KARAKTUS

Crown Publishing Ltd, St Albans, 1908/9

 

Crown Publishing Co, St ALbans, Karaktus 27 - Milkman  

Who was Karaktus?

The highly distinctive comic cards illustrated here were published by The Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, and were sold nationally in 1908/9. They are numbered from 1 to 30 (the highest number I have so far identified). There was no later series.

The identity of Karaktus - and the Crown Publishing Co, which printed some other comic postcards in about 1908, remain a mystery.

Any help you can give in identifying other cards by Karaktus or the Company will be welcome.

 

 

The book Picture Postcards and their Publishers, by Anthony Byatt records the following:

THE CROWN PUBLISHING CO.

This seems to have been a very short-lived company which operated from 23 Catherine Street, St. Albans from about 1908 to 1910. No further trace can be found in 1911 unless the firm had moved to another town. A large crown was used as a trade mark.

The comic card is dominant, with a consistently high numerical sequence, suggesting that this commenced with the number 1000. Later issues are set off rather attractively by means of a dark brown-grained frame about 6 mm. wide. The humour generally attains a good standard.

The most distinctive group of cards published are those signed 'Karaktus'. Drawn in a bold style they convey the message in no uncertain way, as can be seen from Karaktus No. 1 (illustrated). On the back of this card the sender wrote, "I hope you will never be like this". At least 26 cards were issued in this series, but does any collector know the identity of Karaktus?

 

It is better to have loved and lost, than to have loved and married

No. 1 (posted 27th April 1909 in Milford??)

 

Karaktus Post Card No 2, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

"Take a chair!" " No, Mum, I've come to take the Piano!"

No. 2 (known posted 1 February 1909)

Karaktus Post Card No 3, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

Expulsion from Eden

No. 3 (posted 18 December 1908 in Kidderminster)

 

Karaktus Post Card No 4, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909  - Everything in the Garden

Everything in the garden is lovely!

No 4 (known posted 8 October 1908 in Derby)

Karaktus Post Card No 5, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

The early bird catches the worm ...

No. 5 (known posted 27 September 1909 in Birmingham)

 

Karaktus post card - St Albans - Bachelor

All bachelors should be taxed 50 ...

No 6 - (Posted 2 February 1909 in Sidmouth)

Karaktus Post Card No7, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

When taking a wife, be careful not to takes some-one else's.

No. 7 (posted 21 February 1909 in Hastings)

 

Karaktus Post Card No 8, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

Hi! Mister, If you'r drowning them pups save one for me!

No. 8 (posted 31 October, 1908 in Leicester)

Karaktus Post Card No 9, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

Scotland! With all thy faults, I love thy still

No. 9 (known posted 9 January 1909 in Kettering)

 

Karaktus Card No 10, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

Oh! Cheese It!

No. 10 (posted 26 January 1909)

Karaktus Post Card No 11, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

Money talks! but alas I'm speechless

 No. 11

 

Karaktus Post Card - St Albans - Deer Dear

Deers are very good runners - So was Gussie!

No. 12 - (Posted 18 March 1909 in Sidmouth)

(Card reported posted 1908, date not recorded)

Karaktus Post Card No 13, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

Who objects walking 6 miles for a drink? I'd walk 20

No 13 (Posted 18th July 1909 in Devonport)

 

Karaktus Post Card No 14, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909  Officers Mess

The Officer's Mess!

No. 14 (known posted 1909)

Karaktus Post Card No 15, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909 on beach

What's the use of all these things without a girl inside

No 15 (Posted  9 February 1909 in Yatton)

 

 

Karaktus card - drunkeness - Crown Publishing Post Card, St Albans

Come off at once Jimmy" Do you want to get intoxicated

No 16 (Posted 14 February 1909 in Dartmouth)

Karaktus Post Card No 17, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909 - Beer

It isn't love that makes the world go round. It's Beer

No 17 (Posted 1909)

 

Blow, blow, thou winter wind

No 18 - (Posted 1909)

Tell Me  if you can supply details (and possibly scans) of this Karaktus cards

No. 19 ???

 

And to think that's the girl who once fainted in my arms at the sight of a mouse

No 20 - (Posted 1918)

No. 21 No connection with next door

 

No. 22 Lovers' Styles

Karaktus Post Card No 23, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909 - Bachelors wish

The old Bachelor's Wish

Oh, Heavens! That clothes would but make the woman!

No 23  (Posted 1 April 1909 in Bradford)

 

Karaktus Post Card No 24, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

The Old Maid's Wish

Oh Heaven! That I but had the jewel that was in this case!

No 24 (known posted March 1909 in Tring) (A version of this card, with slightly different colouring, different lettering, and no publisher information, number, etc., on the back, is known posted in Birmingham in September 1909)

Karaktus Post Card No 25, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

Yes! Father puts in a lot of overtime

No 25 (Known posted September  1909 in Gaywood)

 

Karaktus Post Card No 26, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909 - Dog biscuits

Two pennyworth of dog biscuits, Please

No 26 (Known posted July 1909 in Sandwich)

Karaktus Post Card No 27, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909 - Milkman

Milkman - It looks very much like rain today

No 27 (posted 11 June 1909 in West Bromwich)

 

Karaktus Post Card No 20, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

I don't care if there's a girl there

No 28 (Posted 2 June 1909 in Staffordshire)

Harry Fay recorded the song

"I don't care if there's a girl there" in 1909

Karaktus Post Card No 29, Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, Herts, 1909

I want you to see my girl

No 29 (Posted 23 April 1909 in Powmill, Fife)

Frank Williams recorded the song

"I want you to see my girl" in 1909

 

Karaktus post card no 30 - St Albans

The Blind Man - This must be an Earthquake

No 30 (Posted 24 May 1918?)

 

 

The "ODD " Karaktus card

This card has no publisher information and the "Inland Postage" message suggests that it was published before the other cards, despite the 1909 postmark.

What happened to Karaktus?

You don't know Nellie as I know Nellie

There is no clear indication of who  "Karaktus" was or what happened to him.

However he seemed to have stopped producing cards for the Crown Publishing Co in the first half of 1909 and in the summer of 1909 another unknown artist  "Syllikuss" produced somewhat similar cards in Blackpool. Perhaps just a coincidence

Hints to Skaters

Don't Swank