Mail Art, 1899

Laifle Photo Stamps 2

Johann Laifle was an early photographer in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany, active in the era from 1865 to 1900. He had a studio and did traditional portrait and landscape photography, but late in his career he began creating Briefmarkenphotographie (stamp photos) and advertising them in magazines — “Your own portrait on a stamp!”

 Laifle Photo Stamps 1

Enhanced by a faux-postal border, the sitter’s photo was printed on sheets, perforated and gummed, just like postage stamps, ready to be affixed to envelopes.



When I first saw them advertised in an 1899 Jugend magazine, these photo portrait stamps reminded me of Reklamemarken (poster stamps), non-postal “Cinderella” stamps, and the artistamps of the past few decades — all rolled into one.

 Laifle Photo Stamps 3

Circa 1900, Johann’s business passed to Oskar and August Laifle (I don’t know their exact relation to Johann) who did business as Gebrüder Laifle & Co. (Laifle Brothers).


They introduced the Porträt-Postkarte System Laifle, the sender’s photo portrait and an artist’s scene combined on a postcard, personal and professional art going through the mail — mail art — more than 100 years ago.






One thought on “Mail Art, 1899

  1. Pingback: Mail Art, 1898 – Read, Seen, Heard

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