People often find themselves in possession of an old postcard and want to know how old it is. If the postcard is used, the most obvious solution is to check the date on the postmark. However, there are many vintage postcards out there that were never mailed, so here are some clues to determining the age of your post card. These are general guidelines. There are exceptions to most of these rules, but these guidelines will give you a general idea of how old your postcard is. The first commercial postcards produced in this country were sold at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago Illinois in These were the first privately printed souvenir postcards.
The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Postcards
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Most Real Photo Postcards, abbreviated RPPC, have information on their backs to help in identifying the manufacturer of the photographic paper that was used by the postcard publisher. If you can identify the paper manufacturer, you can approximate the age of the old postcard. If the postcard has a stamp box, click on one of stamp box links below. If there is no stamp box, or a generic stamp box, go to Postcards Backs. All entries on one page may be slow to load. Real Photo Postcards are photographs that are reproduced by actually developing them onto photographic paper the size and weight of Postcards, with a Postcard back.
There are many Postcards that reproduce photos by various printing methods that are NOT “real photos”
Value of Old Postcards
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The clues for dating a postcard often lie in mundane things like clothing, such as Instead of focusing on the clothes think about how old your grandfather looks.
So what’s the history of picture postcards? Here are a few timescales: – First postcards issued in the UK. These were plain cards, front and back with a pre-printed stamp and were published by the Post Office. No other companies were permitted at this time to print postcards. This brought the UK into line with other countries and is the most common size of vintage postcard you will see today. There was a picture on one side of these cards, usually not leaving much room for any message to be written as it was at that time considered unseemly to allow personal messages on something that was open for all to see!
These cards are called Undivided Backs People used to get round it by writing on the front, in the space around the image! Check out this one of Ryde Esplanade, Isle of Wight. On the front, would be the picture. Good tip for today, perhaps? The period between and when the Great War broke out, is known as the Golden Age. Between those dates hundreds of thousands of postcards were issued – it became a national craze both here and abroad.
Hence all the private collections of vintage postcards found in house clearances today
How to Estimate the Age of a Vintage Postcard
THE caption was often written on the negative which was often glass. Real photo postcards have been produced since the early ‘s. Kodak sold a postcard camera and you could buy a stamp of film, take your postcards, and have them developed on special postcard stamps. These cameras captured many timeline photos, events, and disasters. Many of these postcards are rare, one of a kind postcards and historical documents.
Determining age is not easy, even if a card has a date printed on it. Many cards were sold for years after their printing, and the postmark date shows only when.
Publisher’s numbering scheme Other clues. Pioneer Era Although the world’s first picture postcards date from the s to the mids, most of the earliest American picture postcards extant today are those that were sold at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, starting on May 1, These were illustrations on government-printed postal cards and on privately printed souvenir cards. The government postal cards included a printed 1-cent stamp; the privately printed souvenir cards required a 2-cent adhesive postage stamp to be attached.
Messages were not permitted on the address side of the cards; after attempting various forms of explaining that regulation, the U. The required postage was a 1-cent adhesive stamp. At this time, a dozen or more American printers began to take postcards seriously. Still, no message was permitted on the address side. Writing was still not permitted on the address side. In this era, private citizens began to take black and white photographs and have them printed on paper with post card backs.
Stamps on Postcards – a guide to dating cards
This guide is meant to aid the collector in identifying and dating real photo postcards, and to act as a reminder that it is impossible to do so with great accuracy. A lthough real photo postcards were made in a variety of ways, they hold one identifiable feature in common. The tonalities of photos are completely continuous to the eye producing true greys, for they are created by the reaction of individual photosensitive molecules to light rather than the transfer of ink from a plate.
In printed images the grey areas are usually made up of black marks that are spaced to create the optical illusion of greys. Though most of us today are familiar with the concept of photo grain, this is mostly because we have experienced very large prints made from small 35mm negatives.
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Deltiology, numismatics and philately are reportedly the three most popular interests in the field of collecting yawning yet? In just the first line of this article, I have managed to make it sound confusing, pretentious, and even strange. More precisely numismatics encompasses the collecting of coins, paper money, and medals. This article, however, will categorize landmarks or eras in American postcard production.
Plus it will provide useful methods for identifying and assigning a date of manufacture. This is a staggering statistic when you consider that the population of the United States during the same year was less than That averages out to just more than nine postcards a year mailed for every person in the country. With hundreds of millions of postcards mailed each year during the Golden Age of Postcards it is not surprising that antique postcards are so popular and still readily available to collectors.
In identifying and dating postcards there are specific eras, defined by both style and dates; however, these dates do not account for the transition from one era to the next. The naming convention of these examples are classified by the image on the front of the postcard. Real Photo, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco period postcards were produced in more than one of the classic postcard eras. For example, Art Nouveau period postcards were produced during the Pioneer Era. Changes in style and production format overlap.
Postcard Eras begin with the Pioneer Era to
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The study and collecting of postcards is called “deltiology. The value of old postcards is dependent on a number of factors, including their condition, rarity, age, and subject matter. Similar to other types of vintage and antique collectibles, postcard values are based on a specific set of criteria that affect the value of antique and vintage postcards.
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See how Washington, DC and Smithsonian visitors have shared their trips with others by taking a historic look at the Smithsonian through the picture postcard. This page provides a few general methods for determining a time period or date for postcards. Postcard producers printed cards that followed the current trends of postcards.
Dates can be approximated by the material and design of a postcard. Our Postcard History page provides information about these general trends. For example, a card printed on linen was most likely produced between and