NATURAL DISASTERS and how to make a buck

Nearly a week doesn't go by without a natural disaster somewhere in the world making us pause and think "Those poor people. I'm glad it wasn't me." Because of the speed with which news travels we're aware of these events moments after they happen. We forget that word used to travel slow and before the advent of photography most events remained foreign to all but those involved. 

Today is the 103rd anniversary of the Great Quake in San Francisco. Unless you live near San Francisco it probably never even crossed your mind or was mentioned. For those of us who live on the fault line it's an annual reminder of what may lay ahead.

I purchased this postcard at an estate sale. I've never seen another, though some postcard collectors have told me they've seen a few, but rarely. It depicts a street in San Francisco following the quake. Attached to the card with a purple ribbon is a Chinese coin. A man from Oakland, California named Ben Michaels produced this. It's copyrighted 1906. A penny postcard to send to friends far away letting them feel somehow part of the event. The copy is of it's time and belittles those of the Chinese community. Old Ben was out to make a buck or two. How genuine the coin is I don't know. Ben gives no credit to the photographer so I don't know if he took it or misappropriated it. Ben was the same as the hucksters today who try to take advantage of a situation. Ben has disappeared into history, but his little penny postcard has survived.

The "Relic" Postal_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

To see an amazing photo of the city in ruins over a month after the quake and fire look here. To see some recently discovered photos following the quake look here. And lastly, to read a little about the event look here.

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