Having spent the past few months giving you ideas about where to get your cards from and then how to look after them I feel it is now time to mention the postcards themselves! How do you decide what to collect out of the seemingly hundreds of different areas and themes?

Of course it’s easy if you want to collect cards of the town or village where you live or have lived in the past, and this is often a good way to get started. However you may well find early on in your hunting that good cards of this type are out of your price bracket or that only a few views seem to exist, so perhaps it is better to start with a collection of subject cards (i.e. one not of actual places).

I would recommend that you start your collection by picking up any card that takes your fancy; this will give you a feel for the enormous variety of cards that were produced. Don’t worry too much about their condition at this stage as you really want to keep the initial cost down and with this in mind search out dealers at Postcard Fairs who have cheap boxes (e.g. ‘All in here 50p’) and you’ll be able to get going on a relatively small outlay.

Postcard of little boy with cat
A postcard of a little boy with a cat on his lap. Where would I file this card?

As you get these cards home and look at them as a lot it will be relatively easy to classify them e.g. actors, flowers, trains, cats, children etc. After a while you will, however begin to discover the main problem that most collectors (and Dealers) have, which group do you put the card in that shows a little girl with a cat on her lap? Children? Cats? Girls? or Girls with Cats?

This shows the need to specialise a bit more than you have done up to now and as you have probably decided what type of cards you like best this is the obvious direction in which to take your collection. These days most serious collectors specialise in one particular area, (more of which in later months) and this generally gets more and more finely tuned as the number of cards they have grow.

It is now that you really should start to make some kind of list of the cards in your possession to take to fairs etc (use a pocket sized notebook for ease of carrying) this will avoid you buying cards you have already.

Next article: Collecting topographical cards