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The Penny Arcade

 The Coin Operated Machine Information Site 


                                                 A collection of that uniquely British phenomenon 
                                           The saucy Seaside Postcard
                                       (coin operated machine related)             


   This instantly recognisable style of picture-postcard developed at the start of the 20th century, reaching its height in the early 1950's. The joke almost always relies on a double meaning or play on words.

   By far the best and most famous designer of these cards was Donald McGill (1875-1962)

     From his first design in 1906 till his death in 1962 he produced over 12,000 designs, the most successful selling over 6 million copies, yet he received no royalties and was never paid more than 3 guineas per design. During a government clampdown on morals in the 1950's (the government claimed the second world war had reduced moral standards) McGill was arrested and charged with producing obscene publications. This led to a major trial where the now almost 80-year-old McGill made the prosecution look fools( a view also widely accepted by the general public at the time), none the less he was found guilty and fined £50 with £25 costs. Four of his designs were banned(two can be seen to the left) and 17 were withdrawn from sale(all have since been republished). The wider effect of the case caused many companies to go broke and the genre never fully recovered.

McGill died all most penny less in 1962 at the age of 87(having just completed his 1963 designs ) and was buried in an unmarked grave in Streatham Cemetery. South London.

                                    A few of the cards shown here are McGills designs

                      WHAT DID THE BUTLER SEE ??

















                           ONE AT A TIME PLEASE !!