Post­cards

Col­lect­ing post­cards is a fas­ci­nat­ing hobby, ex­plains Re­becca May­hew, auc­tion­eer and auc­tions mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant at Dur­rants Auc­tion Rooms in Bec­cles

EDP Norfolk - - Auctions -

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.

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 are pho­to­graphs with a post­card back­ing.

Nov­elty post­cards were made us­ing wood, alu­minium, 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 the First World War. In the 1930s and 1940s, post­cards were printed on brightly coloured pa­per de­signed to look like linen.

One of the main at­trac­tions of post­card col­lect­ing is that the sub­ject is so vast you can gain ex­per­tise in your favourite cat­e­gory in a rel­a­tively short space of time. Even rel­a­tive be­gin­ners are ca­pa­ble of dis­cov­er­ing ex­tremely rare cards in their own cho­sen spe­cialised field. The va­ri­ety of sub­jects to col­lect is so im­mense that no­body could pos­si­bly be­come fa­mil­iar with all of them, there­fore it is fairly easy to be­come an ex­pert in your own cho­sen spe­cial­ity with a mod­est in­vest­ment of time in re­search.

The bulk of sur­viv­ing old post­cards are from the “Golden Age” pe­riod (1902–1918) and may only be worth a few pence each. Cards from be­fore 1902, of­ten dis­tin­guish­able by the lack of a “di­vided back”, are cer­tainly rarer and are worth from a few pounds up­wards. The ma­jor­ity of to­day’s col­lec­tors ABOVE: A post­card al­bum in­clud­ing RP Wool­wich Free Ferry, IOM SS Meneva and var­i­ous other cards RIGHT: Col­lect­ing old post­cards can pro­vide lots of in­ter­est

are in gen­eral more in­ter­ested in the pic­ture con­tent. Postally used cards from the early post­card years (1894 on­wards) are how­ever very col­lectable.

“Top of the range” post­card types in­clude Art Nou­veau, cards fea­tur­ing the Ti­tanic and the best ex­am­ples of pho­to­graphic so­cial his­tory. Trans­port is a pop­u­lar theme – rail­ways, shop­ping, trams, mo­tor­ing and mo­tor rac­ing - and, of course, mil­i­tary and World War-re­lated cards.

As with most col­lectibles, the sub­ject mat­ter, con­di­tion and rar­ity plus gen­eral de­sir­abil­ity and de­mand de­ter­mine value.

Pur­chases at auc­tions and car boot sales are, of course, a great way to start your post­card col­lec­tion – as well as hav­ing the choice of a vast se­lec­tion, there’s al­ways the chance of find­ing some­thing rare that some­one else has missed.

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