Vintage postcard

by Dr. Lori Verderame

Postcards entice many collectors and there are some important tips to know when it comes to their historical and monetary value. Postcards are small scale printed lithographic cards that would feature famous sites, greetings or holiday messages, and the like. The most popular postcards are those which feature famous people, places, or historic events.

Similar to letters and often serving to host.autographs, postcards offered an alternative way to send a friendly greeting, announce one’s arrival, or promote something at a lower cost than sending a letter. If your postcard has a birthday or holiday greeting, they have value too ranging from a few dollars to a few hundred and more. It helps to know how to spot valuable prints when learning about vintage postcards.

What to Look For


The most collectible and valuable postcards are those which feature famous celebrities, Presidents and other politicians, daredevils, military figures, scientists, and other historical figures. Some of the most sought after and collectible lithographic postcards depict famous places, unusual locales, or landmarks like the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower. Collectors also look for postcards of famous events that attract big crowds like the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the 1981 royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and the World Columbian Exposition of 1893 making those specific postcards actual World’s Fair Collectibles. Collectors also seek out postcards of famous sporting events or political happenings like a Presidential inauguration or a campaign event featuring politicians on the campaign trail.

Some widely popular postcards are those which show a vacation spot like Cape Cod or Cocoa Beach, a major landmark like the Golden Gate Bridge, a National Park such as Yellowstone or Yosemite, a World War I and World War II military site, an historic and memorable place like the Battlefield at Gettysburg, etc. These postcards are the types of travel or tourist postcards that many people collect and continue to cherish. Depending on their age and condition, postcards are among the most sought after by collectors.

Remember if your postcard has all three of these types of subjects on one postcard–famous people, places, and events–then, you hit the collectible postcard jackpot. Individual postcards and postcard collections are of interest to many people not only to purist postcard collectors. Some people want postcards to add to their sports memorabilia collection and some collect postcards that celebrate holidays or picture a celebrity that is a fan favorite. All types of postcards are of interest on the vintage print and collectibles market. Postcard values range from modest to very high based on various factors including coloration, quality of the print, subject matter, and condition.

Postcards exchanged between or written by famous people as well as unused ones remain desirable. Look for good condition, no dog eared edges, no tears, nor stains on your collectible postcards. Store them in acid free boxes and do not expose them to sunlight, temperature and humidity changes, or wooden storage drawers.

Get an online appraisal report of your postcard from Dr. Lori.