Tuesday, March 6, 2007

How old is my postcard? Part 3 The Pioneer Era

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.

The American postcard history is generally divided into seven eras spanning 1893 until the present day. The first picture postcard originated in Europe in the 1860s and the US began flirting with them during the civil war with envelopes and letterheads with patriotic designs and trade cards. The US government issued their first official postcards in 1873 with a postage rate of one cent while letters required 2 cents postage. This half price rate insured their quick acceptance by the public and businesses which printed their sales pitch on the back of the government post cards. Pictures on postcards did not really take off until the Columbian Exposition in 1893 when Charles Goldsmith issued and sold thousands of color postcards. This exposed a diverse audience to the picture postcard and the frenzy was on. The only downside to these new privately printed picture postcards was that the government required the letter rate of two cents postage on these privately printed postcards while the government postcards were still just one cent. But the cat was out of the bag and pressure mounted on Congress to lower the postage rate which they did, as of 19 May 1898, by reducing the rate on privately produced postcards to one cent. Thus ended the United States Pioneer Era, 1893-1898. Please note that this evolution in foreign countries covered slightly different time periods, depending on the country in question but the US generally was slower to change than Europe.

Postcards of the Pioneer Era all have undivided backs, primarily were multiple vignette views and usually were titled "Souvenir Card" or "Mail Card" on the address side. You can find out more about the different postcard periods at Moody's Postcards.