I have a number of these Swiss postcards dating from the 1920s in my collection of postal history... I'm not sure why, but I probably like the heavy and imposing German typography used in the past for much printed matter in this German-speaking part of central Switzerland. Luzern (German), Lucerne (French), or Lucerna (Italian) is a Swiss-German city with a population of about 81,000 people which has become a centre of economics, transportation, culture and media; as well as being a popular tourist centre.
There’s nothing special about this postcard, and tens of thousands were printed and issued by newspaper and magazine publishers in Switzerland and Germany between the wars. Although “Abonnements Quittung” means “subscription receipt”, I’m certain that these postcards were in lieu of invoices, because the postal service delivered them to the journal subscriber’s address and generally accepted the payment demanded for the subscription which was then forwarded to the publisher, the total cost of which included the postal charge for the postcard… rather like a C.O.D. or “Cash On Delivery” note... and you may spot the word "nachnahme" in the lower block of writing which means just that. However in this instance, and I have seen many similar examples, the post office has affixed a label stating, “Nicht eingelöst / Impayé / Non pagato”, literally meaning ’not redeemed’ or ‘unpaid’, the inference being that the subscription renewal was cancelled. Other affixed labels I have seen state “Acceptance refusé / Refuse / Respinto”, or ‘rejected’, basically telling the intermediary, and the original sender, the same thing… cancel my subscription… no more journals!
The “Luzerner Landzeitungen” (literally “country newspapers of Luzern”) is currently a group of seven newspapers covering the Lucerne region. The name of the newspaper on the postcard is singular however, probably implying that there was only one paper for the region in the 1920s… the German plural “en” is used here indicating more than one publication.
I’m not sure if this example of German Gothic type - also known as “Blackletter” - is Schwabacher or the more modern Fraktur, but I do find the type impressive… the term "Fraktur" or "Gothic" is sometimes applied to all of the 'blackletter' typefaces - known in German as Gebrochene Schrift or "Broken Script". And whilst not actually ‘blackletter’ script, there’s a short 3-minute YouTube video by “Calligraphy Masters” on Colorful Alphabet Calligraphy using a Pilot ‘parallel’ pen… and their 9-minute “Game of Alphabets” is also fun to watch, with beautiful results!
Images + words © Ed Buziak 2018.
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