What is TuckDB?
TuckDB is a free on-line database listing antique postcards published by Raphael Tuck & Sons. TuckDB aims to be the go-to reference for Tuck postcard collectors, historians or anybody who enjoys artistic paintings and photographs. TuckDB is non-profit and does not sell postcards, everything is free.
Currently only a few editors and scanners have access to contribute to the listings. We are planning to open TuckDB and allow any interested collectors to contribute.
Who Started TuckDB?
TuckDB was compiled by Allan Braun, James Lewis Lowe and Richard Moulton. The supportive collection belongs to Alison Milling (Nee Moulton). Justin Tanner designed and programmed the website.
Many thousands of collectors and vendors who have helped us to greatly expand the knowledge base and Tuck collection over the last 25 years, many have become friends, we can mention only a few major contributors:
- Sally S. Carver
- Alf Harris
- Leonard Lauder
- Chris Ludlam
- Sandy Millns
- Derek Popplestone
- Jose Rodiguez
- The Cartophilians (Jose Rodrigues & Ove Braskerud)
- Ruth MacCallum
- Donald Stannard
- Jack Stasiak
- Albert Tanner
- Tony Warr
- Don Richards
And a special thanks to the scanners:
- Nathan Cartright
- Eden DaSilva
- Darryl Windwick
- Nick Collison
- Lindy Furlonger
- Nick Leung
- Zoe Sandell
- András Ruzsa
How TuckDB Came About by Allan Braun
The project started in 1998. My wife and I are long time collectors of Raphael Tuck postcards. We collect all Tuck cards and have been frustrated for many years by the lack of specific data on individual Raphael Tuck cards. It seemed to us at the time that the most well known publisher in the entire postcard hobby needed a definitive work created. Surely, someone was working on a book listing all Raphael Tuck & Sons postcards. I contacted several dealers from whom we bought approvals and inquired about whom might be writing a book on Raphael Tuck cards. No luck! No one knew anyone who was involved in a major work on Tuck cards and some said it was an impossible task anyway. Several months later I noticed an article on Tuck cards in Barr's by Jerry Cowan from New York. I wrote to Jerry asking if he knew anyone that was working on a list of Tuck cards. He informed me that he was working on a North American list would be grateful for my help. At the time, our Tuck collection was recorded on computer using Microsoft EXCEL software, so I sent him the complete list of my collection. While a North American book on Tuck would be wonderful for the hobby, I still wondered if anyone was working on a complete list of all the individual Tuck cards.
Not long after my first letter to Jerry Cowan, I emailed James Lewis Lowe who has authored several books on postcards over the years and is certainly well known in the field. Jim informed me he knew of no one that was involved with a major Tuck book, but suggested he and I should compile one. Next, we contacted Brian Lund, from the wonderful, Picture Postcard Monthly and asked if he might know anyone in the United Kingdom involved in a major listing of Tuck postcards. Brian put me on to England's John Smith and Peter James, both legends in the postcard hobby. My wife and I were making plans to visit London on vacation, so we altered our plans to visit with both individuals. At the time, John was working on his book The Picture Postcards of Raphael Tuck & Sons that lists all the Tuck Series known to him and is a major contribution to the study of Tuck postcards. Peter James was most helpful and one of the most knowledgeable on Tuck cards I have met. I discussed the possibility of a list of Tuck postcards with both John and Peter. Both were helpful, supportive, offered to assist where possible and agreed it would be a monumental task.
When I returned from England, Jim Lowe and I made the decision to go forward. My collection would serve as the initial baseline, into that base we would add information from Jim Lowe's 60,000 Tuck cards. While our two collections contained a substantial number of different Tuck cards, we soon learned that there was not sufficient data for a complete list. So we sought more information. Several years ago, in England, there was a group, the Tuck Collector's CircleÂ, that compiled and shared information on Tuck cards. We have been able to obtain most of that data from the public domain. The information from that listing was useful but certainly not complete. But, even with the addition of all of the Tuck Collector Circle information, we still did not have enough individual card data for us to go forward. Yet again we searched for ways to find more Tuck individual card data.I happened to notice in The Postcard Collector that Richard Moulton, another well known worldwide dealer in the postcard field, was retiring to work on his and his daughters Tuck collection. After some corresponding with Richard, we met at a New York Postcard show and in short order Richard was hard at work entering Alison's extensive collection of Tuck postcards into our database. Richard has entered tens of thousands of cards into the original Access database from what we believe to be the largest presently existing collection of Raphael Tuck postcards. His postcard dealings around the world have greatly helped in the difficult task of pricing Tuck cards. Richard has increased the size of the Access database to over 130,000 different postcards with roughly 5,000 cards left.
We originally planned to disseminate the information using the print medium, but for very many reasons have decided to use a Website. Justin Tanner worked extensively on maintaining and expanding the original Access Database and has built TuckDB. He has transferred the information that we have into it. We have tried to include images showing the front & back of the cards & as much other additional detail as we have been able to find (such as earliest seen date, printers, local publishers, back types, appliques, etc,). Much of this relatively "raw" data needs editing and we plan to release major sections as fast as we can edit the data & scan the cards.
We follow exceptional company with respect to publishing data on Raphael Tuck. We are building on that body of work. Sally Carver's The American Postcard Guide to Tuck was one of the first to open the door for this great publisher in North America. Her book, was followed many years later by Jim Lowe's Standard Catalog of Postcards, which listed many Tuck cards by Series. The Tuck Collector's Circle, with Tony Warr's and David Penfold's expert supervision, compiled many listings that have been helpful to us and others seeking information on Raphael Tuck cards. David Penfold's superb articles in the Picture Postcard Monthly were full of data on Raphael Tuck cards. A. W. Coysh in his The Dictionary of Picture Postcards in Britain 1894-1939 included a useful listing of the Tuck Oilette Series. Of course, the previously mentioned book by John Smith, The Picture Postcards of Raphael Tuck and Sons is a superb addition and the introduction is must reading for all lovers of Raphael Tuck cards and ephemera. Although the focus is paper dolls and toys, The Collector's Guide to Raphael Tuck by Blair and Margaret Whitton is an excellent book chock full of information on Raphael Tuck and Sons. A new website was created for Tuck cards by the Queensland Postcard Club in Australia but on account of a technical problem it vanished before we were able to record all the data. In 2007 J. D. Weeks published Raphael Tuck and Sons U.S Postcard List Including Canada & Mexico that lists the set titles but not individual card titles.
As one might expect with such a major effort, the project has consumed Richard, Jim and I for the better part of twelve years. We have enlisted help along the way from dozens of Tuck collectors
The final product will be very large and will include over 125,000 cards. We plan to tag the various groups dealing with specific areas, sections or parts of the great number of postcards published by Raphael Tuck & Sons. There will necessarily be some overlap. By segmenting the project into sections we are confident the overall task will become manageable. In the end, we hope will add to the allure and interest of collecting Raphael Tuck postcards, assist with a checklist and data, and in general unlock at least some of the many remaining mysteries about the firm.
Finally, it must be mentioned that the Americas would not have been our first choice for the first section but for the untimely death of Jerry Cowan. The contribution of Jerry's research material, by his son David, has been extremely helpful to this first section. Other sections will follow soon that will cover the full spectrum of the postcards of Raphael Tuck & Sons. We are hopeful that this venture will inspire others to do more research and provide even better information for us all.