Saucy postcard collection is up for sale in Southsea

FOR SALE One of the postcards
FOR SALE One of the postcards
Bishop's Waltham.

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They feature an array of attractive young women, large old ladies, drunken middle-aged men, honeymoon couples and vicars.

Tens of thousands of Donald McGill’s saucy seaside postcards have been sent from Southsea and every coastal resort in Britain since they first appeared in 1905.

FOR SALE One of the postcards

FOR SALE One of the postcards

And next week more than 1,000 of them will be auctioned at Nesbits’ saleroom in Southsea.

McGill, who was born in 1875 and died in 1962, was an English graphic artist, whose name became synonymous with the naughty postcard.

His work is highly collectable – appreciated for his artistic skill, its power of social observation and earthy sense of humour.

Even at the height of his fame he only earned three guineas a design, but today his original artwork can fetch thousands of pounds.

In 2010 the Donald McGill Postcard Museum was opened in Union Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight which was apt. For in 1953, police raided five shops there seizing more than 5,000 postcards, the majority of them by McGill.

Approaching 80, McGill fell foul of several local censorship committees which culminated in a trial at Lincoln in July 1954.

The charge was breaking the 1857 Obscene Publications Act 1857. He was found guilty and fined £50 with £25 costs.

The wider result was a blow to the saucy postcard industry. Many postcards were destroyed as a result and retailers cancelled orders. In the late 1950s, the level of censorship eased off and the market recovered.

Over the span of his career McGill produced an estimated 12,000 designs, of which 200 million copies are estimated to have been printed.

One of his postcards holds the world record for selling the most copies – more than six million. It featured a bookish man and an embarrassed pretty woman sitting under a tree, with the caption: ‘Do you like Kipling?’/’I don’t know, you naughty boy, I’ve never kippled.’

The auction is at Nesbit’s in Clarendon Road, Southsea at 10.30am on February 1.