In this article we’re going to discuss the various types of postcards that are available to the collector and even the casual “sender.”
The general consensus is that a postcard is a postcard. Actually, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are a variety of postcard styles, each with its own characteristics. We’ll go over the most popular ones for the purpose of this article.
First we have what are called “view cards.” Since the very early days of postcards, view cards have been the hottest item among the collectors. People have been trading cards showing photos of their home towns and places they’ve visited since the beginning of postcard time. View cards are known for showing historic references to buildings, streets and even towns that are no longer in existence or have changed greatly over the years. Even views of these towns that were produced in the photochrome era no longer look the same. The early cards offer so much to us in the form of history with depictions of early telegraph, telephone and power lines. Even the messages written on the cards by the people sending them give us an insight into the sentiment of the times. It is almost like having a first hand account of what it was like to live back then. Certainly it is like holding a piece of history in your hands.
The next type of postcard is what is known as the “greeting card.” The greeting card is pretty much as basic as the view card was in the early days. However, the popularity of the greeting card has declined over the years. The most common greeting cards were Christmas, Easter and birthdays. Cards, such as Labor Day cards, which at one time were very popular and common are quite scarce today. Today most collectors specialize in maybe one or two topics of cards to collect. For example, some people will only collect Christmas cards showing photos of Santa if, and only if, he is wearing a green robe. In any case the early greeting cards were some of the most beautiful cards ever printed. Publishers would compete fiercely for sales and use the finest techniques available to print their cards.
The next type of cards are what are known as “historical cards.” These cards were printed to celebrate some historical event such as a battle of a war, a parade, or some political event. These cards today are very rare and bring a good amount of money to the serious collector. With so much history to choose from and so many historical cards printed, there is a wide open field and much to offer for anyone who happens to be interested in twentieth century history. Often the cards were printed with real photographs with very few printed, which made them very rare and a true collectors item. One of the most famous cards was one with a photo of the raising of the American flag on Iwa Jima during World War II.
Next, we have what are called “art cards.” Art cards are probably the most important in the antique category. These are cards that were made with actual paintings of famous artists. The skill of the artist of the period along with the rarity of these cards make them very popular among collectors today.
Finally, we have what are called “photographic art cards.” These are cards that feature real photographs of very beautiful women. These cards are usually hand tinted in fine detail and in the most beautiful colors you can imagine. The photomatage techniques available made it so that these cards could be converted into original art creations, making them truly unique.
See, a postcard isn’t just a postcard.