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.
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Spare Times for Dec. 19-25New York Times, December 19th
15) More than 80 black-and-white photographs and vintage postcards from the 1920s to '60s, featuring the work of the American Indian photographer Horace Poolaw, who died in 1984, are the focus of the exhibition “For a Love of His People,” on view...Read more
Rex Hospital, Raleigh, NCGoodnight, Raleigh, December 18th
This week on Flashback Friday we showcase a postcard image every Raleigh native will recognize — the venerable Rex Hospital. Although the building no longer functions as such, and has been repurposed as an office facility by the State of North...Read more
Somerville arts group looking for another banner yearMyCentralJersey.com, December 18th
The organization is also coordinating an "Altered Postcard Project" based on vintage postcards of Somerville. Artists are invited to use one of the five postcard images that can be found on artsondivision.com to create a new piece of art that will...Read more
3 Days In ParisCondé Nast Traveler, December 18th
Scan the papers on any given day and you'll clock poor Paris relentlessly being pitted against it longstanding rival across the channel, London—and often branded the less economically and culturally dynamic of the two. Thankfully the view from the...Read more
Special Calendar On Sale NowCoronado Eagle and Journal, December 18th
On sale now in the Museum Store of the Coronado Historical Association and available at Artisan's Alley, this beautiful desk/easel calendar features vintage postcard images of Coronado and is the prefect gift for someone who loves Coronado. Perfect to...Read more
Postcard collection tops 250000, and still growingAlbany Times Union, December 9th
He purchased a rare Titanic postcard for $10, sold it for $20 to an antiques dealer, who resold it to a postcard collector for $40. "Everyone was happy," he said. "It's cheap entertainment for me," he said. He paid less than $1 apiece for more than 90...Read more
Vintage postcards reveal how Victorians predicted future of travelDaily Mail, November 25th
A collection of weird and wonderful postcards dating back to 1900 show the Victorians were not far off in predicting the future of travel in the 21st century. While most of the ideas remain totally unachievable in the modern world, some of the concepts...Read more
It's World Post Day: Check out these amazing vintage postcardsCNN, October 8th
Some of the best postcards have been gathered in a book, "The World in Pocket-Size Format: The Adolf Feller Postcard Collection," by Monika Burri. It's available from Swiss company Scheidegger and Spiess. World Post Day celebrates the anniversary of...Read more