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How to Collect Postcards

First off, it is important to note that there is no specific way to collect postcards, it is a hobby and you should do whatever brings joy into your life.  Vintage Paperboy started because I just couldn't decide on what to collect and what not to collect so I just bought everything.  Today I focus on places I've lived throughout my life as well as specific artists and I sell what I don't collect here on Vintagepaperboy.

Postcards have been a popular form of communication for hundreds of years. Vintage postcards are a piece of art and history that anyone can appreciate at any age. Vintage postcards have been used for everything from business advertisements to private correspondence, so the possibilities are endless when it comes to collecting them. Vintage postcards can be found in an endless number of styles, themes, and colors. Vintage postcard collectors should always keep their eyes open since you never know where you might find the next treasure! Let's see how you too can start your own collection today.

Decide what types of postcards you want to collect


Vintage postcards can be collected in many different ways. Vintage postcard collectors usually focus on a few main areas:

  • Decorative Postcards: These were simply used to adorn and enhance the beauty of any room or office they were displayed in. A lot of these cards use beautiful illustrations, paintings, and complex designs that add color to any place they are displayed.

  • Business Advertising Postcards: Department stores, theaters, saloons, and more used postcards to advertise their business.

  • Holiday Cards: Postcards are also collected as holiday cards. Vintage postcard collectors can find many vintage postcards that were made specifically for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving , etc. Vintage postcard collectors can even collect the vintage greeting cards that go along with these holiday celebrations.

  • Armed Forces: Vintage military-themed postcards and sayings can be collected by those who want to remember and honor those who fought in wars and conflicts. Vintage military-themed postcards and sayings can be used to send messages of encouragement to those currently serving in the armed forces as well as those veterans now retired. There are a variety of cards from WW1 & WW2 however political winds changed and it is almost impossible to find cards from later military conflicts.

  • Specific Artists: Vintage postcards can be collected by a specific artist who drew a lot of the vintage postcards we see today. These collectors may want to remember that artist's work, or they could even want to collect all of that specific artists' creations! Vintage postcard collectors often focus on individual artists such as Ellen Clapsaddle, Beatrice Peltz , Ramon Artagaveytia , Walter Irving Geikie, Félix Bonfils, and many others.  Related to this are collections from specific companies that printed postcards such as Raphael Tuck, Wolf Publishing, Gibson and others.

  • Thematic Vintage Postcards: Collections based on themes such as animals, transportation, adventure & exploration.

  • Specific towns, regions, etc.: This area is often the most collected theme.  Vintage postcards can be collected based on the specific town where you grew up, lived or even where it was mailed from. Vintage postcard collectors often focus on local towns and cities in which they live in or grew up in to start their own collection. Vintage postcard collectors may also choose to collect cards only from a certain country, state, county, region, town, street, building, landmark, etc., anywhere in the world!

Finding vintage postcards for sale

My obvious preference is for you to buy all of your cards right here!  But we don't have everything and of course I encourage you to like everywhere you can for the best card for your collection.  So here are a few of the places I go:

Collectors can find them at antique stores, vintage shops, flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, online auctions like eBay.  


Vintage postcards are also making a resurgence in popularity on websites like Pinterest. Vintage images of cities or towns that were featured on the front side of some vintage postcards are often 'pinned' to specific subjects related to that town on Pinterest boards created by fans of that town or region. Often they link back to where you can purchase the card you just found.  These pins often include text with a link to a specific website where the vintage postcard collector can find more information about each pin.

My favorite is going to where there are many collectors under the same roof by going to one of the many Postcard shows that are around the country.  Often the prices being charged are the same as an antique shop, but savvy collectors can find deals at a show.  Visit the menu above for upcoming shows in your area. 

Buying in bulk

One thing I'm asked regularly is if it makes sense to buy in bulk.  My answer is always the same; if you have a generalized collection with no specific theme, you can find many nice cards when buying in bulk and the buy price per item is much cheaper.  That being said, these bulk lots have often been searched and most "good" cards have been kept.  So in most cases I would say NO.  Buy individual cards, it is cheaper for the collector in the long run.

Vintage postcards are items that are becoming more difficult to find everyday! Vintage postcard collecting is quickly growing into one of the most popular forms of collecting today. Now is definitely the time for you to get started before all these wonderful items are gone forever!

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