American News Company

The American News Company was founded by Sinclair Tousey in 1864. It became a major distributor of postcards, magazines, newspapers, books, and comic books through a national network of more than 300 affiliated news agencies.

They mostly covered New York and the mid-Atlantic region. Nearly all of their output was in view-cards. Most of their cards were printed in Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin, Germany. After the start of the first world war, they, like many publishers, switched to American and French printers.

They often became the focus of litigation from trying to monopolize the distribution of printed material in the U.S.

Their closure in 1957 led to great difficulties in distribution, putting many small publishers out of business as well.

Their earliest black and white cards did not have a logo, but they later began using variations of a basic design to match their different printing techniques. Each technique was issued under a different trade name.


They had a numbering system for their cards, but the numbering convention continually changed to better suit the actual needs of the time.

A series: Letter A prefix
B series: Letter B prefix with sequential numbers running 1- 12200.
C series: Letter C prefix with sequential numbers running up to 15000

Within these series, certain techniques were assigned a range of numbers, but there are gaps because some techniques were more popular than others and the less popular cards fell short of their allotted range.

To cope with this problem, especially after new techniques were introduced, the company began allotting numbers in smaller blocks. Eventually, cards were just numbered sequentially without regard to style.

Many cards with undivided backs were reprinted with divided backs after it was authorized in 1907.

American News Company Poly-Chrome Logo

Poly-Chrome cards were German-made and printed in photo-chromolithography with heavy retouching. Their colors are bright and so flat that they almost resemble screenprints. The process was used mostly before 1907.

Prefix A   (1903-1907)
Prefix M   

Ram Island, Painesville, Ohio (1907)
Vintage postcard (c. 1907) depicting Ram Island in Painesville, Ohio. It has a handwritten message.

Entrance to Snyder Park, Springfield, Ohio (1907)
Vintage postcard (c. 1907) depicting the Entrance to Snyder Park in Springfield, Ohio.

Some of the Wilds and Wooded Parts of Idora Park, Youngstown, Ohio (1908)
Vintage postcard (c. 1908) depicting a scene from Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio.

ANC Mezzochrome logo

Appearing around 1909, Mezzochrome cards were made in Germany. They were printed at a tinted halftone over an RYB pallet. Their very small dot pattern gives them a more photographic than drawn look.

Prefix D  4000-15000

Euclid Avenue, Garden Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio (1910)
Vintage postcard (c. 1910) depicting the Garden Theatre on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.

Source: Metro Postcard