How to collect postcards

Ever wanted to collect postcards? Terry Kirkman, Hon. Secretary of the Ferndown and West Moors Philatelic & Postcard Club, offers his advice…

The introduction of picture postcards (1894 in Britain) suddenly allowed people to send a picture of their home town, holiday destination or local event, and must have been an exciting development, so it’s not surprising that people wanted to keep a collection of postcards from the outset.

Postcard showing Manchester Messengers football team. The team played against Sheffield Messengers in an annual inter-office match on 19th October 1913, winning 2-1.

Postcard showing Manchester Messengers football team. The team played against Sheffield Messengers in an annual inter-office match on 19th October 1913, winning 2-1.

What to collect can be divided roughly into two categories:

Subject Cards – such as animals, children, comics, exhibitions, glamour, greetings, military, railways, royalty, shipping, sport, theatre and entertainment. However, collectors seem to be thinking up new topics all the time. There’s nothing to stop you looking for and putting together a collection of postcards showing anything from aeroplanes to zoos, boating lakes to yacht racing.

Coloured picture postcard of General Post Office Birmingham. Cancelled 11th February 1909 in Birmingham.

Coloured picture postcard of General Post Office Birmingham. Cancelled 11th February 1909 in Birmingham.

Topographic Cards – views of places, buildings and events. These fall into two broad categories:

  1. Real photographic types – generally the most valuable. Those produced by small local publishers are scarcer and more expensive than the ones produced in greater numbers by national publishers, such as Valentines, Judges and Walter Scott. They are usually glossy in appearance and black/white or sepia/white (colour cards are normally printed).
  2. Printed types: Mass produced copies from a photographic original. These are usually matt in appearance, the image isn’t sharp, and they are more common.

For town views, the more ‘animated’, with people and vehicles and interesting things going on, the better. If the view is a tourist or seaside spot, it is likely to be common.

Age of Cards
Non collectors instinctively assume that older means rare, but postcard production and sending, reaching its peak during the ‘Golden Age’ of postcards (approx 1902-14), and a collector may find it relatively easy to find cards from that era. Many topographical collectors want to collect ‘All Periods’ so that they can follow changes, as a town has developed, right up to the present.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s