The Hongkong Pictorial Postcard Co. [????-c.1905]

Submitted by David on Sat, 08/25/2018 - 13:53

This company published postcards in Hong Kong.

One of their postcards has an undivided back, suggesting they were in business before 1907. Can anyone tell us more about the company, its dates of operation, and its postcards?

Date organisation closed
(Day, Month, & Year are approximate.)

Photos of this organisation:



The Hongkong Pictorial postcard Co. seems to have gone out of business by 1905, and seems only to have operated for a short time after the turn of the century, and never to have updated its production method after 1902. The reasons for these observations are, firstly, that their cards appear always to have been in the 'undivided back' format, a worldwide pre-1902 requirement for all postcards, whereby the message had to be written on the front, where a white strip was usually provided for that purpose. That the company didn't adopt the 'divided back' style suggests that they weren't in business long enough after 1902 for it to be worthwhile.

Secondly, they never issued postcard views of the 1906 typhoon, which they surely would have done had they still been in business by 1906. The company had already issued several views of ships wrecked by the 1874 typhoon in Aberdeen, Central, and Macao, so typhoon damage was one of their interests yet they produced nothing showing the 1906 typhoon.

Thirdly, as has been shown elsewhere on Gwulo, around 1905 the postcard firm of M. Sternberg & Co. began to boast 'The largest assortment of Cards in the Colony', a claim that would not have been possible had the Hongkong Pictorial Postcard Co. still been in business, since HKPPCo's output was very prolific and wide-ranging. There are so many different views by the Hongkong Pictorial Postcard Co' in existence that no one knows how many there are to find. Some are numbered, but with no indication of where the numbers 'stop', and many aren't numbered anyway.

Also, the postmarks on postally-used HKPPCo. cards tend to be from 1905 or earlier, though of course a postmark can be applied to the card any number of years after the company has ceased to exist, but the majority of postmarks fall before 1906. 

A further consideration is that M. Sternberg's cards show many of the same images that the Hongkong Pictorial Postcard Co. had used during its existence, possibly indicating that Sternberg had the field to himself.

Some Hongkong Pictorial Postcard Co. cards have an additional 'caption' printed either on the front or the back: 'Town agents Sayce & Co.' For the HKPPCo. itself only a P.O. Box number is given. A brief search of Hong Kong business registers failed to discover anything about the company - was it a Chinese or a Western company? Where was it's head office? When did it start business? etc. Such a large output of coloured and black and white cards, nearly all of good quality, suggests a large company, and maybe that was the problem - possibly it went bankrupt.