Sunday, 1.30.05: Kaiser Krazed
It's midnight. One of those evenings when my ebay madness has given me a second wind.
I was just about to go to bed when I started leafing through a stack of postcards I haven't processed yet. They are the oddballs -- not quite Greetings, not really Places. A little humor, a little poetry, a little religion. I spied one I've since learned to refer to as a "mechanical" -- two layers with a rotary dial in between; pictures show through a die-cut window. Eight pictures -- some kind of German general, I thought, and a bunch of children looking all military. I was distracted at first by all the "shamrocks" till I realized they were clover.
The guy had one of those pointy German helmets. What do I know about German history, but could it be Kaiser Wilhelm? The name surfaced from some swamp in the back waters of my mind.
So here I sit, 2 hours later, my research complete. Yes, it is Kaiser Wilhelm, and the Kaiserina and their 7 children. I puzzled over the printed German inscription and with the help of online dictionaries figured it out: "God save the royal family."
The card was undated, but the youngest child was born in 1892 and looks about 8, so that would make it very early as far as postcards go -- about 1900, before all hell broke lose for this the last German Kaiser and King of Prussia, who got blamed for starting World War I. On the net I found the names of his wife and seven children.
Then I had to look up in the postcard book how to refer to the construction -- the little dial thing. Ok: "mechanical" with a "rotating disc."
This all called for opening a bottle of wine and having a little nightcap. Invigorated, I raced all my new-found knowledge to auction. Scanned, described, posted and toasted.
Why do these things get me all worked up? The joy of the hunt? Yeah, I feel like a cat who has sniffed out a mouse and won't rest till she nabs it. Gotcha!