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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Recent News: Postcards

Source: Google News

Huge postcard collection could leave Lake County
Chicago Daily Herald, September 1st

The Lake County Forest Preserve District could transfer ownership of the world-renowned Curt Teich Postcard Archives to the University of Illinois as part of a potential plan to save money and make the collection more accessible. Established in 1982 at...Read more

Hacking Google Earth to Create Stunning Mountain Shots
Wired, August 31st

Meike Nixdorf's stunning mountainscapes landscapes look like vintage postcards. But she made them with the latest technology: Google Earth. Nixdorf's been fascinated with topography and Google Earth since using it to scout a video project two years ago...Read more

Hey, you only turn 450 once: It's St. Augustine party time
Orlando Sentinel, August 30th

In a postcard from the early 1900s, a man stands with outstretched arms to show that St. Augustine's Treasury Street is only 7 feet wide. In a postcard from the early 1900s, a man stands with outstretched arms to show that St. Augustine's Treasury...Read more

Wish you were here: a Metal Gear Solid V postcard collection from Big Boss
VentureBeat, August 29th

Above: It's a long road. I'm serious, my adventure can take you over 100 hours to complete. Image Credit: Konami. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is as similar to as it is different from the rest of the Metal Gear Solid series. After two decades...Read more

Ruth Haley's postcard collection exhibit opens Saturday at Potsdam Public Museum
North Country Now, August 28th

POTSDAM – The Potsdam Public Museum, 2 Park St. will open the Ruth Haley Collection of Postcards exhibit on Saturday, Aug. 29. Ruth Haley (1912-2009) was a guidance counselor at Potsdam High School from 1961 to 1979. The postcards in the ...Read more

Inside Wimbledon: our fascination with food
Wimbledon, August 27th

A look at the Wimbledon Museum's postcard collection from this time period shows that cards with images of afternoon tea and strawberries and cream were a particular crowd-pleaser. One such postcard from circa 1910 contains a photograph of tennis stars ...Read more

Antique postcard, paper show is Aug. 28-29 in Springfield
Bolivar Herald-Free Press (subscription), August 23rd

The Postcard and Paper Americana show involves buyers and sellers bringing thousands of antique postcards for sale, as well as buying collections and accumulations, and giving free appraisals of most all vintage postcards, old photographs, and paper ...Read more

Looking Back: Vintage postcards from resort
The Visitor, August 19th

In this week's Looking Back we have delved into our archives to look at some vintage postcards after one reader sent a nostalgic postcard overlooking the promenade. This vintage postcard, right, was sent in by reader Mrs Joan Atkinson...Read more