How to Estimate the Age of a Vintage Postcard
I have lots of post cards from China, but I haven’t sent them out – we just collected them. There were seven eras for the postcard industry and each one has distinguishing points to help establish its respective identity. If it exists, it is more noticeable at the edges and in the dark areas of the image, and when viewed at a specific angle to the light. When the printing presses produced sheets of cards, the different colours would bleed, or leak, into each other along the edges. The dating of the postcard for years or eras of issue can be accurately determined if the card is studied for identity points. Have to dig them out. I love vintage postcards.
Postcard Types: Personal Postcards
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.
Old Postcard Dating Information. Home Home United Kingdom postcards can be roughly dated from their FORMAT. Divided backs, message on back.
We hope you find this guide useful but it should be used with caution, stamps in circulation could and can! Stamps illustrated are the common issues for the relevant ‘postcard rate’ of the period. Multiples of lower value stamps were often used, as were stamps higher than the required amount. Prior to this date – pre-printed plain cards were in use which are commonly referred to as ‘Postal Stationery’ The size of cards varied throughout this period.
Great Britain was the first country to sanction the use of the divided back postcard in Other countries followed in the years afterwards. The divided back allowed for one side of the card to be used for both the address and a message seperated by a central line. The other side could be a complete picture or photograph. Prior to this undivided back cards were in use which allowed for address only on one side and a brief greeting on the picture side.
It is of course possible to find undivided back cards used after and divided back cards used with older pre stamps.
How to Identify and Date Postcards
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.
This change the date card features your favorite photo together with scripted Change the Date chic calligraphy change the date postcard front & back. 1.
Real photo postcards are postcards with genuine photographic images on the fronts. They were designed and printed on the backs to be mailed, often having handwritten letters, addresses and postage stamps on the back. Real photo postcards with baseball subjects are popularly collected by vintage baseball card and memorabilia collectors, and prime examples of famous players and teams can fetch big bucks at auction.
Vintage real photo postcards, including of non-sport subjects, is a major collecting area all around the world. Most real photo postcards were essentially family photographs and snapshots intended to be given to relatives and friends or to be put in the family album. The factory made real photo postcard photopaper that happened to be a convenient size for such purposes. These family photos and snapshots will show standard family poses, including little Jimmy in his school uniform, the family picnicking or a wedding reception.
Some real photo postcards were used for advertising or sold to the public at stores and are equivalent to trading cards— and, thus, actively collected by trading card collectors. Many of these show celebrities such as movie stars, sports stars and politicians. Some famous sports photographers sold real photo postcards.
History of Postcards in the UK (potted version!)
Postcards are such a good idea that it seems they should have been around forever. But they haven’t. Postcards are a relatively recent invention, and an invention that took some time to mature, at that. Postal service, on the other hand, has been around a long time.
Postcard dated Author. An early divided back card, approximately Author. Gradually, countries started to allow the message to be.
Every subject known to man can be found on a postcard. Post Card History and Dating Methods. Although the world’s first picture post cards date from the s to the mids, post cards, as we know them, came into being in the United States about Prior to that time, there were trade cards and postal cards, which usually carried advertising or printed messages. Trade cards became popular with the enterprising merchants who distributed them from the s to the s.
With the advent of the camera, which was developed in the mids, and later the post card, history would be forever immortalized in print. The back of a post card can give several clues about the age of a card. If the postmark on a postally used card is readable, that is the first clue to its age. Most of the cards that made it to the post office were mailed within a year or two of being produced.
On a card that was not mailed, the first place to look is the stamp box. Stamp boxes are the small rectangular boxes printed on the upper right hand side, where the stamp is to be affixed. By comparing identical mailed and unmailed cards, researchers have developed a pattern to determine when a particular style of card was produced.
Dating and Authenticating Real Photo Postcards
Click Banner Below to go to USpostcards. Our Web Sites use different shopping carts and have to be ordered separately. The dating of the postcard for years or eras of issue can be accurately determined if the card is studied for identity points. Research has already been done by earlier historians and guidelines have been put into place. There were seven eras for the postcard industry and each one has distinguishing points to help establish its respective identity.
The following helps determine the era of the card in question.
been posted and so, whilst the photograph can be very important in dating a card, the back of the card can be equally useful. Relevant dates for UK postcards:.
Unless there is evidence to the contrary I would date any card with this mark to the s. There is an identifiable pattern. For example in my own collection of T. C horseshoe portraits I have four unrelated portraits, each dated This cannot be chance or coincidence. I would not be bold enough to suggest that a card can be precisely dated using these symbols but they can certainly be batched into early, middle and late twenties.
I have extracted the dated portrait cards from my collection and found a very significant clustering of dates for certain symbols. There are of course stray cards which were probably inscribed many months after they were printed and other inscriptions may be inaccurate but there are enough clues to indicate there is information of value here. My instinct tells me that a single symbol represents the first half of a year and a double symbol the second.
It is only a theory but the evidence is strong and I am convinced I am on the right track. I do not intend to pursue this research much further but will add any definite discoveries as they occur. In the top right hand corner on the back of a postcard is a place for the Postage Stamp.
About Postcard Collecting
There are a myriad of ways one can determine an approximate or sometimes an exact date for your old postcard. Among them are:. Some postcards, especially chromes printed by the LL Cook Company and a few others, and many vintage postcards by the Detroit Publishing Company also known as Detroit Photographic or Phostints put copyright dates right on the card about These earlier dates usually applied to the image and in many cases the card was actually printed a few years later.
The Divided Back Great Britain was the first country to sanction the use of the divided back postcard in Other countries followed in the years.
A irbrush – A Technique which colors have been painted using air compression. Very popular with linen postcards where all undesirable elements have been airbrushed away while enhancing the scenes colors. Albumen Print – An image printed on paper using egg albumen the white of an egg mixed along with whey derived from curdled milk. The albumen and whey is boiled, filtered, and then mixed with grains of iodide potassium. These prints usually show a brown, yellow, or purple tone.
Almost all albumen prints are done on very thin paper and then mounted to cardboard. This process was very common in the last half of the 19th century and was used most on cabinet cards. Album Marks – Discoloration or heavy indentations on the corners of the cards from the acid, leaching out of the antique album pages, or from weight. Aluminum – Cards made out of aluminum. Antique Postcards – Although the word Antique is generally considered to mean an item over years old, many collectors use the term antique postcards to describe cards of the – period, also known as the Golden Age.
These type of postcards are also called novelties.