Snapshots or Real Photographs for your Snapshot Album. Part 1.

by

Bill Tonkin

 

            Yes, you know what I mean, those little boxes or folded cartons of usually 12 small Snapshots that most of the postcard publishers manufactured and sold in addition to their post cards. I expect you are all like myself, you see them at a fair, buy them if the price is right, take them home, look at them once, and put them away in a box or drawer and never look at them again.

            When Mike Perkins and myself did the update of our Wembley Book in 2004 we included for the first time Snapshots and did some limited research into the contents of the packets and it became obvious to me that here was a subject that would repay going into later, in some depth. At the time we listed the various types of packets but did not go much further into the subject than that.   Now that I have virtually stopped going to post card fairs I have the time to enjoy my collection and really getting to know my various sidelines. Over the years I have accumulated a lot of the packets published by various firms. I recently had the opportunity to greatly increase my collection, and this started me looking at the packets in much greater detail than I have done before.

            When you come to examine the contents which all look the same at a quick glance, what a wealth of variety there is. To a person like myself who has always been attracted by varieties from the normal, this has proved a fascinating field. They have everything so dear to my heart. The same view, sold and packed by the same firm, in the same carton, can be found with different clouds in the sky, there are redrawn and repositioned numbers on the snapshots, some times large numbers were redrawn in a much smaller size, and not just reduced in size but written in a different hand. To my surprise Valentine on one series of cartons went to the trouble of carefully scratching out the numbers on the negatives, so they cannot be read, although under a glass traces of the numbers can still be seen. Why did they start by putting numbers on the snapshots and then go to considerable trouble deleting the numbers we shall never know.

            Some of the post card manufacturers, Beagles, Campbell-Gray, Fleetway, Raphael Tuck & Sons, Valentine & Sons, probably Walshams and Wildt & Kray, also published sets of small snapshots, usually real photographs, which vary slightly in size, being approximately 85 x 70 mm. The snapshots were sold in several types of packets. Some firms used small boxes either with loose lids or hinged lids. another form of package was a folded cardboard carton that had provision for an address and stamp box, but it must be said they seem to have been kept more as a souvenir and so far very few has been seen postally used. Other sets were sold in folded paper wallets or envelopes.

            Most of the series were of twelve snapshots and some firms published two series for 1924 and two again for 1925. If they were numbered, on the bottom left or right corner Series 1 would run from 1-12 and Series 2 from 13-24. One exception is the Fleetway 1925 Wallets where Series No. 1 and No. 2 both run from 1-12.

            In this listing notice is taken of the variations of the setting of the printing of the packets. There are also variations in the size and shape of some of the numbers on the snapshots that have numbers, showing that some series had the numbers redrawn.

            Where a carton has the contents printed in numerical order on the flaps this is reading them with the flaps laid out flat so that 1 - 6 is on the right and 7 - 12 is on the left. If they are read with the flaps folded this gives a different sequence of titles.

            When real photographs were manufactured, at some stage a number and sometimes a title was hand written on to the negative. From this original negative copies would be made so that multiple printings from the much enlarged negative could take place.

            In some cases a transparent adhesive strip was used (like selotape) and the title or number would be written on this, which was then stuck onto the negative, Often the edge of the strip shows up and can be easily seen.

            It is not known whether some publishers replaced the numbers they printed on snapshots, or whether they had two sets running at the same time. It is certain that snapshots are known of the same view by the same publisher with very different looking drawn numbers on them. The why and the wherefor are not known, all we are left with is the fact that different numbers exist. Very often where there are two different shaped numbers the clouds in the sky are different too.

            Some publishers Fleetway for instance only needed to replace about half a dozen snapshots with redrawn numbers out of the 24 snapshots in series 1 and 2 for 1924. Other publishers like Wildt & Kray in their 1924 series 1 and 2, published the whole 24 snapshots with the original large numbers and also published the same series with redrawn numbers in a much smaller size.

            It is fair to ask which out of the two types of numbers are the original, and which are the redrawn numbers. I think the larger size numbers are the first and original numbers since Valentine only used about six of the smaller numbers out of a possible 24.

            In the close examination of Fleetway’s and Wildt & Kray’s 1924 series 1 and 2 snapshots, it becomes obvious that they were all produced by one firm. The snapshots, the titles, the numbers written on the snapshots, even the varieties like the sloping ‘4’ in the redrawn smaller ‘14’ are the same for both publishers. This is also apparent when the folded cartons are examined. The decorative frame surrounding the printing is the same on Fleetway’s folded cartons, as it is on the Wildt & Kray boxes. The only difference is Fleetway has ‘Issued by the Fleetway Press Ltd’ in the imprint at the bottom left, and Wildt & Kray has ‘W & K London’. They even used the same shade of buff cardboard for the cartons. Wildt & Kray’s sets were sold in maroon coloured boxes either with a hinged lid or a loose lid, and these are the most common of all the snapshots. On the other hand Wildt & Kray’s folded cartons are very scarce and I have only ever seen one for their 1924 Series 1.

            I favour Wildt & Kray as the actual manufacturer of the snapshots and cartons, rather than Fleetway, on the grounds that all the 24 numbers from 1 to 24 are known in the original large size and also in the redrawn smaller size, while Fleetway only published about 6 redrawn numbers out of the 24.

            I should mention here that Alan Sabey and Mike Perkins both generously let me borrow their collections of snapshots to examine, and without having this amount of material, this study could not have been done. All together 95 packets of snapshots have been examined. The commonest series was Wildt & Kray No. 1 with 12 sets from the three sources, and No. 2 with nine sets. There must have been greatly reduced quantities published in 1925 as four of No. 3 and only one of No. 4 has been seen.

Beagles 1925.

            No differences in titles have been seen.

Campbell-Gray.

            Only one packet has been seen, the contents were photogravure printings and not real   photographs

Fleetway Press 1924 Series No. 1.

            Numbers 5, 7, 8, & 10 were redrawn and are in a slightly different position.

Fleetway Press 1924 Series No. 2.

            Numbers 14 and 19 were redrawn and are in a slightly different position.

Fleetway Press 1925 Series No. 1.

            No numbers were redrawn.

Fleetway Press 1925 Series No. 2.

            Numbers 3, 7, 8 & 11 were redrawn and are in a slightly different position.

Raphael Tuck & Sons.

            British Guiana No. 1 & No. 2.

            Canadian Pavilion No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3.

            Only one of each carton has been seen, so it cannot be said if any numbers were redrawn.

Unknown publisher

            Probably Walsham, only one packet has been seen, so it cannot be said if any numbers were     redrawn.

Valentine & Sons.         Carton titled     British Empire Exhibition Wembley. Without a number (1)

Valentine & Sons.         Carton titled     British Empire Exhibition Wembley. No. 1

Valentine & Sons.         Carton titled     British Empire Exhibition Wembley. No. 2

            Some numbers were redrawn.

Valentine & Sons.         Carton titled     Valentine’s Snapshots. Without extra printing outside frame

Valentine & Sons.         Carton titled     Valentine’s Snapshots. With ‘Titles on the reverse side of          the photos’ and ‘Wembley’.

Valentine & Sons.         Carton titled     Valentine’s Snapshots. With ‘Titles on the reverse side of          the photos’ and ‘Wembley No. 2.’

            Some numbers were redrawn.

Valentine & Sons.         Carton titled     Wembley

            Some numbers were redrawn.

Valentine & Sons.         Carton titled     Wembley Exhibition. Double line frame No. 1

Valentine & Sons.         Carton titled     Wembley Exhibition. Double line frame No. 2

Valentine & Sons.         Carton titled     Wembley Exhibition. Ornamental round emblem No. 2.

            Some numbers were redrawn.

Wildt & Kray 1924. Series No. 1

            Numbers 1-12 were all redrawn, in the 12 sets examined four had either all large or all   redrawn numbers the others had mixtures of numbers.

Wildt & Kray 1924. Series No. 2.

            Numbers 13-24 were all redrawn, in the nine sets examined only two had mixtures of    numbers. The rest had either all large or all redrawn numbers.

Wildt & Kray 1925. Series No. 3.

            Numbers 1-12 were all redrawn, the four sets examined had either all large or all redrawn          numbers, there were no mixed sets.

Wildt & Kray 1925. Series No. 4.

            Numbers 13-24 are very scarce and only one box has been seen. It is therefor not known if       the numbers were redrawn or not.

            All illustrations of packets and cartons are 75% of full size and the small enlagements of numbers are 150% of full size.

 

© Exhibition Study Group 2012

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