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It's time to toast a brand new year
Elegant couple and gleeful gnomes greet New Year on old postcards

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Date published: 1/1/2013

By Jennifer Strobel

By JENNIFER MILLER STROBEL

THE FLASHBACK COLUMN invites you to toast the new year with this enchanting postcard couple from days gone by.

"New Year's cards were just as popular as Christmas cards 100 years ago," said Bill Garnett, who shared these two from his collection. He is an avid collector and dealer of Fredericksburg memorabilia.

On this postcard, a long-ago, anonymous well-wisher used an ink pen to write a short message in longhand: "Wishing all a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year."

The writer left no more clues for curious collectors of the next century; there's no address or postmark on the card.

It was made in Germany, which dominated the postcard production industry before World War I.

On a second card (see Page D6), three impish elves dance around a clock to welcome the year 1908--the Philadelphia postmark is dated Dec. 31, 1907.

The sender, Mollie, used an ink pen to write the longhand message, a promise to "write to you and Beulah soon."

She wished "love to all," which included the recipient, "Mrs. A.M. Birch, Falls Church, Va."

This postcard was also printed in Germany.

The greetings were sent during what is now considered postcards' "Golden Age."

The Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City traced the "craze" on its website, which includes "A Not So Concise History of the Evolution of Postcards." As noted on the site, the effects of World War I led to the demise of German-printed cards like these.

The wishes remain the same through the decades. Gold letters above the elves' clock proclaim "All Health and Happiness during the New Year."

In the new year 2013, the Flashback column will continue to share local memories.

One column will take a second look at an earlier article featuring the Fredericksburg Shoe Company--with a rather dramatic tale that has a happy ending.

Other columns will feature some familiar Fredericksburg-area faces, and there's already talk that an old Santa photo might appear next Christmas.

Readers submit the photos, which are 15 years or older.

So: Happy New Year 2013, and thanks for the memories.

Jennifer Strobel: 540/374-5432
Email: jstrobel@freelancestar.com