Caledonian Philatelic Society

Postcard Collecting

Collecting postcards is in many ways complimentary to stamp collecting and many collectors collect both and they can enhance a stamp collection. Postcard collecting caters for all interests and can encompass a wide variety of interests - football, royalty, railways, aircraft local history and so on. Postal history, events of social importance and snap shots of the past are all captured on postcards.

The picture, stamp, postmark, message and address are part of the life of two people - the sender and the recipient - in the past. Few collectors are lucky enough to find a postcard written by a famous person, but many correspondents referred to current events in their messages.

Postcards provide a panorama of the events of past years: World Wars, Fetes and Fairs, Coronations, Weddings and Funerals, Natural Disasters - indeed a worthy record of events right up to the current day. Personalities, Celebrities and a multitude of ordinary people are featured showing the changes in fashion and recording human achievement over the years. Transport and Town and Country development is easily followed by looking at postcards. Postcards were used widely to promote tourism and it seems that every square inch of the country has featured on postcards. National publishers such as Raphael Tuck of London and Valentine of Dundee published cards of countrywide interest.

Local photographers recorded all the interesting events of the day and published them as picture postcards. Photographs of the annual fete in a village could be mailed anywhere in Britain - or, indeed, the world - to friends and relatives. The local railway station, cinema, colliery, church or school, and every street in the place, would appear on a card - anything that was part of a community was a likely subject for publishers to use.

Some of the world’s best-known serious and comic artists of the early 20th century had their work featured on postcards, including art nouveau exponents Alphonse Mucha and Raphael Kirchner. In Britain, Mabel Lucie Attwell’s children, Alfred Quinton’s landscapes, Louis Wain’s cats, Tom Browne’s ordinary people, and Donald McGill’s henpecked husbands can all be found on cards. Saucy seaside postcards from the annual “Doon the Watter” or holiday to Blackpool are particularly popular.

Postcards can be cheap to collect and are easily available at Stamp and Postcard Fairs. Even some cards a century old can cost just pence. Subjects related to special events such as Royal Weddings and Coronations, Famous personalities may cost somewhat more. Many thematic subjects can be developed such as those dealing with flora and fauna, space flight, views of town and country, railways and so on. Whatever their subject or price, however, postcards can be fascinating, stimulating, and educational - but they never fail to interest.