What do the following things have in common? The dining room of the Victoria Sanatorium in Colfax, Iowa. Severe damage in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, from the 1964 Good Friday earthquake. A gas station owned by a black man in 1941 in a town called Brooklyn Bridge, Kentucky. You probably wouldn't believe it unless you saw them, but all of these were found on postcards – and all are examples of things you might find at today's Vintage Paper Fair. About 45 sellers deal in postcards as well as photographs, posters, luggage labels, brochures, and stereoscopic cards, among other things, according to Hal Lutsky, who has put on the fair in several California cities for about 10 years. Other subject matter you might find on two-dimensional historical relics include sports, motion pictures, transportation, architectural landmarks, fashion trends, and geography. The event promises to be rich in local history. Lutsky told us he has seen a menu from the Tadich Grill (one of the city's oldest restaurants), a schedule from the long-gone Key System (that ran trains across the lower deck of the Bay Bridge), and various depictions of our better-known attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Playland at the Beach. Asked about the more unusual postcards, Lutsky explained that it in the early 20th century it was a way for people who owned cameras to keep personal records and share experiences with their friends and family, whether it was living through a natural disaster or watching Junior on Christmas Day riding his new tricycle. Think of it as Facebook before there was a Facebook. In fact, bring your smartphone in case you want to photograph and post what you buy – you know, keep it in circulation.
Jan. 7-8; April 21-22; Aug. 4-5, 2012