On Indian Postcards

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AayushiG
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 2:53 pm

On Indian Postcards

Post by AayushiG »

Hello Everyone!

My name is Aayushi Gupta and I am a graduate student at the University of Oxford. I have managed to transform my passion and enthusiasm for postcards into a research project for which I am examining how the value of postcards – and specifically Indian (or even broadly foreign) postcards – is constructed. I am looking to start a conversation here, and perhaps hear from anyone with even the slightest interest in dealing/collecting this material, and/or anyone who knows anything about it.

I am really looking forward to hearing from you!

With best wishes,
Aayushi

Moonraker
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:23 pm

Re: On Indian Postcards

Post by Moonraker »

Welcome. I guess it depends on the dealer using their experience of what particular types of card will fetch from their particular customers. They have a good or reasonable idea of which cards are common and which are not. Time was when there was a British printed catalogue of values (there still may be), that suggested a card showing an early aeroplane might be worth £20, one of a military camp £8-10.

But very few dealers will be able to differentiate between a postcard showing a rare military camping-site - that was used only a couple of times - and one that was used every year. Many seem to know little about postmarks - my only knowledge having enabled me to pick up some bargains - and pay little or no attention to messages on the back - which for me can sometimes enhance the value of a card by as much as 50%. This is NOT a criticism - just a fact; dealers can't be expert on every theme shown on cards!

Prices asked by private vendors (and indeed dealers) on eBay, for example, can vary vastly, some very high ones reflecting ignorance or opportunism. (I recall one dealer asking 12 times the going rate for some cards that were woefully misdescribed.)

AayushiG
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 2:53 pm

Re: On Indian Postcards

Post by AayushiG »

Hello! Thank you so much for your response! Forgive my delay in getting back to you, I am new to this platform and didn't realise that you had already responded to my query.

It's quite interesting how you note that dealers and collectors have specialised knowledge of what's rare and what's not. How do you think they gain this knowledge? And it's also really interesting how, in this context of postcard collecting, no one can really know more than the other – that is, no one individual can be the most knowledgable. It seems that this is because postcard collectors have such large and diverse interests, and because postcards can be about anything. What do you think?

Also, I have noticed that differences in prices online and in fairs too! Why is this the case? Do online vendors price their images so highly because of e-bay and delivery surplus charges? Why are the same images priced so differently??

Moonraker
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:23 pm

Re: On Indian Postcards

Post by Moonraker »

AayushiG wrote: Sun Oct 10, 2021 6:11 pm Hello! Thank you so much for your response! Forgive my delay in getting back to you, I am new to this platform and didn't realise that you had already responded to my query.

It's quite interesting how you note that dealers and collectors have specialised knowledge of what's rare and what's not. How do you think they gain this knowledge? And it's also really interesting how, in this context of postcard collecting, no one can really know more than the other – that is, no one individual can be the most knowledgable. It seems that this is because postcard collectors have such large and diverse interests, and because postcards can be about anything. What do you think?

Also, I have noticed that differences in prices online and in fairs too! Why is this the case? Do online vendors price their images so highly because of e-bay and delivery surplus charges? Why are the same images priced so differently??
To be honest, I'm not particularly knowledgeable and somewhat out of date as I haven't been to a fair for several years. Most of the dealers have been trading for a long time so they get to know what sells and at what prices.

Vendors on eBay and the like include dealers, collectors selling off "spare" cards and their collections, individuals with no knowledge of the cards they may have found in granddad's possessions and non-postcard dealers who may have bought an accumulation of books, photos, cards etc. Some of the uninformed charge ridiculous prices; a few years ago I got annoyed when an American dealer was asking £120 each for four British cards that normally sell for £8 or so; he'd misinterpreted the messages on them. He did reduce the prices to £100 or so, then they disappeared from his listings. I can't believe that any knowledgeable collector would have bought them.

Several other grossly over-priced cards in my own area of collecting interest have lingered on eBay for several years.

At least postcard collecting remains quite a strong hobby in the UK, certainly in contrast to stamps. A collapse in interest has led to hundreds of identical items being listed on eBay, with prices being reduced more and more (including by me, who just wants to dispose of his collection and has given up expecting good prices).

Delivery charges on eBay sales are usually quoted separately to the price for the item - and I believe that eBay charges commission on them. I aim to cover the postal fee, plus 20 or 30p to cover packing (usually recycled cardboard envelopes) and allowing for the commission.

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eastlondonpostcard
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Re: On Indian Postcards

Post by eastlondonpostcard »

AayushiG wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 3:27 pm Hello Everyone!

My name is Aayushi Gupta and I am a graduate student at the University of Oxford. I have managed to transform my passion and enthusiasm for postcards into a research project for which I am examining how the value of postcards – and specifically Indian (or even broadly foreign) postcards – is constructed. I am looking to start a conversation here, and perhaps hear from anyone with even the slightest interest in dealing/collecting this material, and/or anyone who knows anything about it.

I am really looking forward to hearing from you!

With best wishes,
Aayushi
The market in the UK for overseas Post Cards is buoyant with dealers from mainland Europe who have always enjoyed coming to the UK on a regular basis to trade. Plus there are collectors/dealers from further afield who also like to trade here in the UK. Covid19 and Brexit restrictions have slowed this process down somewhat and the focus is online trading for the time being, but the big Post Card Fairs will be back and draw the crowds from all over the world.

The Post Card market in India is not so well setup as far as I know - I have not heard of a Post Card fair there, for example... but there are plenty of collectors of India Post Cards for sure keen to buy. The value of any Post Card is based on many things, but primarily it is down to Desirability, Knowledge and Demand of the product, just like with all things.

:D
~ send it on a Postcard please ~

AayushiG
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 2:53 pm

Re: On Indian Postcards

Post by AayushiG »

Moonraker wrote: Sun Oct 10, 2021 7:03 pm To be honest, I'm not particularly knowledgeable and somewhat out of date as I haven't been to a fair for several years. Most of the dealers have been trading for a long time so they get to know what sells and at what prices.

Vendors on eBay and the like include dealers, collectors selling off "spare" cards and their collections, individuals with no knowledge of the cards they may have found in granddad's possessions and non-postcard dealers who may have bought an accumulation of books, photos, cards etc. Some of the uninformed charge ridiculous prices; a few years ago I got annoyed when an American dealer was asking £120 each for four British cards that normally sell for £8 or so; he'd misinterpreted the messages on them. He did reduce the prices to £100 or so, then they disappeared from his listings. I can't believe that any knowledgeable collector would have bought them.

Several other grossly over-priced cards in my own area of collecting interest have lingered on eBay for several years.

At least postcard collecting remains quite a strong hobby in the UK, certainly in contrast to stamps. A collapse in interest has led to hundreds of identical items being listed on eBay, with prices being reduced more and more (including by me, who just wants to dispose of his collection and has given up expecting good prices).

Delivery charges on eBay sales are usually quoted separately to the price for the item - and I believe that eBay charges commission on them. I aim to cover the postal fee, plus 20 or 30p to cover packing (usually recycled cardboard envelopes) and allowing for the commission.
Ah! This is very interesting. Because it seems that in the market for postcards, both specialised knowledge and lack thereof is leading to high prices! I guess it is difficult to know really whether a postcard is rightly priced, unless both the dealer and the collector have the same interests and thus come to an agreement on price.

When postcards are rightly priced, do you think this is done on the basis of factors like postally used/unused, good/action-packed image on the postcard, good condition, etc.? Could you think of any other such factors? What do you seek for in a postcard when you buy for your collection?

So as a dealer do you think you make more when selling on eBay than you would in fairs? And, as a collector do you feel you get more for your money in fairs?

AayushiG
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2021 2:53 pm

Re: On Indian Postcards

Post by AayushiG »

eastlondonpostcard wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 7:38 am
AayushiG wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 3:27 pm Hello Everyone!

My name is Aayushi Gupta and I am a graduate student at the University of Oxford. I have managed to transform my passion and enthusiasm for postcards into a research project for which I am examining how the value of postcards – and specifically Indian (or even broadly foreign) postcards – is constructed. I am looking to start a conversation here, and perhaps hear from anyone with even the slightest interest in dealing/collecting this material, and/or anyone who knows anything about it.

I am really looking forward to hearing from you!

With best wishes,
Aayushi
The market in the UK for overseas Post Cards is buoyant with dealers from mainland Europe who have always enjoyed coming to the UK on a regular basis to trade. Plus there are collectors/dealers from further afield who also like to trade here in the UK. Covid19 and Brexit restrictions have slowed this process down somewhat and the focus is online trading for the time being, but the big Post Card Fairs will be back and draw the crowds from all over the world.

The Post Card market in India is not so well setup as far as I know - I have not heard of a Post Card fair there, for example... but there are plenty of collectors of India Post Cards for sure keen to buy. The value of any Post Card is based on many things, but primarily it is down to Desirability, Knowledge and Demand of the product, just like with all things.

:D
Yes, I visited some fairs locally and noted that everyone was happy to be back at the fair and not very happy with the switch to online trading. Has this been your experience too?

If there are no fairs in India, where do collectors of Indian cards usually get their stuff from? Online? Do you collect/deal in Indian cards?

Moonraker
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:23 pm

Re: On Indian Postcards

Post by Moonraker »

AayushiG wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:58 pm ... When postcards are rightly priced, do you think this is done on the basis of factors like postally used/unused, good/action-packed image on the postcard, good condition, etc.? Could you think of any other such factors? What do you seek for in a postcard when you buy for your collection?
I've never been aware that there's much difference in pricing when it comes to used/unused, though those that are used are more likely to be w/f ("with faults"). If a card is relatively common, I would expect it to be in good condition, but I have bought tatty, rare cards. Probably I research subject matter far more than most collectors, so messages can be important to me for providing information. And a legible postmark can help establish when the photo might have been taken (though I do have many cards that were obviously posted some years later). Dating is important to me as my collection shows the development of English army camps, particularly in the Great War, when within four years many evolved from having no structures (apart from cooking-shelters) with a great deal of mud to townships with surfaced roads, shops and cinemas.

I am now in the twilight of my collecting (and considering how best to dispose of my collection in a few years' time), but six or seven times a year a "must-have" card appears on eBay, and I also occasionally buy cards that are going for a low price.

Like other specialist collectors, I have a better idea of values and rarity for my theme than dealers who sell every subject under the sun. But professional dealers usually have excellent overall knowledge and I seldom disagreed with the prices they asked at fairs.

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