Image of open and closed vintage luggage tag

Having just had a holiday, the first thing I do when I get back is plan the next one. A self-perpetuated circle of travel thoughts.

And I just unearthed this paper tag from a pile of things waiting to be put into my scrap-book files (yeah, yeah it is that bad) and it exacerbated my travel itch.

I do like my tags.  The idea of giving someone a bon voyage, or in this case a ‘Cheerio!’ card or tag is something long gone, I assume.  Bon voyage these days means a proper emigration. Or at the very least a year off abroad.  Obviously this card was intended to attach to someones suitcase. To send them off, happily annotated, on their cruise.

This small tag is signed with the name Jan Lavies.  Now. I follow blogs by the poster-obsessed inteligencia. And Lavies was a poster designer proper. A Dutch one. He worked for several of the big travel companies, including the Holland America Line  from 1950 – 1970. So he obviously did a nice line in luggage tags as part of that work, some of which are nicely documented here. This card has ‘Holland America Line’ on the back.  I guess you got sent one when you booked a ticket for someone?  How nice.

Lavies was a stylish chap. He designed stylish posters, too, though in a very dutch manner – heavy on the typography.  But I prefer this little tag.  I like the shape, the way it unfolds to tell its story, the gasping orange-lipped fish, the happy sailor pulling in the message in a bottle.  I even like the string.

Obviously it never got used, so somehow never fulfilled its promise. It missed out on telling that extra part of its life-story, of what suitcase it attachted itself to and whom it accompanied on their cruise.

Yet, unused, it remains an object of potential, of holidays to come and voyages to be taken.  Mine, hopefully.

One Comment

simon at easyontheeye

Very smart artifacts. It’s quite sad to think that these days stores could probably sell “Glad To See You Go” cards (or worse). In fact I better patent that idea before Paperchase read this.


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