- The ‘Winsch back type’ Postcard Puzzle -

Actually a strange matter. An address side design to become an established term among postcard collectors for many years already. Above you see the major elements of the ‘Winsch back’ address side. “POST CARD set in distinctive serif type, arranged in centre of floral, art-nouveau type elements / outline lineage. This was NOT specially designed but supplied by a yet unidentified type foundry = available to any printer.

The term comes from the imprint found on picture side of many (but far not all) cards: DESIGN COPYRIGHTED, JOHN WINSCH, followed by a year date. John O. Winsch was a publisher of quality non-topographic cards from Stapleton, New York. Said to had been in business between 1907 to 1915, cards of the 1907-09 period not showing his name(?). The above imprint found with year dates ranging from 1910-15. In general information on the person John Winsch and his business appears to be scarce, probably never researched seriously. A collector claims that Winsch had published some 3,000 different card designs. A source not mentioned. I do not collect Winsch cards, but those samples I have do not show any series or card number imprints.


The reason why “Winsch back type” is popular with many collectors, not only from the USA but world-wide, is of course not the address side layout. It is the picture side with work of artists like Schmucker, Freixas, Elliott, Ryan etc, usually in high chromolithographic printing quality, carefully (highly) embossed. Makes many of these cards much wanted and costly, too. According collectors there are at least some 125 Winsch cards (NOT including variations!) after work by Samuel L. Schmucker alone.

Cards without ‘John Winsch’ imprint

Same quality postcards are found without any Winsch copyright imprint. Including cards with work of sought-after artists. But many cards with typical ‘Winsch back” bear no ‘Printed in Germany’ imprint although the printing quality is the same. Printed in the U.S.A.? Such cards usually say so. Some may belong to the early 1907-09 period when Winsch is said to have not marked cards. It becomes even more confusing. Other cards with ‘original’ Winsch type address side suddenly show numbers.


‘Common’ New Year Wishes design with Winsch 1911 imprint. P/u 1911


Easter Greetings design without Winsch imprint but in same quality and identical address side design incl. ‘Printed in Germany’ mention. Not p/u.

’The Lord is risen’ might be an early Winsch issue. Again with typical address side layout BUT no ‘Printed in Germany’ imprint although it is the same high class chromolitho printing. The card illustrated was p/u in April 1909.

’Message of Love’ shows the typical Winsch address side design without Winsch imprint. Also no ‘Printed in Germany’ imprint. However, this time there is a number (849) found on address side arranged along the left short side. A card / design / series number. The card was p/u in Dec. 1911.

Now who was the printer who used the characteristic address side design labelled ‘Winsch back type’? It was the huge printing company of (formerly) Gebr. Obpacher from Munich. Bavaria. Actual research results, proofs, contributions by fellow collectors, the company history are found in TPA issue 28.


‘Winsch back type’ imitators

Winsch cards appear to had been good selling, despite the higher price. Competitors used to watch the market developments and often imitated popular designs, to make own cards look very similar for improved sales.

Another reason why a particular card series shows similar design elements was due to the printer. ‘Thanksgiving Greetings’ could well had been a design first used for the Winsch type card line. Probably the printer was also the publisher and held reproduction rights? Anyway, the address side looks identical except the imprints ‘Correspondence’ and ‘Address’. Also the entire side was printed in grey and not in the usual green ink.


This is another “Winsch-back imitator”, but already with the same “Correspondence” and “Address” imprint as above. Between POST and CARD you see a capital ‘D’ with arrow by a yet unidentified publisher. Furthermore the Christmas card shows a series as well as card number imprint. Postally used in 1913. No “Printed in Germany” nor “Made in U.S.A.” imprint. Printing quality of address side is average, picture side okay = common chromolithography, oval border embossed. One of a number of other cards showing a Winsch back-type like address side layouts.

Another publisher who very likely tried to benefit from the well introduced design is found on next page.

Winsch Printers?

Together with a list of potential German printers who could had been the printing source.


Thanksgiving Greetings, quite luxury design with very similar Winsch type back design. Printed for Remy Industries (Belgium), shows their ‘Lion-head’ logo together with ‘117-A’. Not p/u. Remy (rice starches) published quite some postcards. Often previously published card designs used.

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