest to members and there may be some one out there who can help on the queries.

30 December, 2011

Dear Vivien,

Many thanks for your letter, I thought I was the only International Horse Show collector, now there are two of us. Many of the cards are as you say very attractive, with many poster type cards as well. Unfortunately some have a lot of white background to them and these tend to show up the marks. I have just over 100 in my collection, and if you are interested I can send you some duplicates that I have accumulated over the years.           

There is no listing of these cards and if you would like to have a go we could tackle it together, as I am sure you must have some I have not got. It has been in my mind for some time to contact the organisers and see if they have any archives, or collection of programmes which would be a help in dating the cards, as although the cards often have a opening and closing date on them they nearly always leave out the year. Do you have any postally used copies for the following years ? 1919, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1933 & 1935. Or any cards for those dates which give the dates of the opening and closing. They probably did not issue any cards after 1939. There, that’s thrown you in at the deep end, hasn’t it. It’s only by collectors getting together and pooling information, that we can gradually begin to fill in all the blanks in our knowledge.

Dear Bill,

Many thanks for your letter, I was delighted to learn you also collect the International Horse Show cards. I am afraid I am a mere beginner with only 32 cards, but very willing to learn and help if I can. I have only been collecting these particular cards for the past year, and quickly realised there must be an awful lot of cards to collect. Vivien enclosed three sheets of handwritten notes on the cards she has, also some queries.

30 December, 2011

Dear Vivien,

Many thanks for your letter, you have managed to fill in one missing link, the dates for 1927. So often people say to me “I’ve only got a few cards, there won’t be anything of interest, you’ve probably got them all” and nearly always this is not so, they have a card you never expected existed. The dates as far as I have been able to work out are as follows.

1907 Jun. 7 Jun. 13

1908 Jun. 18 Jun. 27

Jun. 4 Jun. 14

!909 Jun. 5 Jun. 15

1910 Jun. 6 Jun. 16

1911 Jun. 12 Jun. 24

Jun. 14 Jun. 24

1912 Jun. 17 Jun. 29

1913 Jun. 19 July 1

There would have been a break for the war years, but I don’t know when they started again. The earliest card after the war I have is 1922. Lets say it was 1919.




1922 Jun. 17 Jun. 24

1923 Jun. 23 Jun. 30

1924 Jun. 20 Jun. 28

1925 Jun. 22 Jun. 30

1926 Jun. 17 Jun. 26

1927 Jun. 16 Jun. 25

1928 Jun. 21 Jun. 30



1931 Jun. 20 Jun. 27

1932 Jun. 16 Jun. 25


1934 Jun. 21 Jun. 30


1936 May 30 Jun. 9

1937 Jun. 17 Jun. 26

1938 Jun. 16 Jun. 25

I have not seen any cards after this date, I would imagine they again stopped for the war years, and by the time the war was over post cards had gone out of fashion. As you can see there are lots of gaps.

Now for your queries,

1 Your Poster type coach and horses outside inn is 1922. I have two of these cards both postmarked for 1922.

2 I also have two of the Horse and four and donkey cart cards both postmarked 1911, with the dates printed Jun. 14 - 24 on the back But I also have the same card with a title added and the dates Jun. 12 - Jun. 24. I also have a vertical Poster type card which gives the year and the date 1911 Jun. 12 - 24 plus four others with the Jun. 12 date. This is a bit of a mystery

3 Your French military type descending a very steep bank is probably 1908 or even earlier. The fact that yours is post marked Feb. 20 1909 is I should have thought much too early for it to be a 1909 card, as they were not likely to be available until June of that year. I also have one of these cards with a 1909 advert for the Shire Hackney & Hunter Horse Show held in 1909 on the back. It is likely they used remaindered International Horse show cards for this advert. Top marks for spotting this is a vertical card with the horse going down a steep hill, I had not cottoned on to this one, you are right of course, the horse has started a bit of an avalanche and you can see rocks tumbling down the hill airborne in front of the horse.

I soon had a reply from Vivien, which I won’t go into in detail now as it covers items on cards on her list, which at the moment would be meaingless without publishing the list. As soon as I
can find time I will get out a list of all the cards we have in both our collections, and we can then ask for information from members to take it further. One problem is that very few of the cards have a title, which means a short description will have to be given for each card.

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