phunctum's Shop Announcement

Vintage photos, real photo postcards, postmortem photos, tintypes, antique cabinet cards, circus freaks photos, CDVs, historic photos, vernacular photographs with punctum from Phunctum

Punctum: "it is this element which rises from the scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces me."
―Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography

I've gathered these photos - one by one - because something about them draws me in...I hope you'll find something that speaks to you, also. These images may be fun, funky, freaky, haunting, historical, beautiful or bizarre. They will always be vintage, original, and scarce or one of a kind.

Follow me on Instagram: @phunctum

Please visit my other shop, veraviola, for unusual, lovely or odd vintage finds:
Both shops are proud members of the Etsy Vintage Team!

phunctum's Shop Policies


Welcome to Phunctum! Please come in & explore the images within...


Accepted payment methods: Direct Checkout or PayPal <<Please contact me if wishing to pay with money order/cashiers check. Money orders/cashier checks must be received within 7 days or item will be relisted.>>


It is the buyer's responsibility to provide their correct shipping address! I ship to the address given by PayPal.

I love multiple-item orders & happily refund any combined s/h overpayment in excess of $1.

Unless otherwise specified, Phunctum generally ships via USPS within 4 business days of receiving cleared payment. All items are carefully packaged for safe shipping - I want things to arrive to you in the same condition in which they left me. Please let me know if you desire to purchase insurance. I do often use recycled packaging, but pack to hold up to heavy handling & inclement weather.

***INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING is available on all items - Just Convo me for a quote, if not already listed!*** I'm happy to ship internationally. Please note, however, that Phunctum is not responsible for any VAT/Customs fees that may be related to to your order nor will we help you in illegally circumventing these fees if they are applicable to you. Falsifying customs declarations or having an item marked as "gift" in order to avoid customs fees is classified as Mail Fraud and is a felony.

Refunds and Exchanges

As Phunctum deals almost exclusively in vintage & antique items, nothing will be "like new." I strive to mention any wear, soiling or flaws. However, since condition is often subjective, I will also do my best to provide detailed photos or scans for your examination. But please contact me with any problems or concerns ~ I do want your experience with Phunctum to be memorable - in a GOOD way!

Additional Policies and FAQs

While my home is smoke & pet free, please remember that the items I sell lived somewhere else for many years before they came home with me!

Some thoughts about Post Mortem Photography:
Post mortem images are difficult for most of us to look at, and today are often seen as macabre. This is the reason for the warning photo I often insert as the first image in a listing. However, in the late 19th & early 20th century people were, if not less afraid of death than we are now, then at least more accustomed to it. In Victorian and early Edwardian times the infant mortality rate was high and life expectancy in general was far shorter than it is today. Photographs were expensive, and mostly reserved for special occasions. In many cases, no photograph of a loved one (especially a child) existed before they died, so having a portrait made after death was a way to hold onto a visual remembrance of them. Even a sad memory was better than no memory at all.

By the early 20th century mortality rates began to lessen. Many people could afford their own cameras and were able to photograph family members while alive. Having portraits of the living made post mortem portraits unnecessary, and they became less and less desirable.

And as for the collectors of post mortem photography, I like the description Ransom Riggs gives in his magazine, mental_floss: "The taboos of sex and death switched places in the last hundred years. The Victorians would’ve been shocked at the erotic images you find everywhere in the 21st century, but didn’t flinch when it came to making images of their dead loved ones. I’d like to think that the people who collect those photos are just as interested in this lost way of life — or rather, way of death; a set of rituals that now seem alien to us — as they are in the gruesome ghost babies themselves." (

Today most large hospital neo-natal intensive care units will offer to take a picture of parents holding their deceased infant. Some professional photographers even donate their time to the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, which helps grieving parents through the loss of their stillborn or infant children by giving the gift of professional portraiture.

Last Updated June 11, 2014