Post cards are a cheap and easy way to keep in touch with friends. It is also an exciting way to tell your loved ones about the places you are visiting or your present interests. Besides this, deltiology is a fascinating hobby.

A mountain trail, a monument, a fish or food…if there’s one place you will find a variety of pictures it will be on postcards. With snail mail facing a gradual death it’s as good a time as any to take a look into the world of postcards.

Such a long journey

The first series of postcards began as early as in 1893. Better knows as the Pioneer Era it lasted for five years. Cards printed during these years were known for their undivided backs, and words like “Souvenir of…” or “Greetings from…” were printed on them.

The Private Mailing Card (PMC) era stuck around for three years from 1898 to 1901. These cards had a “Private Mailing Card” inscribed on them.

The next few years witnessed a scene change as the writing was shifted on to the front of the card and only the address was allowed on the back. Known as the Undivided Black Era or UB this phase lasted from 1901 to 1907.

The Divided Back Era or DB lasted from1907 to 1915 and for the first time writing was allowed on the back of the card too as the image of the postcard would fill up the front space.

The next decade-and-a-half was better known as White Border Era or the WB Era that lasted from 1915 to 1930. These cards ware easily distinguished by the white border around the pictured area.

The time around the Second World War was synonymous with the Linen Era that lasted right up to 1945. Linen postcards were known for their high rag content resembling a woven or criss-cross pattern on the paper and are still popular as they find a place in some collections.

However, post 1945 till date it is the Chrome Era, as postcards come in beautiful chrome colours. RP or Real Photo postcards have also gained prominence with cards being printed on photo paper with a stamp box on the back.

DID YOU KNOW?

The study and collecting of postcards is termed deltiology.

Log on to http://www.postcrossing.com/ to become a member and start pursuing a new hobby

Want to send someone a card? Send a post card instead: http://www.postcards.org/

For an informative and entertaining website log on to http://www.postcardy.com/ as it aims to providing information on postcards and postcard collecting. Encourage others to share their postcard collections and information on the web. Serve as a guide to some of the best postcard websites.

Trivia

Wikipedia leaks

The earliest know picture postcard was a hand-painted design on card, posted in London to the writer Theodore Hook in 1840 bearing a penny black stamp. He probably created and posted the card to himself as a practical joke on the postal service, since the image is a caricature of workers in the post office.

Build your collection

How to collect postcards. A few general options — by a particular artist, a certain location or country, a specific period of time, a theme, humorous, cheeky, cartoons and so on.

If you like dogs then try and collect postcards of different breeds, sizes and more related stuff. By collecting on a specified theme it could add an interesting dimension to your collection. Or sample this. You love travelling and you love clicking pictures. You can build your own collection of travel postcards.

Learn collector's terminology as it will help you build your collection once you go a step further and take it seriously rather than just a hobby. You could ensure the highest quality in your postcards if you wish to show it at an event or trade it later for other cards.

Always remember to know the age of your postcard. Other details like the artist or the postcard’s uniqueness will help you have an edge over the others.

Look out for words like

Mint: A vintage postcard it resembles the state right out off the press. There cannot be any writing, marks, creases, on the postcard for it to be in mint condition. It should be stored in an acid-free space,

Near mint: Almost like mint it loses out only because of the yellowing at the edge. Storage will be the same as the Mint ones to ensure longetvity.

Excellent: A vintage postcard that is in excellent condition. It will bear postmarks or writings but the postcard will remain perfect. Storing it in archival covers is a must.

Very good: Well, this one is used. Meaning it could have been mailed, postmarked or written upon but it is because of lesser wear and tear it can still make its way into your collection.

Good: Well, under this category the postcard by itself may not be the hero except if it’s got brownie points like famous writings or if it’s unusual.

Fair to poor: Yeah, there’s a category like this too. And it’s mostly for emotional collectors who won’t give up their rugged worn, torn, bent yellow postcard for anything in the world. It definitely won’t fetch you any fortune but will definitely rate high on memories.

Research your post cards. Browse, read, interact with people and learn more. This way you will know more about postcards, when they come up for auction and also make pen pals.

Keywords: deltiologypostcards