Some Prostitute/ Tart Cards
We’ve been big fans of the truly underground art that is the domain of the ‘Tart Card’ – those provocative printed adverts used by prostitutes to solicit in phone boxes throughout the known universe – for nearly as long as we can remember, first starting to collect them aged ten or so, in London.
Advertising hitherto unimaginable delights, these cards were flimsy glimpses into a hilariously sordid and intriguing world indeed. Further (happily), my fellow collectors and I soon discovered that several of the more common designs to be found around Kings Cross came in four or more different colours, necessitating swaps galore!
Unfortunately, our cards were thrown out subsequently by an unthinking family member, slowly being replaced over the years, but not entirely. Sadly for true collectors, it seems that with many men and ladies of the night now choosing to print their tart cards on ridiculously cheap and transitory paper stock, the Golden Age of the form has now passed, but we’ve still got our memories! We have tried to collect more recently (consequently noticing we look much dodgier doing so as thirty-something adults) but on the few occasions we’ve chanced on ‘old-school’-type cards printed on heavy stock, the doors of the phone boxes containing them have been wedged shut using paper…
So, in lieu of digging out the scanner and finding the time to scan some of our personal collection of older prostitute and tart cards, here’s a gallery of some from around the world that we’ve found online – mostly from the UK, but with some from further afield too. Enjoy!
Click thumbnails for full-size image