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  • Publisher: Ottmar Zieher, Munich (publishers)
  • Date: 1900
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 14 cms


Rare German anthropomorphic map postcard dated Jan 1900 and depicting Germany’s fez-hatted “Friend on the Bosphorus”

About this piece:

Unser Freund am Bosporus

[Our Friend on the Bosphorus]

Original colour-printed postcard. Used. Message to recipient dated 13th Jan 1900 inscribed in purple ink to lower border of recto. Italian address in Genova to verso with three mailing postmarks and Swiss stamp. Postmarked St.Gallen Switzerland 14.1.00.  Slight creasing & rubbing to corners. Margins slightly soiled. Imprint of Ottmar Zieher Munich to upper left border of recto image.

Similar to the series of novelty map postcards produced by the firm of Edward Schmidt in Dresden at around this time, this equally rare anthropomorphic map card was printed in Munich by the firm of Ottmar Zieher and depicts German’s unofficial political ally, Turkey, in the form of a fez-hatted gentleman, resting his pointed chin (the Bosphorus) on his hands, which follow the outline of Western Anatolia. Looking towards the south, his distinctive nose follows the outline of Albania & northern Greece, its tip around the location of Volos.

The postcard is dated January 1900 and reflects the increasingly close political and economic ties that were developing between Germany and Turkey during the period immediately before the First World War.

Much of that growing interraction was driven by the prevailing political alliances of the period and also, perhaps even more importantly, by the vital Berlin-Constantinople rail link which had been established in 1889 and which Turkey wished to further extend through Anatolia, Syria & Mesopotamia to a terminus in Baghdad. The project served to galvanize the political and territorial interests & ambitions of both countries and it received substantial backing from a number of German banks. Turkey would of course side with the Central Powers at the outbreak of World War One through the secret treaty signed on August 2nd 1914. Though Turkey agreed to enter the war in support of its German ally, the terms of the treaty were not finally implemented by the Turks until the end of October 1914, when war was finally declared following the Ottoman fleet bombarded Russian ports in the Black Sea.

The Munich business of Ottmar Zieher [1857-1924] had originally been established as a paper trading company in 1880. In 1892/3 it was rebranded as a specialist postcard designer & publisher and its postcards proved popular & the enterprise flourished during the early years of the 20th Century. The business was continued by son and namesake, Ottmar Jr [1883-1952].

A rare and unusual anthropomorphic map postcard.