Postcards (sometimes spelled out in two words as "post cards") became popular at the turn of the 20th Century, especially for sending short messages to friends and relatives. They were collected right from the start, and are still sought after today by collectors of pop culture, photography, advertising, wartime memorabilia, local history, and many other categories.

Postcards were an international craze, published all over the world. The Detroit Publishing Co. and Curt-Teich were two of the major publishers in the U.S, and sometimes individuals printed their own postcards as well.

There are many types of collectible vintage postcards. Hold-to-light postcards were made with tissue paper surrounded by two pieces of regular paper, so light would shine through. Fold-out postcards, popular in the 1950s, had multiple postcards attached in a long strip. Real photograph postcards (RPPCs) are photographs with a postcard backing.

Novelty postcards were made using wood, aluminum, copper, and cork. Silk postcards – often embroidered or with a printed image – were wrapped around cardboard and sent in see-through glassine paper envelopes, and were especially popular during WW1. In the 1930s and 1940s, postcards were printed on brightly colored paper designed to look like linen.

Most vintage postcard collectors focus on themes, like Christmas, Halloween, portraits of movie stars, European royalty and U.S. presidents, wartime imagery, and photos of natural disasters. Not to mention cards featuring colorful pictures by famous artists like Alphonse Mucha, Harrison Fisher, Ellen Clapsaddle, and Frances Brundage.

With vintage postcards, subject matter, condition, and rarity, plus general desirability and demand, determine value.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)



Andreas Praefcke's postcard collection of theatres and concert halls worldwide. Showcases 3700 images of over 1810 … [read review or visit site]

Tall Tale Postcards

Tall Tale Postcards

Don't let this one get away from you. This 'unbelievable' collection, from the Wisconsin Historical Society, featur… [read review or visit site]

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Recent News: Postcards

Source: Google News

Boyle Heights warehouse is the new home of Lucha Libre
89.3 KPCC, May 21st

Credit: Casas-Rodriguez Postcard Collection/Flickr Creative Commons.) The carnival matches were a big hit at the military bases in border towns, where Mexican promoters caught on and started selling out fights in Mexico and Japan in the 1940s. The...Read more

New book explores Maine culture through vintage postcards
Bangor Daily News, May 21st

With vacation season nearing, a new book that examines Maine culture has just hit stores across the state, highlighting the state through the decades. “Maine Memories: A Vintage Picture Postcard Tour,” by John Brunkowski and Michael Closen, recently...Read more

The Isthmus fun zone: From educational to exotic
U-T San Diego, May 21st

The Isthmus fun zone: From educational to exotic. By Roger Showley6 a.m.May 21, 2015. ?. Print. ????. Comments 0. The California Missions attraction at The Isthmus mixed in with fun and games and thrill rides. — David Marshall postcard collection ...Read more

Vik Muniz: postcards from the edge, May 21st

These large-scale collages (on show this weekend as part of Photo London) are giant copies of vintage postcards that are themselves created from shredded old cards. For Muniz, they are an attempt to capture the way we recall any place in our minds as a ...Read more

Meet America's Two Grossest Hotels
Slate Magazine, May 20th

On the website, the only representations of the exterior of the hotel are an old print taken from an antique postcard and a more recent aerial view. Images of the interior spaces are—comparatively speaking—lackluster and tired. Regularly ranked as...Read more

Retrospective: Vintage Yellowstone postcards
Montana Standard, May 14th

Retrospective: Vintage Yellowstone postcards. Believed to be the world's first national park, Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872. These vintage postcards from the early 20th Century show the park as it looked more than a century ago. May...Read more

Miami Beach Was Eden with Deco Follies, in Vintage Postcards
Curbed Hamptons, May 1st

Postcards, as much as anything, provide a rose-tinted picture into the paradise of the past or, in the case of those awesome old postcards from the 30s, and 40s, a hand-drawn idealization. However whitewashed and glamed up, they still give a vivid...Read more

Reward offered for stolen vintage postcards
Courier-Gazette & Camden Herald, April 23rd

Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison said April 22 that Victor Ames told police some rare and possibly valuable antique postcards bearing ink stamps from the 1800s had been stolen from his home on Emery Avenue April 10. Dennison said Ames reported ...Read more