Five By Three-and-a-Half Inches, But A Large View : Collecting Postcards

In considering the limited space we have in our house (two adult collectors and children we are grooming for such activities), I’m reconsidering something I’ve not previously given much thought to personally before: postcards.

Vintage Postcard

1939 World's Fair PostcardIn general I’m a paper (ephemera) lover, but postcards, with their expected size and their relatively common themes never appealed much to me before. Sure, I have saved a few antique photograph portrait postcards because I must adopt these orphans, and I’ve coveted some rather rare risqué postcards — but price kept those safely out of reach. But honestly, I didn’t collect postcards. Until now.

Hubby may say that he’s finally won me over to his love of postcards, but I’m falling in love with postcards for more practical reasons — their size and versatility.

Their small size means I can (too) easily rationalize starting another collection because even with a hundred of them, I am only adding another book to my (already overflowing) shelves. And it’s easy to do because postcards cover unlimited categories.

Collect vintage lingerie? Bam! There are postcards with those images. Holidays? Those too.

Raphael Kirchner Postcard - Woman & TerrierFeline fancier? Here you go, plenty of cute kittens and cats. Or maybe you’re a dog person? No problem. There are postcards of dogs and puppies, puppies with kittens — even postcards featuring dogs and lingerie. (There may even be postcards with dogs wearing lingerie; I didn’t look.)

Collect local history? Want to collect antique cars, but have limited funds and space? Interested in say, the history of nursing? With postcards, it’s done, done and done.

When at auctions or estate sales, don’t hesitate to ask if you can get a bulk discount. Offer to buy all the cards for one lower-per-card price and even if you have postcards in poor condition, in areas you are not interested in, or even duplicates, that’s OK. You can re-sell or trade those with another collector. (And if they are really damaged, even folks who create altered art may be interested!)

You can’t go wrong with a box of old postcards.

Even those with more modern interests can find postcards to interest them.

Crash Bandicoot Postcard

There are postcards for film, music, books, television, radio; for action figures and toys; postcards for consumers and trade postcards; even postcards for postcards.

Trade Postcards

Hubby recently grabbed me this postcard from OfficeMax because I love the ‘Rubberband Man,’ Eddie Steeples, who is now “Crab Man” on My Name Is Earl. (That could be worth something someday!)

OfficeMax Rubberband Man Postcard

In fact, postcards are likely in your mailbox right now. (Go look. I’ll wait.)

GI Joe PostcardOnce you start looking at all the possibilities on the small 5 x 3.5 (or a tad larger) inches, you suddenly see that’s a lot of real estate there… Even if it takes up a small amount of room.

Storing postcards is easy. Simply get some binders, some postcard pages or sleeves to protect them, and not only do you have a nifty collection but one you can both easily store and show off without risking damages (even with the little fingers of children).

Boxes & binders also make for easy organization if you end up with more than one theme. And this is one collection you won’t need to dust.




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Collin David One of my favorite books is 'Boring Postcards', which does a great job collecting some of the most inane, poorly-thought-out promotional postcards for various locations throughout the world. Like, 'why would you possibly advertise yourself with that image?' kind of stuff. I think I still have every postcard that anyone ever sent to me, but I've never made an effort to go out and find some for myself, really. April 26th, 2007 at 9:22 AM

Yvy hi there!! i've been on postcrossing for quite some time now n have accumulated quite a large number of cards but have no idea or how to go about storing them!! lol :P how do u plan to keep ur postcards? April 30th, 2007 at 4:27 AM

Deanna Dahlsad Collin, I think you'd like postcards -- but I don't want to get you hooked on something else too lol Yvy, I currently am creating binders with those plastic pages (archival polypropylene) with pockets. This way I can more easily find them -- and show them off ;) However, I think once I get quite a few (and this is what hubby should do) is go with boxes. Each postcard goes into a clear sleeve to protect it, and then they all go into the boxes (by theme). You can still flip through them, but they'll be safe. (Click Yvy's name to see her website with lots of postcards!) April 30th, 2007 at 12:06 PM

Dianna Hi, My name is Dianna, I came across a box of old tin photographs at a yard sale.I paid only $3.00 for them, I was wondering if there is any value to them, they look like 1800's but I cant tell, they ladies are dressed in 1800 clothing. November 20th, 2010 at 4:00 PM

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