Antique postcards hold a glimpse of another place, culture, fashion, humor from past times. And the historical artifacts have always attracted enthusiastic collectors. However, you must know the value from either seller’s/buyer’s perspective for trading.
Do you want to evaluate the exact amount after identifying the worthy collectible? It’s not an easy task with thousand collectibles, despite its relatively modern timeline. Well, stick with our expert discussion on appropriate antique postcard values.
What are Antique Postcards?
Collecting postcards remains a great hobby all around the globe for a good time. The simplistic yet highly well-documented section actually came into the picture in the 1900s. Overall aspect of the study on postcard collection is called ‘Deltiogy’.
However, the postcard hit mainstream media or culture by the very end of the 19th century. And many parts of the world continued using cards by the end of 1900s.
Historians managed to enlist an elaborate history of postcards within different periods. You must check the special features of the individual period for valuation. and we would like to introduce you to the seven defined postcard periods.
Pioneer Era (1893 – 1898)
Private Mailing Card Era (1898 – 1901)
Undivided Back Era (1907 – 1915)
White Border Era (1915 – 1930)
Linen Era (1930 – 1945)
Photochrome Era (1939 – Present)
Rear Photo Postcard Era (1900 – Present)
How to Value Antique Postcards?
It’s somewhat a lengthy, complicated & uncertain process to value a postcard from the past. Of course, there are several specific factors to affect the probable amount. Each consideration holds an interdepending chain with the other in terms of pricing.
Let’s have a look at the most essential factors to ensure the precise pricing of old postcards.
· Current Age/Year of Issuance
There are antiques & there are vintage, retro, and even modern postcards for trade. You must start checking individual points on identification the right way. Then start matching the features, marks, writings & signatures with the aforementioned periods.
Likewise, older postcards should value much higher than explicitly newer postcards. The already mentioned oldest postcard was sold at $50,000 in 2002. Emphasize anything before the commercial production before 1893 to make or invest an absurd amount.
· Rarity in Number, Design & Production
Rarity can coincide with different perspectives like – location, event & age. Foreign postcards from the early colonial places can value ridiculously high. But the actual market price should vary depending on the willing or interested customers.
Meanwhile, a postcard from the early war period or exclusive-level historic event needs attention. In fact, authentic provenance simply initiates skyrocketing increase than the counterparts. Many old cards are extremely rare to find, setting the price pretty high.
· Existing or Current Postcard Condition
Almost everyone wants to invest in a collectible to retain its pristine condition. It’s no surprise to check the surprisingly lower price for postcards in poor conditions. Every visible detail actually matters to obtain the maximum amount at trading.
Cards must remain in its actual shape without damages like discoloration, tears, foxing. Also, the writing words as well as other included or imposed details require clarity. There, fetching the highest market value primarily depends on the postcard’s condition.
Commercial valuations services have defined multiple states to indicate the condition. But matching the specs to denote a specific condition appears difficult for many. However, you should explore the expert-narrated states of condition for accurate processing.
- Mint: The term refers to the perfectly preserved postcard without the slightest distortion. It’s applicable for the cards to remain intact since its original issuance. Complete cleanliness prevails for the collectible with no bends, creases, postmarks, or writing.
- Near Mint: Almost the same feature stands for the secondary inferior to mint ones. But close observations tend to reveal definite aging marks or discoloration. Most of the available cards to qualify for the category went through the poor storage facility.
- Excellent: The category implies postcards to feature o obvious flaws in terms of damage. And the appeal stands almost similar to near mint or mint, at least. Postal uses or nearly no-use conditions should come without damages like bends, pinholes, creases.
- Very Good: Immediate inferior to the excellent ones with slight rounded or bent edges. Again, the surface may feature a definite indication of aging through discoloration. Fine appeal with minor storage defects comes with the writing as well as postmarks.
- Good: Noticeable damage on the corners like blunts, folds, cracks, or rounds remain present. Used as well as pristine postcards are available within a supportive budget. However, the extent of other minor damages will surely encourage or discourage the tag.
- Fair: Spoiled appearance of the picture or surface makes the category the least one for collection. Visible damages are present in random order due to heavy postmark cancellation. Passionate collectors will barely feel interested without potential rarity.
- Poor: It’s more like an incomplete postcard with a seriously damaged picture, writing & mark. Many market experts had referred to the categorized postcards as space-filling junk. But slight specialty about a particular postcard may worth some mere amount.
· Specific Type of the Postcard
Postcard collectors are divided into two defined categories to find the collectible. First one to imply topographical cards remains the most popular field across the UK. Meanwhile, the subject cards or topicals stand highly popular in the USA region.
Topographical cards held a broad picture of a location, depicting real-life living. But the subject ones checked a specific object for complete focus without details. It’s a must for every postcard collector to narrow down the preference first.
· Content or Subject of Postcards
Cards to represent or capture specific moments in history check superior valuation. The subject can cover lots of different events depending on the originating country. However, collectors from all over the world primarily emphasize the following contents.
- Art Nouveau or Deco
- Street Scenes
- Social History
- Ocean Liners
- Trams & Transport
Special infrastructure (Statue of Liberty/Eiffel Tower) or immortal historic icon (Titanic) also attracts the clients. Not to mention, the acceptance actually depends on the collector’s intention & budget.
· Stamped Postmarks & Signatures
Imposed postmark can easily lead to the original time, place & significance of application. The message on the back to authenticate its provenance will set the value incredibly high. And cancellation postmarks can push the tag above standard average.
Signature from well-known historical figures also holds significant importance. However, the practical extent actually counts almost limitless with lots of written & fresh postcards. Meanwhile, pictorial cards with the artist’s signature should introduce a greater amount.
· Current Demand for Postcards
Not everyone wants the same or even similar postcard for his/her precious collection. That’s where the market demand initiates an extremely wide variation in demands. Customer location also plays an important part in deciding the value for offline trading.
However, postcards to integrate a definite provenance or rarity will always value more. And don’t forget the obvious fact of potentially interested customer budget. Anything to make a difference in the antique world can also affect the valuation process.
Resources on Antique Postcard Valuation
The well-documented section comes with lots of free as well as premium resources. You should check the following books to specialize in antique postcard valuation.
- The Postcard Price Guide, 4th Ed., A Comprehensive Reference by J.L. Mashburn
- The Encyclopedia of Antique Postcards: A Fully Illustrated History and Price Guide by Susan Brown Nicholson
- Vintage Postcards for the Holidays by Robert Reed & Claudette Reed
- Linen Postcards: Images of the American Dream by Mark Werther & Lorenzo Mott
- The Artist-Signed Postcard Price Guide, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Reference by J.L. Mashburn
- Collectors Guide To Post Card by Jane Wood
- The Golden Age of Postcards Early 1900s (Identification & Values (Collector Books)) by Benjamin H. Penniston
- Rare and Expensive Postcards: [A Price Guide] by John M Kaduck
- Black Americana Postcard Price Guide: A Century of History Preserved on Postcards by J.L. Mashburn
Postcard is something to capture the old times along with beauty, consistency & value. And you can’t make a good fortune without knowing the market prices. Exploring the highly extended subject using the aforementioned guide should meet your utmost satisfaction.