Toronto Litho from Toronto to Tokyo, 1903

This Toronto Litho Co. Ltd. pioneer postcard from their Canadian Cities Series illustrating one of the two Quebec City designs has been mailed with a 2¢ QV Numeral stamp from Toronto on April 22, 1903 to Miss Nora von Fallot, at 56 Tsukiji, Tokyo, Japan with a Tokyo receiving cancel dated May 18, 1903, on the reverse.

The reverse of the card contains extensive social history, with the author, Carla, noting that last Wednesday she had seen Sir Oliver Mowat’s funeral procession, and that she attended the Diocese of Toronto Women’s Auxiliary meeting last week, where Miss Cartwright was elected 1st vice president.

Toronto Litho Montreal early use

A new example of Toronto Litho’s Montreal Victoria Bridge design has been added.

This is one of the earlier uses of this series, postally used from Toronto to New York on June 28, 1898. An interesting aspect of this card is that it bears the text “PRIVATE POST CARD” in a purple ink stamp on the face of the card. I’ve often wondered the sequence that Toronto Litho issued the version of the card with the same text printed on the card.

As a conjecture, this could be an example of the second design variation, the first being issued without the text, the second being issued with a rubber stamp of the text, and the third being with the printed text. As the printed text version is scarce, it could be that cards without the text soon became acceptable use through the postal service, and the added text was dropped.

In Allan Steinhart’s “The Postal History of the Post Card in Canada, 1878–1911. He writes that in January 1898, The Official Postal Guide set out the rules for private post cards to foreign destinations, stating:

“…the face should be reserved exclusively for the address and the superscription ‘Private Post Card’.”

While the USA, being the destination of this card, was not considered a foreign destination for the purposes of this regulation, the inclusion of the Private Post Card text on cards would allow a sender greater flexibility in choice of destination.

Toronto Litho Illustrated Envelope

Toronto Litho King Edward Hotel Cover
This illustrated envelope featuring Toronto’s King Edward Hotel has been published by the Toronto Litho Co. showing a scene similar to their postcard for the same hotel. The reverse of the envelope bears a stamp box and location for the address, and the words “Design Patented” and “Toronto Litho Co.”

Toronto Litho to Malta

Toronto Litho Malta Jubilee
This example of a Toronto Litho pioneer postcard from the Canadian Cities Series shows a late use of a 2¢ Jubilee stamp, no. 52, mailed March 22, 1904 to Sliema, Malta.

There is extensive correspondence on the reverse from H.B. Currie to a collector in Malta with whom he had been corresponding. H.B. Currie was a post office clerk in Walkerton in the 1901 census, living as a roomer in a local residence at the time. Born October 14, 1875, he would have been 28 years old when he mailed this card. Currie sought to sell the collector a map of Kimberly & Boshof, South Africa. The 2’ x 3’ map on canvas folded into pocket size, and was given to him by his brother who served in the Boer War.

Toronto Litho president's mail to Belgium

Toronto Litho Toronto Too Late
This Toronto Litho Co. Ltd. pioneer postcard was mailed by the company’s president, William Stone, to Hotel de la Poste in Ghent, Belgium from the company’s headquarters at 680 King Street West in Toronto. It is postmarked with a Bathurst Street Toronto postmark dated October 10, 1899, and bears a 2 Map stamp as well as a “Too Late” cancellation. The card also bears a Gand October 24, 1899 receiving cancel. Stone writes:

“Dear Sir: Knowing your good Hotel by reputation, I take the liberty of asking you to kindly mail mean illustrated post card of your City. Hoping to pay you a visit in the near future. Yours sincerely,Wm. Stone”

This note by William Stone prompts the question, was Stone a postcard collector? Was this research into contemporary European postcard printing part of company business? Or was Stone just curious about a city he planned to visit?