JOPLIN — During this past weekend at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, the Heritage Event Company of Tulsa, Okla., hosted the Vintage Market in Joplin.

Area antique collectors were on hand to showcase their items for the public. One of the vendors was Jim Taylor of Courthouse Square Antique Postcards of Neosho.

Taylor has been involved in collecting postcards since the 1980s when he owned the Pizza Hut restaurants in Neosho.

"When we bought the old Jones Pharmacy on the square (which is located near Neosho City Hall), we were restoring it to put a Pizza Hut in there and we needed imagery of the square," said Taylor. "We were trying to get pictures of the interior so that we could redo, we were not going to make it anymore modern than we had to. And in the process of doing that, we got a lot of interest of the rest of the town, so when we opened the restaurant, we did the décor with photography and postcards of the Neosho area. We framed them and they were on the walls. Then we went out to our (Pizza Hut) restaurant on the (Neosho) Boulevard and did the décor with postcards. Postcards kind of grew from there."

The downtown Pizza Hut began in 1987-1988.

Taylor had numerous postcard topics ranging from historical to townscapes to different buildings and so forth.
"For the stock that I bring around to the shows, I probably have 30,000 to 40,000 postcards," he noted.
Postcards have been around for awhile.

"The earliest postcards, the first picture postcards were done with the (World's Fair: Columbian Exposition of Chicago) in 1892-93," said Taylor. "Prior to that there were also U.S. postal cards that on the other side, instead of a photo, they would have an ad for business or barbershop or something. Those run back to the 1870s or 1880s. The more contemporary cards, there is not a lot of interest right now. They have to have a little bit more age on them to be really collectible. There are areas that are really popular through this part of the country, all of the small town photos. People collect a lot of the roadside Americana like the Route 66 or Lincoln Highway."

Taylor himself produces a dozen postcard shows from Chicago to Dallas and everywhere in between.
"There are postcards on virtually every topic you can think of," he said. "Each one is a little snapshot in time for that era. Most of the towns, there would be a photographer come through about every five to 10 years, depending on how active the community was.

"If it was a very successful growing community, every couple of years, the guy would come by and take new pictures of businesses around the square or of the depot remolded."

Taylor enjoys his hobby of collecting postcards.

"It is a fun hobby," he said.