Frequently Asked Questions
Cards with Stock Numbers
Cards with stock numbers represent the majority of the listings. In sets with stock numbered cards, each card has the same number (eg 3000). Stock numbers facilitated wholesale and mail order sales. To search for a Tuck card all that is needed is the number, but there are too many cards with low stock numbers. To make it easier to find low numbered cards try adding any word or prefix that appears on the card.
Individually Numbered Cards
In sets with individually numbered cards, each card has a different number (eg 1 to 50). These can be very difficult to list with certainty (e.g. the UK County topographical cards that were among the early Tuck productions). The somewhat later USA sets are less uncertain, but very few packets seem to have survived from this era. What information we have is in the "sold as" slot.
Cards without Numbers
There are many thousands of Tuck cards that do not have numbers. They are listed in the database alphabetically according to the Set Titles.
In general anything printed on the card or packet is in CAPITAL LETTERS. Comments and other information use lower case (small letters). At first we adhered rigidly to this convention and found it to be very satisfactory and almost essential if we were to produce a useful listing. The shock value of, say new york instead of New York or jesus instead of Jesus was a useful reminder that the words are not on the card. However the weight of convention has forced capitalization of the first letter of places, names, other proper nouns and also of initials.
Tuck postcards were usually sold in packets of 6 cards. A packet is an envelope with information printed on the outside. Most cards on TuckDB are grouped in sets that were sold in a single packet.
Tuck sales catalogs and lists are a very important source of information, but on occasion the Company seems to have advertised cards that they intended to produce but which have never been seen! Almost all Tuck advertising booklets appear to have been written in English, but the Company had offices around the World. We very much wish to see any such advertising that did not come from Head Office in London. Even for the latter our records are far from complete and we would very much welcome the opportunity to buy or copy the years that we do not already have.
Most Tuck cards were were sold in packets of 6 cards. This began at a time in England when small goods were usually sold by the dozen (12 items) and the currency was 12 pence to one shilling, 20 shillings to a pound. Many postcards were sold at 3 pence or 6 pence for a packet of 6 cards. The expansion of the Tuck business around the world led to some packets of 10 cards but in the main the 6 card tradition was maintained even in Countries using decimal systems. There are a few much longer sets where the subject demanded this e.g. The American Presidents, some of the Coronation sets, State Belles. We include this information in the "sold as" slot. We need information and packets for many sets. On occasion a "set" consists of only one card, with 6 identical images making up the "set". Similarly there may only be 2,3,4or5 different images with duplicates to make up the packet to 6 cards.
Set Titles are taken from the cards, packets or Tuck advertising whenever a title is given by Tuck. Sometimes we only have the images on the cards and over the years titles have been "allocated"-most recently by John Smith - and we have continued the tradition so as to make possible a sensible listing. On occasion we have attempted translation of set titles given by Tuck in foreign languages. Please forgive and let us know about the inevitable mistakes. Many sets were published in the UK but sold as different editions in Countries where English is not the first language, we cross reference these were we can but need information about many.
Card Title is as printed on the card (IN UPPER CASE), but when there is no printed title we give a description (in lower case). A description is essential to identify the individual cards in sets without card titles. A description is also necessary for "Search" purposes in for instance a card that is clearly golf related but on which the word "golf" is nowhere on the card. Many subject and comic cards are of interest for those collecting a subject or occupation. It is hard to know how far to go with this and we welcome your comments. Card Title blurs into card comment.
Series is a word used very freely and extremely inconsistently by Tuck. It causes so much confusion that we have chosen to ignore it! We do however record the various TRADE NAMES e,g, OILETTE, AQUARETTE. We also record REAL PHOTOGRAPH where appropriate (and if the card appears to be photographic without being marked as REAL PHOTOGRAPH we note it as "not so trade-named". Similarly Oilfacsim productions that are only marked as OILETTE are "oilfacsim but not so trade-named").
An Overprint is a phrase printed over-top the base image of a postcard. Here is an example of an overprint A HAPPY CHRISTMAS
Most Tuck cards were were sold in packets of 6 cards. This began at a time in England when small goods were usually sold by the dozen (12 items) and the currency was 12 pence to one shilling, 20 shillings to a pound. Many postcards were sold at 3 pence or 6 pence for a packet of 6 cards. The expansion of the Tuck business around the world led to some packets of 10 cards but in the main the 6 card tradition was maintained even in Countries using decimal systems. There are a few much longer sets where the subject demanded this e.g. The American Presidents, some of the Coronation sets, State Belles. We include this information in the "sold as" slot. We need information and packets for many sets. On occasion a "set" consists of only one card, with 6 identical images making up the "set". Similarly there may only be 2,3,4 or 5 different images with duplicates to make up the packet to 6 cards.
Yes! We made a separate sister site: TuckDB Ephemera
Before World War 1 began in 1914 most of the Worlds postcard Printing was done in Germany - they were far better at it than anywhere else at the time. When the war started Tuck had for sale hundreds of thousands of cards made by the enemy. You can imagine the effect this had on sales. To mitigate this they used several different ornamental designs to hide the offending words.
Search by Series or a Set number. For most cards this number printed on the back of the card like so:
When faced with a numberless card try searching by card title. Card titles are usually written on the front of the card:
Many postcards created by Tuck have the same image image with a different back. Once the company had purchased the image they presumably were free to use it in any way that best suited their business. We attempt to cross reference such usage-but this varies greatly among the many different products. In general collectors prefer their set of postcards to have the same general appearance & preferably the same back.
For topographical cards of the United States the same images can appear on several cards, sometimes with identical fronts, sometimes printed in different colours with the same or different methods of production. There is a long run of cards trade-named RAPHOTYPE or COLLOTYPE or SILVERETTE, early cards made for sale in small places come with differing set numbers. We list & cross reference all of these varieties
For some subject cards prepared for World-wide sale-but mainly sold in Great Britain, the title of the set changes over time with little or no change in the cards that are included. We usually list both such sets.
Many non-Oilette cards depicting Great Britain come printed by a variety of processes, (usually less than three, but sometime five). These appear so different that we list cards bearing each trade-name separately
Many images were prepared for sale world-wide with appropriate language changes, sometimes involving set & card titles, sometimes only the backs. We use Tags to identify & separate such "foreign" backs. Many cards exist with the same image but backs in English, French or German. These are all listed separately, but are cross-referenced
Cards made by Lilywhite are presently listed with the Tucks (separately tagged) because many of the same photographs were purchased by both firms. When we finish Editing we plan to split Lilywhites out into a separate list.