How to Estimate the Age of a Vintage Postcard
This guide is meant to aid the collector in identifying and dating real photo postcards, and to act as a reminder that it is impossible to do so with great accuracy. A lthough real photo postcards were made in a variety of ways, they hold one identifiable feature in common. The tonalities of photos are completely continuous to the eye producing true greys, for they are created by the reaction of individual photosensitive molecules to light rather than the transfer of ink from a plate. In printed images the grey areas are usually made up of black marks that are spaced to create the optical illusion of greys. Though most of us today are familiar with the concept of photo grain, this is mostly because we have experienced very large prints made from small 35mm negatives. But even here the effect is more of a softening of detail than a observable texture. Early real photo postcards are small by their very nature and since most were contact printed, not enlarged, there is no visible texture. Collotypes, which provide the finest detail of all printing methods are sometimes confused with real photo postcards. But even collotypes will exhibit a discernible grain when magnified. And of course any image that contain a regularly patterned series of dots is not a photograph at all but a ink printed image.
Most Real Photo Postcards, abbreviated RPPC, have information on their backs to help in identifying the manufacturer of the photographic paper that was used by the postcard publisher. If you can identify the paper manufacturer, you can approximate the age of the old postcard. If the postcard has a stamp box, click on one of stamp box links below.
If there is no stamp box, or a generic stamp box, go to Postcards Backs. All entries on one page may be slow to load. Real Photo Postcards are photographs that are reproduced by actually developing them onto photographic paper the size and weight of Postcards, with a Postcard back.
They were designed and printed on the backs to be mailed, often having handwritten letters, addresses and postage stamps on the back. Real.
There are a myriad of ways one can determine an approximate or sometimes an exact date for your old postcard. Among them are:. Some postcards, especially chromes printed by the LL Cook Company and a few others, and many vintage postcards by the Detroit Publishing Company also known as Detroit Photographic or Phostints put copyright dates right on the card about These earlier dates usually applied to the image and in many cases the card was actually printed a few years later.
A few postcards are either explicitly dated by the sender or implicitly dated by mentioning the current president or even a disaster or other current event mentioned. I found a William Jennings Bryan poster in the window of one real photo of a house once.
Postcard Types: Personal Postcards
People often find themselves in possession of an old postcard and want to know how old it is. If the postcard is used, the most obvious solution is to check the date on the postmark. However, there are many vintage postcards out there that were never mailed, so here are some clues to determining the age of your post card. These are general guidelines. There are exceptions to most of these rules, but these guidelines will give you a general idea of how old your postcard is. The first commercial postcards produced in this country were sold at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago Illinois in
In the top right hand corner on the back of a postcard is a place for the Postage Stamp. Many Stamp Squares are just words or plain shapes. Each photographer.
If you work with Japanese picture postcards as historical source material, you have probably noticed that most surviving cards lack postmarks and other temporal indicators. This post provides a guide to estimating the age of these revealing artifacts, based on printing conventions that conformed to international and Japanese postal regulations. This post also provides several examples and explanations of Japanese postmarks.
This chart by Urakawa Kazuya provides the basic method scholars use to subdivide Japanese picture postcards into four periods:. Period III. Period IV. The front side of a Japanese Picture Postcard features a printed photograph, drawing, or painting.
So what’s the history of picture postcards? Here are a few timescales: – First postcards issued in the UK. These were plain cards, front and back with a pre-printed stamp and were published by the Post Office. No other companies were permitted at this time to print postcards. This brought the UK into line with other countries and is the most common size of vintage postcard you will see today.
save the dates worth keeping and remembering. Create custom save the date cards or postcards that will get your guests excited for your upcoming wedding.
A irbrush – A Technique which colors have been painted using air compression. Very popular with linen postcards where all undesirable elements have been airbrushed away while enhancing the scenes colors. Albumen Print – An image printed on paper using egg albumen the white of an egg mixed along with whey derived from curdled milk. The albumen and whey is boiled, filtered, and then mixed with grains of iodide potassium.
These prints usually show a brown, yellow, or purple tone. Almost all albumen prints are done on very thin paper and then mounted to cardboard. This process was very common in the last half of the 19th century and was used most on cabinet cards. Album Marks – Discoloration or heavy indentations on the corners of the cards from the acid, leaching out of the antique album pages, or from weight.
Aluminum – Cards made out of aluminum. Antique Postcards – Although the word Antique is generally considered to mean an item over years old, many collectors use the term antique postcards to describe cards of the – period, also known as the Golden Age. These type of postcards are also called novelties. Archival – Any museum quality material that will protect postcards for extended periods of time. Artist Signed – Any card which has an artist’s signature or initials.
Greetings from the Past: Identifying and dating postcards
During the Golden Age of postcards incredibly talented artists created enduring images, from realistic and adorable depictions of children to fantasy images such as fairies and gnomes. Schmucker, who was famous for his exquisite depictions in the Art Nouveau style. IOLA, Wis. This article will categorize landmarks or eras in American postcard production and useful methods for identifying and assigning a date of manufacture. This is a staggering statistic when you consider that the population of the United States during the same year was less than That averages out to just more than nine postcards a year mailed for every person in the country.
Although the world’s first picture postcards date from the s to the Other backs from this pioneer era of the American post card are known today as.
Deltiology, numismatics and philately are reportedly the three most popular interests in the field of collecting yawning yet? In just the first line of this article, I have managed to make it sound confusing, pretentious, and even strange. More precisely numismatics encompasses the collecting of coins, paper money, and medals. This article, however, will categorize landmarks or eras in American postcard production.
Plus it will provide useful methods for identifying and assigning a date of manufacture. This is a staggering statistic when you consider that the population of the United States during the same year was less than That averages out to just more than nine postcards a year mailed for every person in the country. With hundreds of millions of postcards mailed each year during the Golden Age of Postcards it is not surprising that antique postcards are so popular and still readily available to collectors.
In identifying and dating postcards there are specific eras, defined by both style and dates; however, these dates do not account for the transition from one era to the next. The naming convention of these examples are classified by the image on the front of the postcard. Real Photo, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco period postcards were produced in more than one of the classic postcard eras.
For example, Art Nouveau period postcards were produced during the Pioneer Era. Changes in style and production format overlap.
Old Postcard Dating Information
See how Washington, DC and Smithsonian visitors have shared their trips with others by taking a historic look at the Smithsonian through the picture postcard. This page provides a few general methods for determining a time period or date for postcards. Postcard producers printed cards that followed the current trends of postcards.
Buy How to Date Old French Postcards (Cartes Postales anciennes): (Black and especially the backs, which can help to identify when a postcard was printed.
Some of the postcards in this collection have been sent in the post and are relatively easy to identify and date. Back side of typical postcard:divided into 2 sides:left hand side for message and right hand side for address with postage rates printed on the square reserved for the stamp. Only after can postcards contain a written message, as no messages were allowed on the back of the card, only details of the address to which they were being sent.
The information provided on the card by the manufacturer is always prominent and with a little bit of research it should be possible to establish the period the manufacturer was in business. A postcard picture itself can be revealing. Buildings, streets layout contemporary detail etc. Filter result by type: Articles Images Media. Postcard back of Back side of typical postcard:divided into 2 sides:left hand side for message and right hand side for address with postage rates printed on the square reserved for the stamp.
Schedule or Cancel a Postcard
Every subject known to man can be found on a postcard. Post Card History and Dating Methods. Although the world’s first picture post cards date from the s to the mids, post cards, as we know them, came into being in the United States about Prior to that time, there were trade cards and postal cards, which usually carried advertising or printed messages.
Early, Court and Undivided-back postcards were produced up to After that date regulations allowed a ‘divided’ back postcard to be sent.
Publisher’s numbering scheme Other clues. Pioneer Era Although the world’s first picture postcards date from the s to the mids, most of the earliest American picture postcards extant today are those that were sold at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, starting on May 1, These were illustrations on government-printed postal cards and on privately printed souvenir cards. The government postal cards included a printed 1-cent stamp; the privately printed souvenir cards required a 2-cent adhesive postage stamp to be attached.
Messages were not permitted on the address side of the cards; after attempting various forms of explaining that regulation, the U. The required postage was a 1-cent adhesive stamp. At this time, a dozen or more American printers began to take postcards seriously. Still, no message was permitted on the address side.
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Click Banner Below to go to USpostcards. Our Web Sites use different shopping carts and have to be ordered separately. The dating of the postcard for years or eras of issue can be accurately determined if the card is studied for identity points. Research has already been done by earlier historians and guidelines have been put into place. There were seven eras for the postcard industry and each one has distinguishing points to help establish its respective identity.
The following helps determine the era of the card in question.
If you prefer the front of your postcard to be more informational, you can always opt to add an image to the back of your card. Edit the Text – Make sure to include.
Save the Date Postcards are printed on heavy-weight card stock and can be mailed without an envelope. Color, font, wording and layout may be customized. Learn more This card is printed on beautiful, textured card stock in your choice of white or ivory. Pearl luster card stock is available for a small fee. Each card comes with a matching envelope but you can upgrade to color envelopes for a small fee.
All envelopes feature an elegant, deep flap, which is ideal for wedding stationery. White card stock — , 17 point caliper thickness Ivory card stock — , 17 point caliper thickness Pearl luster card stock — , 18 point caliper thickness. Can I change the colors? Most design colors and font colors can be changed. View color options.
Yes, you can adjust the wording and layout.
Stamps on Postcards – a guide to dating cards
Postcards are such a good idea that it seems they should have been around forever. But they haven’t. Postcards are a relatively recent invention, and an invention that took some time to mature, at that.
If the postcard is used, the most check the date on the postmark. The postal service started allowing the use of divided back postcards in March of If your.
I have been collecting postcards all my life as my father did before me. I now have many thousands of them, both vintage and modern. Postcard collecting can be a fascinating hobby, as I have found out over the years. The earliest cards date from the midth century and have a very well-documented history. But for any individual card, there can be some doubt about its exact age.
Many people prefer to collect unused postcards which have never been posted. As a result, you can’t use the postmark as a guide in estimating the card’s age. Even so, all collectors are curious to know how old their postcards are, because their age has some bearing on their value. Even when there is a postmark, it may be blurred, or someone may have lost it in the depths of a drawer for years before sending it through the post. As a result, we have to find our clues from the card itself.
The story for each country varies, so I will have to generalise to some extent. This is the oldest card in my possession. The address side gives the date the card was manufactured, September , along with instructions that ONLY the address was to appear on this side of the card, with further instructions on how to write the address accurately.
The message on my oldest postcard, which is an undivided back postcard from