Grandma’s Postcard Album

Val MillsStarred Page By Val Mills, 28th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Antiques & Collectables>Books & Ephemera

A brief introduction to postcard collecting in the early 20th century.

The beginnings of picture postcard collecting

Many of you may have an old postcard album in your possession. Although about a hundred years old, these albums are treasured family items, many of them still in good condition. You may have wondered about the contents and origin of such an album.
Picture postcard collecting began in the early 1900s and, as they were cheap to send, soon became a popular pastime. People were able to send messages on the backs of colourful postcards and a whole new collecting hobby grew. Publishers were quick to respond to the demand.

Postcards sent from holiday destinations

Holiday makers could choose between sending home a view of their destination, or maybe a comic postcard of themselves enjoying holidaying at the seaside. Greetings cards were produced for birthdays, Christmas, Easter and most other events you could imagine. Animals, children and glamorous ladies became popular subject matters. Artists found an additional income source and had much beautiful work published. After a while, postcards could be purchased to suit any occasion and to fit any theme imaginable.

Beautiful postcard albums

Most of these early postcards were of high quality and people wanted to keep them and display them. Consequently the postcard publishers were once again quick to meet demand. Beautiful albums were produced and collectors could display their collections for their friends to browse through.
Postcard clubs began appearing in magazines. Hopeful collectors could advertise their name and address and exchange postcards with other collectors all around the world, thus enjoying brief communication with others far away, as well as receiving a constant supply of new cards.

The golden years of postcard collecting

Postcard collecting was at its height of popularity between about 1903 and 1920, though obviously continued on long after this. During World War 1 many soldiers sent postcards back to their families and sweethearts. These were sometimes scenes of the local towns and areas they were passing through or stationed at. Often pretty art or woven silk postcards were purchased for sending home on special occasions.

The value of postcards today

If you are lucky enough to have a family album in your possession, you may be wondering if it has any value. Such items are always valuable, even if only because of sentimental reasons. However, the actual value of the album and its contents varies, depending on what is in the collection. Some publishers, artists, photographers and locations have better financial value than others. Some themes are more collectable and therefore in higher demand. If you want to know the value of your albums contents, you’re best to seek advice from a reputable stamp dealer, postcard dealer or antiques and collectibles dealer. Don’t be disappointed if you’re told it is worth less than you imagined. Postcard collections are like stamp and coin collections from that era. Many of the items in them are quite common.
For most people, the album will hold its highest value in telling something of the family history of life a century ago.


Collectibles, Postcard Album, Postcards

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author avatar Val Mills
Self-published writer, coffee drinker, enjoying life. Also found at and

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author avatar Delicia Powers
29th Jul 2011 (#)

Lovely Val, my mom had a beautiful collection, I use to love to read and picture in my mind the people on vacations or traveling, a slice of real history, great article, thank you!

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author avatar Buzz
29th Jul 2011 (#)

Wonderful information, Val. Thanks for the great share.

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author avatar Neha Dwivedi
29th Jul 2011 (#)

unfortunately i don't have any collection....but after reading your article i long to have one....

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author avatar Songbird B
29th Jul 2011 (#)

I am the same as Geeta, but oh how I wish that I had! lovely Star page, Val, and a really informative page..

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author avatar Denise O
29th Jul 2011 (#)

Val, I wish I had kept all my postcards. We use to get a lot of them back in the 60's and 70's from Mama's family, since we were living overseas.
What a blast from my past you have given me, thank you. Great writing! Congrats on the star page, it is well deserved. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Pink&Blue
30th Jul 2011 (#)

What a wonderful article, my grandmother used to keep collections like these.

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author avatar richardpeeej
30th Jul 2011 (#)

I loved reading this so much Val it reminded me of my parents old photo album containing many sepia and black and white photos of the family in the earlier days. Some of the photos have faded and the sellotape has gone brown and lost its stickiness in places. Haha you may know what I mean.
Congratulations on you star page it was well deserved my friend..

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author avatar Retired
30th Jul 2011 (#)

It's fun to collect postcards and greeting cards from family and friends...thanks for sharing....

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author avatar Carol Kinsman
2nd Aug 2011 (#)

This was wonderful, Val. My grandmother had a postcard collection, but I have no idea what happened to them after she died. My guess is, that my dad and his brothers tossed them....Too bad! I would love to see them now. Thank you..

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