The Great War in Stereoviews

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Keystone View Company Stereoview Markings

Keystone used several variants of the company and city sections during the period WWI sets were on sale. Different combinations resulted in three major types, knowledge of which is useful for dating cards and reconstructing sets.

Type I cards were used from 1915 through 1920. Earlier ones, generally from 1915-1917, have a distinctive typeface with Keystone View Company in 11-point, Manufacturers and Publishers underneath in 8-point, and the cities at right in 8-point. The earliest Type I cards bear a copyright date, either 1915 or 1916, and the titles include the parenthetical notation "(European War)." A common variant of Type I in use from about 1916 through 1920 had Keystone View Company in 12-point and Manufacturers and Publishers in 9-point. The cities section remained in 8-point, but the style differed noticeably from the earlier Type I. Variants of Type I cards are illustrated below.

Markings on Keystone Type I Stereoviews

Early Type I cards. On some, the "K" is rounded, with the lower leg extending below the serif of the left side. The "y" is either rounded or angular. The "w" has a curlicue on the left side. All had the same cities section

Later Type I cards used a larger font with distinctive spacing. Note the absence of a comma after "N.Y." at right

Sets issued at the beginning of the war and immediately after US entry into the conflict appear to have been rushed into production and often have no text on the reverse. Type I cards typically have black or blue handstamped sequence numbers on reverse. In addition to handstamped sequence numbers, cards from the 1920 set often bear imprinted parenthetical sequence numbers before the image numbers.

In 1921, Keystone changed to a more modern font, resulting in Type II cards. Keystone View Company was in 15-point type, Manufacturers and Publishers in 10-point, and the cities in 11-point. This change coincided with Keystone’s purchase of the rights to Underwood & Underwood images, identifiable by a "V" prefix to the image number and a credit to Underwood & Underwood under the company logo. At this time, Keystone still listed offices in Meadville, PA; New York; Portland, OR; London; and Sydney, Australia. In the mid-Twenties, Keystone added Chicago and deleted Portland and Sydney, creating Type III cards.

Markings on Keystone Type II and III Stereoviews

Type II cards appeared in the 1921 and 1923 sets.

Type III cards were in the 1923 and 1932 sets. Most 1932 cards also had a star imprinted at upper right above the city names.

Characteristic sequence numbering schemes for Type II and III cards were large printed black numbers on the front center and position number boxes on the reverse.

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