Friday, March 2, 2007

How old is my postcard? Part 1

Welcome to Moody's Postcards, your source for vintage, collectible postcards! My name is Richard Moody and I started the company in 1986 and we have been accumulating "old" (otherwise known as "vintage collectible") postcards for twenty years. We specialize in United States view postcards but we also have thousands of antique foreign views, topical postcards and trade cards. Our goal is to exceed your expectations and provide a superior selection of the collectible postcard you are searching for.

Determining the age of a postcard is a task that can range from easy to impossible and requires knowledge, a keen eye, research and lots of luck. If we are talking about a used post card, many people will just use the postmark date or the date written by the sender in the message. Postmarks are great for determining a postcard is at least "X" number of years old but it is really only good for determining the latest date it could have been produced. The problem is that it is not at all unusual to see a postcard not mailed until 15, 20 or even 25 years after it was actually produced so you really need to look harder to narrow down the time frame. You can study the image, if it is a view card, for clues such as the vintage of any automobiles shown, the style of clothing worn, the presence, or lack of, horse drawn carriages and wagons, dates on buildings or even see if the tracks on that dirt street are tire tracks or wagon tracks. If you are really lucky you can find a copyright date for the image, especially on the early Detroit Publishing postcards. This Reno Nevada view shows only horse drawn wagons on a dirt main street where the gambling halls were located at the time and would therefore be circa 1908 but there are other clues on the back of this unused postcard which will be covered in my next blog.

One word of caution on the elements of the view card. It was not unusual for the postcard producer to add automobiles, people, airplanes and even blimps to pictures to spice them up a bit and make a town seem more big time than it really was. Be sure to check back with us for Part 2 of this discussion.