About Series : M. & L. Series

M&L Series

There are eleven different series of McVilly & Little cards, each with their own distinctive front and back layout. A summary of these, with publication dates, is given at the end of the "About the Publisher" section.


This series is called "M&L Series" because that is the way the cards are labelled on the back.This is a different series to cards labelled "McV & L".


Layout: Cards in this series have "M&L Series Printed in Saxony" (or with 'Copyright' included) on the left margin of the back, with the card number at the bottom left, as below.




















 There are three different styles of front image in this series, as shown below:


  • B&w cards: Numbers 1 to about 25 are b&w, and then an occasional b&w card appears in the number sequence between colour cards.
  • Colour cards: These have a caption of either red italics across the top of the picture or white italics at the bottom of the picture.
  • Impressed cards: Colour cards with a wide white border with an impressed frame. e.g. cards 107 - 110.

Printer: The three styles of cards were all printed by Emil Pinkau & Co, Leipzig, Germany, in 1910. The printing process was different for each style:

  • B&W cards were printed by collotype, with caption by letterpress.
  • Colour cards were printed by Glaser's Autochrom (different to Autochrome) process of printing separate colours (red, yellow, blue) by separate lithographic plates, and printing a black layer on top by halftone letterpess.
  • Impressed card were printed by a similar method to Autochrom, but the top black layer was done by collotype.

Without the printers name being on the cards it was necessary to deduce the printer from the printing method, card layout and printing fonts. Helmfried Leurs kindly did this analysis and provided a detailed report which is included below.


Date: About a quarter of the cards have the year 1910 included in the caption.  The earliest postmarked date I have seen is 26 October 1910, with quite a few later in 1910 and in 1911. Cards late in the series are also postmarked 1911 and 1912, suggesting the the whole series was released at the one time.


Number in Series: Cards I have seen are in the range 2-114.  Sometimes a b&w version of a card was given the same number as the coloured version (eg 32) but in other cases the two versions were given different numbers (eg 15 and 31). 


Identification:   A summary of the identifying features are:

  • Back of card printed in brown (b&w cards) or maroon (colour cards) with the words "POST CARD" in a decorative font at the top.
  • No printers name or number
  • Along the left margin "Copyright M. & L. Series. Printed in Saxony"  or "M. & L. Series. Copyright Printed in Saxony", or for the b&w cards "M&L Series Printed in Saxony"
  • Stamp box dotted, with "Affix Stamp" inside it.
  • Dividing line between correspondence and address area on back is a double line.


By Helfried Leurs, The Postcard Album, Rastede, Germany

Email: TPA-Leurs@t-online.de

 This analysis of the printing of the M&L Series cards was prepared by Helmfried Leurs, publisher of the journal The Postcard Album. It was based on two cards, the coloured and b&w versions of the same scene, both numbered 53.