- Associated Press - Sunday, November 2, 2014

STERLING, Ill. (AP) - Some people collect baseball cards. Others seek out rare antiques. Allen Dir is on a mission to find postcards - of the local variety.

Although he’s always considered himself a history buff, it was only after getting lucky by winning $1,000 from a lottery ticket in May that he finally decided to spend some of it on a hobby.

Dir, 41, hunts for local postcards of a bygone era on eBay by searching for the phrase “Sterling, Illinois postcards.” He tries to keep his bids to about $5 apiece, including shipping.

Friday, he was surprised to see two of his most recent treasures - one from Indiana and the other from Tennessee - arrive at his home on the same day. The oddity: They were sent on the same day to an address in Boston almost 100 years ago.

“For 94 years, they’ve been God knows where,” said Dir, who works as a driver and salesman for Stewart Beverage in Sterling. “They’re a little piece of history.”

Both postcards, now encapsulated in clear, protective covers, have the same faded postmark - 3 p.m. Aug. 16 - and describe the same story: a memorable trip up the Rock River in 1920.

“Yesterday we had 130 mile ride through the prettiest part of northern Ill.,” begins one of the postcards. “Lowell Park to dinner - a long ride by the banks of Rock River, Grand Detour, Oregon, Byron + Rockford + back.”

“They were really used a lot like an email or a text,” Dir said, noting that the cursive lettering on each is hard to read and distinct, and they aren’t signed, so it’s impossible to tell who the authors were.

“I always thought they had better handwriting,” he said with a laugh.

Dir, a 1991 Sterling High graduate, has 39 postcards in his collection, and is about one or two short from completing it, he said. Once finished, the assortment will be framed, he said.

“It’s fun to piece all of that together.”

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Source: The (Sterling) Daily Gazette, http://bit.ly/1DuNefK

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Information from: The Daily Gazette, http://www.saukvalley.com

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