Breaking the Curteich Code

27 April 2020

Do you know how to find out the age of the Pitcairn Island postcards published by Curteich? With many postcards, the only way to work out roughly when they were published is to find used copies with easy to read postmarks, and then go by the earliest. Fortunately, the American postcard publisher Curteich, also known as Curt Teich & Co, based in Chicago, had a special code printed on their cards which I can now tell you how to translate.

Each code begins with a number and then a letter, A, B, C, or D. This letter refers to the decade, A being the 1930s, B the 1940s, C the 1950s and D the 1960s, and the number preceding is the year.


Therefore, reference 9B489-N, which is used on the Boats Shed card illustrated here (Ransom's Pitcairn Postcard Catalogue number C4-2), indicates that the card was printed in the year 1949 (9B), and that it was the 489th card manufactured that year by Curteich.


The code, 9DK-1095, is in the stamp box on the back of this Pitcairn Bible postcard published in 1969 (Catalogue number C6-2) 
In the Catalogue are quite a few very nice Curteich Pitcairn cards, published over a 20 year period from 1949 to 1969. Section "C" of the Catalogue is available as a free download by following this link.

Matthew Quintal, outstanding heavy

25 April 2020
I like to collect postcards that are related to my main subject, but perhaps not obviously so at first glance. These two cards are from what I like to call my "sideways" collection.


Matthew Quintal, born on 3rd March, 1766, was perhaps the roughest character in the Pitcairn story. He was the man who, some people believe, took it upon himself to burn the Bounty at Pitcairn. The following extract is from David Silverman’s excellent book Pitcairn Island, published in 1967 by the World Publishing Company:

Matthew Quintal, (Quintall, Quintrell, Quintral), A.B. Matthew Quintal, a Cornishman from Padstow, was easily the outstanding “heavy” in the Pitcairn cast, despite no inconsiderable competition. His comradeship at arms (and bottle) with McCoy apparently antedated their Bounty experience. Quintal was the very prototype of the “hard cases,” typical of Royal Navy crews of the time, for whose control the lash had been sanctioned. He was the first aboard the Bounty to taste it; early in the voyage Bligh had ordered twenty-four applications of that sovereign remedy applied to Quintal’s back for what Bligh variously described as “insolence and mutinous behaviour” and “insolence and contempt to the master.” Quintal appears on Bligh’s list as “aged 21 years, five feet five inches high, fair complexion, light-brown hair, strong made [no exaggeration], very much tatowed on the back side, and several other places.” Quintal was the leader in the maltreatment of the Polynesians. “Asserted as a fact” by Rosalind Young is the story “handed down that one day his wife went out fishing, and, not succeeding in obtaining enough to satisfy Quintall, he punished her by biting off her ear.”


This 1888 view of Padstow Harbour, from the Francis Frith Collection, is reproduced from a recently printed postcard. Although photographed almost 100 years after the Mutiny on the Bounty, it captures a view that would not have been totally unfamiliar to the young Matthew Quintal.


Another view of Padstow, shows the Market Place in 1906, also reprinted from the Francis Frith Collection. Here we see evidence of the Quintrell family – their printing and stationery business (on the right) in Market Place. The building, a newsagent’s shop in 2001, under different ownership (although the family is still known in the area), was actually where I purchased this postcard.

A similar viewpoint today can be seen on Google Street View.

MGM Bounty

24 April 2020

I feel that any collection of Pitcairn Island postcards has to have at least a few postcards showing the Bounty replicas. Here are two of my favourite MGM Bounty postcards. This series, I believe, comprises 37 different images, and a total of at least 165 cards if you include the various printings and varieties.

Included in the series are scenes from the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty, and also photographs of the Bounty replica when she was on display as a tourist attraction at various locations in the United States.

Catalogue number M1-15. Card size: 88 x 139mm. BOUNTY ARRIVES AT TAHITI. The Bounty is on exhibit in Flushing, New York, near the New Shea Stadium. Scene from “Mutiny on the Bounty”. Ref: MGM 15. Code: SC8325

If you would like a copy of my specialised 132 page edition of The Bounty Postcard Catalogue, it is available to purchase from Amazon for the Kindle (and Kindle Reader application, available for computers and tablets), price just £2. AMAZON PAGE

A simplified, basic catalogue is included in section "M" of Ransom's Pitcairn Postcard Catalogue, and that is available as a free downloadable PDF file from this website. POSTCARD CATALOGUE. Please note that a voluntary donation to Cancer Research is requested in exchange for the catalogue.

Catalogue number M1-18. Card size: 88 x 140mm. BOUNTY SAILING NEAR TAHITI. The Bounty is on exhibit in Flushing, New York, near the New Shea Stadium. Scene from “Mutiny on the Bounty”. Ref: MGM 18. Code: SC8327

1922 Remuera collision

26 March 2012
Remuera collision, 1922
Four postcards showing a collision involving the New Zealand Shipping Company's Remuera which occurred in 1922 are now on the HGK website. I wonder if they could have been taken by Henry Keyse?

Roy Sanders 1950s photographs

17 December 2011


A set of 12 postcards has been published showing photographs taken by Pitcairn schoolteacher, Roy Sanders, during his time on the Island in the early 1950s.

95 sets were printed, and these may be viewed and purchased (with PayPal) from The Postcard Shop on this web page: printerspie.co.uk/Shop/Postcards.html

The price for a set of 12 cards is just £4 (plus postage) and that includes a £1 donation to Cancer Research.  All prices are in Pounds Sterling, but PayPal will convert to your own currency.

The postcards are printed on good quality card stock and have a glossy finish to the picture side.

If you do not have a PayPal account, PayPal will take the payment from your credit card. Sorry, but alternative payment methods are not available.

Available while stocks last.
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