|Don Cosby has a garage on his property 45 minutes from Malibu, Calif., set aside just for his collections.
Don Cosby ’48 is three for three, which would be a wonderful feat were he a Major League ballplayer. But off the diamond it means he is a major-league collector who’s long been on the hunt for the top three in the world of collectibles: stamps, coins and postcards.
We’re not talking just any postcards. We’re talking Postcards Dickinsonia.
A couple years back, Cosby felt it was time to start dispersing some of the myriad collections that he and wife Janice keep in their specially designed collections garage. So the Granada Hills, Calif., resident mailed his postcard collection to the Office of College Relations as a gift to the college.
Besides the postcards, coins and stamps, the couple has collected 2,000 golf balls with logos from courses hither and yon (“I’m a swinger,” Cosby proclaims), 300 phones (he used to own a company that sold mobile phones and pagers), 300 toy tanker trucks, 11,000 casino chips, 5,000 open salt dishes, 120 old carpentry tools (“I remodeled or added onto all my houses,” he notes), oh, and the two Mustangs he restored—a ’65 and ’70. Appropriately, Dickinson got the postcards, more than a hundred of them.
It is, says archivist Jim Gerencser ’93, the largest postcard collection ever donated to the college. (Other donors gifted a few at a time.)
Of all the postcards of all the joints in all the world, why Dickinson? “I collected the postcards because they pertained to my college—the best in the world,” Cosby says. “I always said, ‘Look at the rest, then come to the best—D’son.’
“I enjoyed the school,” he adds. “It was good. The three professors who were the toughest but best were [Joseph] Schiffman, [Herbert] Wing and a biology prof. Can’t remember his name.”
For 12 years Cosby sought postcards “from various antiques shops, flea markets and a few auctions throughout the United States. The biggest supply I got from the Ventura Flea Market in California. There were eight I purchased there. Some I even got from Carlisle antiques stores.”
Best of all are those annotated in the flowing handwriting of a century ago—or at least Dec. 1, 1904, as one indicates.
“I enjoyed reading some of them,” Cosby says. “They make a nice history of the school, and some of the cards were written by students. They look good. After all, it’s Dickinson College. I’m a Dickinson man, do or die.”
A new line of postcards depicting the campus, by Pierce Bounds ’71, college photographer, will be available in the College Bookstore later this fall.
Postage through the Ages
The first U.S. postage stamp was issued in 1847. Below are some costs of mailing postcards through the years.
1898: 1 cent
1925: 2 cents
1958: 3 cents
1963: 4 cents
1968: 5 cents
1971: 6 cents
1974: 8 cents
1975: 9 cents
1978: 10 cents
1981: 13 cents
1985: 14 cents
1988: 15 cents
1991: 19 cents
1995: 20 cents
2001: 21 cents
2002: 23 cents
2006: 24 cents