How to research the value of vintage postcards

Written by patti perry
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How to research the value of vintage postcards
Research the history of postcards to find their value. (vintage post cards image by Paul Coskery from

The terms philocarty, cartephilia and deltiology were all early reference words for postcard collecting. The first U.S. cards appeared in the 1860s and vintage government-issued cards had a one-cent stamp affixed to them. Inquiring about and examining details of antique souvenir cards provides clues to any postcard's worth. The value of vintage postcards depends on many historical factors specific to this art form. Researching through books and websites is a good start.

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  1. 1

    Study reference books with details about the evolution of postcard history. Before World War I, German lithographs were printed as postcards. Information about the history of postcards can be found in the book, "Real Photo Postcard Guide: the People's Photography."

  2. 2

    Look for a cancellation date and learn the postage rates through history. Systematically find other distinguishing characteristics such as content and size.

  3. 3

    Examine the postcard paper for indicators of its producer and learn this history from reference books such as "Real Photo Postcard Guide: the People's Photography." For example, the Velox company made early photo paper and had a logo printed on the back of its postcard stock of a silhouetted man with a pipe.

  4. 4

    Scrutinise postcard borders and investigate this evolution. There was a "white border era" from World War I to the 1930s. Other eras, such as the linen or chrome eras, define postcard time periods and values. Knowing the history of postcards is essential to finding their value.

  5. 5

    Attend "The Picture Postcard Show" in London in September. See "The Picture Postcard Show" website for the exact yearly date.

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