Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas collectible: Santa looks over 1955 Ford

With Christmas right around the corner, I thought I'd share with you a Santa Claus collectible that is now hanging on the living room wall near the aluminum Christmas tree.

The postcard pictured here was issued in 1955 by Ford Motor Co., and distributed by local dealerships to be sent to customers to entice them to stop by and look over the new line of 1956 Fords.

Besides its colorful image, the promotional postcard does double duty as a 78 rpm record of Rosemary Clooney and the Mitch Miller Orchestra performing a Christmas song. I don't know what the song might be because I haven't had a turntable that plays 78s in several decades.

Notice that the record/postcard is produced by Auravision and Columbia Records. That's the same team that in 1963-64 produced a set of baseball player picture recordings featuring top stars of the day.

Note also that my Santa-Ford record has the sales pitch signed by "Bob Lemke". Presumably, that Bob Lemke was a salesman at the Ford dealer in Mosinee, Wis., where the card was postmarked on Dec. 9, 1955.

That signature is how I came to own the card. Years ago, one of my weekly eBay searches was for the name "Lemke." At the time I was trying to keep my collection of Mark Lemke baseball cards current.

The car-selling Bob Lemke is no relation of mine. There was or is a branch of the Lemke clan in and around Wausau, Wis., about 20 minutes north of Mosinee. The Wausau Lemkes
in the past operated a photo studio and a dairy.

Besides wanting the Ford Christmas postcard because it was signed by another Bob Lemke, I had another reason for adding it to my collection. It brings back childhood memories of my Aunt Corrine.

When I was very young, around 4-6 years old, my Aunt Corrine lived with us. She was my mother's youngest sister, and was very involved with raising me and my own baby sister.

Aunt Corrine worked as a bookkeeper for the local (Fond du Lac, Wis.) Ford dealership. Knowing my penchant, even at that early age, for colorful cards, she sometimes brought home for me the promotional postcards showing each year's new Fords in the mid-1950s.

Over the years I have thought of assembling a collection of those childhood automobilia memories, but I never pursued it. These days I'm more concerned with divesting my collections. So, this 1955 Santa Claus card will likely be the extant of my accumulation of mid-century Ford postcards.

I've got one more Christmas collectible to share with you in the near future. Watch this space.

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