Roaring 20s vintage Christmas card stockpile — Michael makes a big find

vintage christmas card familyvintage christmas card estate saleReader Michael emailed me last week share a wonderful estate sale find — a motherlode bonanza of really old, New Old Stock Christmas cards — from as early as the Roaring 1920s and Arts & Crafts style old. Oh my: There is just something about vintage graphics and vintage printing technology — along with the pleasant yellowing of high quality paper stock — that makes vintage greeting cards so delightful. The question is: Should you use your vintage greeting cards? I say YES — even though I, too, find it difficult. Read on for Michael’s story of discovery and for lots more gorgeous photos of these NOS treasures. –>

vintage christmas card estate salevintage christmas cards

Michael writes:

Last night I went to a local estate auction and purchased a HUGE lot of vintage NOS Christmas cards, many still in their original boxes.  Each style ranges in quantity from 6 to 44 pieces in each box, and I also have about 25 singles. The condition is terrific, and the quality of the card is really impressive: many are made of heavy card stock, or embossed, or hand tinted, or embellished with a bit of ribbon or foil paper, etc.  Even some of the envelopes are lined in the most whimsical patterned tissue!

The type of greeting ranges from general Christmas wishes, to recipient specific messages:  father, son, mother, daughter, daddy, uncle, nephew, niece, pastor, teacher, convalescent, friend’s mother, sweetheart, husband, wife, grandfather, grandson…  The messages are very charming!

I believe the cards to be from the late 1920s-1930s, which I know falls outside of the range for Retro Renovation, but I know in the past you have featured the odd article or item of interest from the 20s-40s.  I thought since this lot was so large, varied, colourful and seasonally appropriate it might be off interest to you.  I have kept  some boxes for myself to send out and give to family, but the majority I will be listing on eBay tonight and tomorrow.  I purchased a smaller lot of similar cards from the same estate last week (it was a two part sale), and 16 out of the 17 listings sold on eBay (most with “Buy it Now”)– there was a lot of interest.

Hope all is well in your world!  🙂


vintage christmas cardsThank you, Michael for taking the time to send me all these gorgeous illustrations. They make me so happy!

vintage christmas card houseIt is impossible to choose a favorite.

vintage get well card 1930s

vintage greeting card

vintage christmas card son

vintage christmas card mother

vintage christmas card

vintage christmas card holy

vintage christmas card greetings

vintage christmas card schnauzers

vintage holiday cards

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Well, golly, wouldn’t you know, that before I could even get this story prepared, Michael’s cards — which he had quickly posted on to ebay — were selling like hotcakes. Just a few days after his initial email, he updated me:

Well, I finally got the last of the lots listed today on eBay.  There were 82 listings in total and 52 have already sold!  It was crazy– today, as I was posting each lot, most were snapped up within minutes by one of three bidders in California.  And each was sending me messages asking what was coming up next, could they get a preview, etc.  Crazy!   It was fun opening box after box of such vibrant gems!  I’m kinda sad it’s over…


Me too sad. Readers, if you want to see more of the designs, once you are in ebay, navigate to see Michael’s Completed Listings.

Readers, are you on the lookout for vintage greeting cards?
Do you use them — or are they too precious?


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  1. Jana (Berniecat) says

    You certainly are the ” Indiana Jones” of the vintage world with this find! I really enjoyed the pictures and will take a peek at your completed listings for more vintage Christmas goodness. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ben says

    Use them for sure! But at the same time, I would suggest getting a high-resolution scan of each one. Then they can be reprinted for years to come; just use a decent card stock and they’ll be almost as vibrant as the originals.
    Plus, a few scans backed up on a USB drive will take up much less room than boxes of actual cards, and allow you to share them with friends who may appreciate the opportunity to send them as well (although I do suggest looking into copyright issues with reproducing them if you’re not just sending them to close friends and family…)

  3. Chris says

    How wonderful!

    If these were mine, I would take one of each kind and put them in a binder with acid free sleeves. I would also do a high resolution scan of each as a back-up file.

    Then I would use the duplicates. How lovely and fun these are! They made me smile this morning!!!!!


  4. says

    I agree they are just stunning! Like Chris, I would save one or two and use the others, but most people wouldn’t even appreciate them and would toss them out. I save the best and favorites every year out of mine and have framed quite a few of them for decorating at Christmas time. I do collect a few here and there but definitely would not say it is a collection. I have cards my mother saved for many years and also a few I find from time to time. It is true that many of the old cards are special and wish I could find more like them these days!

  5. Jay says

    Beautiful! Hard to believe the great condition for their age. I would keep a few for decoration at Christmas. Really love the ones with scotties. As others have stated, scanning is definately an option. I would send them to family. I wonder how they were kept so pristine, probably stored in a closet. Attics and basements can have extreme temperature swings and moisture can really affect paper items – cards and envelopes.

  6. Robin, NV says

    This post is right up my alley since I’m a Christmas card addict. But as much as I love to buy Christmas cards, I have a hard time finding ones that suit my tastes. These are great – artistic, simple, funny, tasteful, timely – they have it all. I would definitely scan them. I’d also save at least one from each set to be framed and displayed at Christmas.

    What a great reminder of a time when sending a letter was the best way to communicate with people far away. We’ve definitely lost the letter writing knack. I seem to get fewer and fewer Christmas cards each year.

  7. pam kueber says

    With all the mention of scanning — I want to remind folks that old stuff may still have copyrights attached. Please consult with properly licensed professionals before making and using copies 🙂

  8. Annie B. says

    Oh, Michael, how lucky you are to’ve found all these. I’d have to “play” with them over and over, then send them to special friends. How tempting to use them in vintage collage art, too.

    I wonder what all your buyers will do with them. Congrats on a wonderful find.

  9. Suzanne says

    Man! My best friend is totally into old cards. I hope she saw them on eBay and bought some. What an absolute treasure!

  10. tammyCA says

    What a great find…too bad I didn’t see this post in time. I love and collect vintage cards, not many but I just love the old art/graphics so much. I’ve only photocopied some to use in my own crafting that I don’t sell for profit (I know about copyright).
    Here’s a company that sells reproductions:
    …my sister bought me the dog cards on the left a few years ago and I never want to use them because they are too cute & I want to keep, I don’t think other people receiving them will save them.

  11. Michael says

    It was a real treat to open up box after box to discover what was contained inside. I really did feel like I had discovered a buried treasure! I can’t imagine ever coming across a find like this again.

    I was floored by the variety, quality and condition of these cards; they’re like nothing we see on the market today. The ones that come with envelopes lined in vibrant patterned tissue are my favourites I think.

    I will send some out to special friends and family this year. It looks like the rest are going to some very appreciate and enthusiastic collectors in the US! I know one of the purchasers sells on etsy, so if anyone is interested you will likely be able to buy individual cards from her through that site.

  12. hannah says

    What an utterly FABULOUS FIND!

    Under the article, my favorite is the second one down, night time, house and huge moon in the sky. And, if I’d been lucky enough to get some from Mikes eBay sales, I would use them, but save one of each kind.

    Great story, thanks for sharing!

  13. nina462 says

    Lovely, just lovely. I wish cards were still made like that. when my Aunt/Uncle pased – I was gifted by her collection of cards as well. My cards are goofy ones from the 70’s. Plus I received most of their Christmas ornaments & wrapping paper.
    Thanks for sharing – they were lovely, just lovely.

  14. Debbie says

    Old cards are grand and I have been collecting them for years with the idea to make them into framed, embellished Christmas art. No luck getting to them yet but I still have high hopes.These particular cards are amazing!

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