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 Teich & Co. 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 World War I. 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

Duttenhofer's turns a milestone page, hopes there are many chapters to go
WCPO, May 3rd

He visits often, poking through shelves for anything that grabs him, from old magazines and art prints to vintage postcards and photography books. Among his favorite finds have been two antique collector catalogs with ornate illustrations of swords...Read more

Inside the White Cube
The Indian Express, May 2nd

Another artist from Bangalore, Bakula Nayak, moves the focus to a more surrealistic arena, one where real-time objects, vintage postcards and letters in her case, are juxtaposed with intricate illustrations of her own imagination. Her drawings...Read more

Society presentation to explore life, legacy of Jacob Tome
Cecil Whig, April 30th

The Jacob Tome Institute, left, and the former residence of Jacob Tome, right, can be seen in this vintage post card. Jacob Tome history. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HSCCPHOTO COURTESY OF THE LOC. The Jacob Tome Institute's Memorial Hall was ...Read more

Carthage gathering boosts original Jefferson Highway
Joplin Globe, April 29th

Debye Harvey, co-owner of the historic Boots Court motel in Carthage, looks at a map on Friday at the Jefferson Highway Association Convention at the Legacy Barn Event Center near Carthage. In the area, the Jefferson Highway was the predecessor for ...Read more

Crisp & creative redo hits home in SF
San Francisco Chronicle, April 29th

Pick anything you love — some people love framing keys, vintage postcards or even funky food labels from their travels. Keeping it personal will make the display more interesting.” Frame it “A little investment in framing can go a long way. A vintage...Read more

Waikiki's Hip New Place to Stay
New York Times, April 25th

The local artist Kris Goto's surf prints hang on guest-room walls alongside vintage postcards; the Honolulu photographer Mark Kushimi's beach scenes are placed throughout the property; and restored Aloha fabrics (of the same style used for those iconic ...Read more

Hamilton's history explored with vintage-postcard book
Hamilton Journal News, March 20th

Smith, who serves on the boards of trustees of the Butler County Historical Society and the Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre, took most of the images from his 3,000-plus vintage postcard collection, of which about 600 depict Hamilton scenes, with about 1...Read more

Show highlights vintage postcard art, January 20th

While tweets and posts may be assuming the role of paper missives in daily life, vintage postcards still have plenty of admirers, many of whom will gather Friday and Saturday at Tampa Stadium Hotel/Econolodge for the Sunshine Post Card Club's winter...Read more