1906 E230 Lowney’s Chocolates Postcards Set is … Weird
The checklist for this oddly-classified postcard issue is confusing at best
There are lot of odd pre-war sets out there but the E230 Lowney’s Chocolates postcards release has to be near the top of the list, at least in terms of subject matter.
Lowney’s was a company that operated in both the U.S. and in Canada. They produced more than just chocolate, even though that’s was a focal point of their products. Lowney’s created this set of postcards that dates back to 1906, which is the copyright date printed on them. The artwork is courtesy of Archie Gunn, a noted English artist who performed work for numerous postcard sets in the pre-war era.
While there are all sorts of varied sets of cards, this one just leaves most people scratching their heads. Only a total of six cards are known in it but it includes quite the range of subjects for such a small checklist.
The first two cards in the release feature portraits of Native Americans. The next two? Female college graduates. The last two are dedicated to female golfers.
Typically, something like this wouldn’t be on my radar. But because they are a set that includes golfers, they are found on the site and have my attention.
At first glance, you might be inclined to think that these possibly belong to different sets. However, we know that is not true given the style/layout of each one and, more importantly, the card numbering found on them. The Native Americans are No. 1 and 2, graduates are No. 3 and No. 4, and golfers are No. 5 and No. 6. These are undoubtedly part of the same set.
It is also worth pointing out that the graduate postcards have the Lowney’s name in blue ink as opposed to red like the others. But that means little, especially given the shared layout and the card numbering.
One of the more interesting things is that the postcards were actually categorized by Jefferson Burdick in his American Card Catalog, given the E230 designation. He could have just as easily classified them as a PC-set with other postcards but the Lowney’s sponsor name would have been the reason he made them an E-Card.
Speaking of Burdick, it’s quite likely he didn’t know what to make of this set. His only description of it in his book is to call it a set featuring College Girls before adding a short mention of them being ‘Lowney’s Postcards.’
His description is hardly adequate given the range of subjects featured. So that leaves us with a couple of conclusions here.
One, it is possible that he never saw the Native Americans associated with this set. Burdick indeed saw quite a bit but, as we know, there are some things he did not encounter. Second, given the range of subjects, it is possible that he knew of the Native American postcards but he simply tried to keep the title brief, even if it was not truly exhaustive.
So what gives? Why would Lowney’s create such a deliberately mismatched set of postcards? Beats me, but it’s worth pointing out that they weren’t alone. In addition to the numerous multi-sport sets out there, this is hardly the first one to feature sports and non-sports subjects.
Given its relatively small size, I’m not sure why there wasn’t a bit more focus on what they were trying to do. But it’s possible that a much larger set was planned with all sorts of subjects and, in that context, it’s easy to see how this set ultimately could have made more sense.
So are you interested in picking some of these up? The good news is that, while somewhat rare, they aren’t too hard to find and pop up on eBay a good bit. You can usually expect to pay around $10 each, though the prices can fluctuate a bit.