ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Games, Toys, and Hobbies»
  • Collecting & Collections

Wish You Were Here - Postcards Rule.

Updated on May 5, 2013
Robbie Burns on Ayr - postcard
Robbie Burns on Ayr - postcard | Source

Do you still send postcards? I stopped sending them for a while. Mainly because receiving them made me decidedly tetchy. You know the scenario – a foul day, the postie brings numerous bills and the ultimate picture of a place to die for.

Ice capped mountains, blue sky reflected on divine sea, blissful bobbing boats. There’s a hurriedly scribbled message - clearly the sender in paradise hasn’t time to waste writing to you. Just what you need to make you hideously fed up.

I assumed other people suffered the same angst. I was gobsmacked when a young uni student rang me with a complaint. ‘Please, please, send post cards like you used too. I miss them. I’m collecting them.’

Clearly I was missing something. Despite technology, sms, emails, blogs, twitter, - postcards are booming. And it’s not just new ones.

Valuable?

Many old postcards are a highly collectable item, so if you’re a hoarder - check them out.

It doesn’t mean they are necessarily lucrative, but play the right card and you might be lucky. Postcards range from a few cents upwards. In Iowa an unused post card advertising Waverley Bicycles with artwork designed by Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860-1939) sold for $12, 650 (USD.)

Auctions are a popular way to buy and sell postcards. And it’s not just small local places. Such is the power that Sotheby’s in London hold specialist postcard auctions two or three times a year.

Postcards from the past embrace a social history. They reflect what was happening that moment. Local history, sporting heroes, major exhibitions, museums, changing transport, cars, ships, trains, planes, customs, places - all frozen in time.

Nostalgia is relevant. There’s an undeniable view of events - passions and fashions of the past century.

Many collectors specialize - churches, town centres, world war one, embroidered silk, street scenes, animals.

The study and collecting of postcards is termed deltiology.

Genealogy

For genealogy buffs, the message on an old card can prove invaluable, providing clues to where former family members were and how they were faring.

After the death of my father, my sister in England found a postcard dated 1916 – sent by my grandfather who was away serving in the RAMC. It was to his young five year old son. (my father)

It portrayed a young boy wearing an overly large sergeant’s uniform. The message reads – ‘Dear Jack, I was surprised to find this picture of you and see you are an officer’. He then tells him he must be a ‘good boy for mummy. ‘

It is poignant reminder - he never saw his son again. In April 1917 he was drowned when his troopship the SS Arcadian was torpedoed in the Aegean Sea.

Saucy Postcards

In Britain 1894 was a significant year for postcards – British publishers were given the go ahead to manufacture picture postcards which could be mailed.

By 1904 a young Donald Fraser McGill was about to make his mark.. He specialized in colorful, creations teeming with innuendo and double entendre.

He soon became known as the King of the saucy seaside postcard

Colourful, humorous, nothing to do with travel, the public embraced them. Nothing was sacred, voluptuous blondes, mothers-in-law- drunken males, fat ladies, landladies and vicars were fair game. At first political correctness was not an issue

Not until 1954 when McGill was charged with breaking the 1857 Obscene Publishing Act. One of his censored items:

Vicar to woman pushing pram – “And what is the baby’s Christian name?”

Woman replies “Christian name! I have not had time to think of that. I have been six months trying to find a surname for him.”

He was found guilty and fined. A huge blow to the postcard industry although by the late 1950s they were back with a vengeance.

McGill died in 1962. Over his lifetime he produced an estimated 12,000 designs around 200 million copies printed. He never had royalties although one of his postcards, a record breaker sold over 6 million copies.

He - “Do you like Kipling?”

She – “I don’t know you naughty boy, I’ve never been kippled!”

What’s New?

Royalty past and present always has an edge - Princess Diane is still a favourite. Prince William and Catherine are hot.

So what’s new in Australian postcards? There are the usual - scenic views of picture perfect places.

A stab at humour, featuring a shabby Sheila or a boofhead Bruce titled - Our lingo interpreted;

Have a chunder – The delicate act of regurgitation.

Go and tart yourself up – Please dress in your best clothes.

Donald McGill would be squirming and rightly so.

My favourite, I found in Ireland. It portrayed an older couple in a run down hotel, woman looking blankly across a table at obviously bored man.

Caption – Wish you were here - and I wasn’t!

Wonder what the rellies will make of that if it turns up in the next hundred years.

Useful websites - http://www.postcard.co.uk/clubww.php

Donald McGill - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_McGill

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Thank you Peg, glad to hear you have your own collection of post cards. How they enhance our memories. Thanks for commenting, appreciate your views.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Such a rich history to the industry and the past. I love old postcards and new ones as well. On a trip through the mountains I bought a bunch of picture perfect cards thinking I would send them out but ended up keeping them as mementos. Now I have a collection going.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Such a rich history to the industry and the past. I love old postcards and new ones as well. On a trip through the mountains I bought a bunch of picture perfect cards thinking I would send them out but ended up keeping them as mementos. Now I have a collection going.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Hello Suhail and dog, thank you for your positive comments. You seem amazingly adventurous but I hope you find time to pursue postcards. They have much to offer.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      I came late to this creative hub, but better late than never.

      I, too, used to mail postcards to everyone, but stopped doing so as I turned from a tourist to an adventure hiker, trekker, dog sledder, and canoe and kayak pedaling aficionado.

      After reading your hub, I am thinking to revert to my hobby of the past. Thanks for sharing a hub on a hitherto untouched topic.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      liesl5858 - hello and good to have your postcard views and to know you still enjoy sending them. I know Blackpool well from my childhood, even then it was packed with postcards. Thanks for stopping by - Cheers -

    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello! Travmaj, I quite like sending postcards when I go abroad or even in other parts of England that I go to visit. We went to Blackpool last year and I saw lots of lovely decent, naughty, and colourful ones. Thank you for sharing your informative and interesting hub.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Hi Kay - great idea - you can dream away while chopping and cooking. I'll try it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting...

    • profile image

      Kay Readdy 4 years ago

      I find postcards a wonderful way to jazz up the fridge door - especially when it's 'what shall I cook for dinner time'!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      MrsBrownsParlour - thank you for your comments - appreciate it - well done keeping all your postcards, such a pleasure to revisit. I wasn't so smart - which, I suppose, prompted me to write about them. Thanks again...

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      What an interesting topic! This is well-written and very engaging too.

      I saved all the postcards I've received in an album and even have some older ones that were received by family members...I love seeing the different stamps and dated postmarks...but I never thought of myself as a collector of postcards before! This was very enjoyable to read. :-)

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      epigramman - thank you so much for stopping by and reading - I really appreciate your comments also. Very pleased you approve. Thanks for the postcard special from ontario - cheers,

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ...this is a very excellent overview of postcard history and their meaning - thank you for your great work here and your research and information - you write like a world class historian and I found your hub presentation very enlightening indeed - sending you a 'postcard' sentiment from lake erie time ontario canada 9:39am with warm wishes and good energy

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      CrisSp - thanks for stopping by and for voting. I'm glad it made you laugh - looks like postcards are here to stay if we have our way - cheers..

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Splendid...you got me laughing at the end on this: "Wish you were here - and I wasn’t!" Lol!

      I'm a FA and I have a friend who collect postcards and so I'm quite oblige to get her one or two from every destinations I go. (: I like writing on the postcards and make her jealous of my journey. So, I guess we're even.

      Postcards--they are classic and I love them!

      I enjoyed this hub. Voting up, beautiful and interesting and will absolutely share.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      unknown - thanks for commenting - appreciate it. My photo birds are just saying the post card mantra - wish you were here!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      i love sending postcards way back! the photo on the first part is such a beauty!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      WannaBWriter - thank you so much for your positive comments - your vintage postcards must tell interesting stories. regards...

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      midget - thank you again for your comments - good to see you here - yes the personal touch is meaningful now and again..

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I really enjoyed this, since I'm a postcard collector of sorts. I don't have any that are valuable that I know of, but did inherit a bunch of them from an aunt that are vintage. I think the ones that were written on over fifty years ago are the most interesting.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, travmaj, for this insightful and cute little take on the value of postcards! With emails and all, no one really sends them anymore..but postcards still give that personal touch. Thanks for sharing travel, one of your passions!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      Hi again Valley - thank you - your comments are always most welcome. I hope post cards will be around for a long time to come. Yes, the messages are often fascinating - and the historical content can be fascinating.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      Hi again Anne - Pontins and Butlins - heeee - I'd forgotten. Will google and see if they still exist.

      Saving the book - I don't leave until Sep 9th - hope I can hub one or two while away but it's a hectic trip - work and pleasure and my technological skills are not brilliant! Thanks again for your comments - always good to hear

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 5 years ago

      It is very reassuring to see postcards still in demand. It would be a sad day if they were to suddenly disappear from holiday destination gift shops. The ones you find with messages written on them have an added interest. Great hub Maj, a very high quality article. Voted awesome.

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 5 years ago from Spain

      Hi Maj. I only got the innuendo of the saucy postcards when I left home to work at Pontins holiday camp in Blackpool many years ago at the age of almost 18.

      I´m so pleased you bought that book, it´s a cracking read, and shocking in the way the Boleyn girls were treated, and Ann´s determination to get to be queen..nothing was going to get in her way on that score, even her own flesh and blood. Best shut up now...or I´ll spoil the read. Have a great time on your travels Maj. :)

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      Thank you also Mhatter - all these interesting facts about the humble postcard - really appreciate yur comment

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Postcards and cards were how I established myself in Freemasonry (1991 to 1998).

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      ki force - hello - and thank you for your comments so much appreciated. You make a good point - I forgot that it's now possible to print our own - so personal - my grandkids love them and sonehoe always superimpose their image on and then always the free advertisng cards that can be quite fun - hey I missed a lot - the post card evolving! best wishes...

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      Hello Anne - lovely to hear from you again. Oh yes, I remember those saucy seaside postcards - when I was a kid I was enthralled when the postie arrived with some. And I probably didn't 'get' the innuendo. Hee. By the way I bought the Boleyn book you recommended - will be travelling soon so saving it - cheers and best....

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      Hello Pavlo - thank you for stopping by and commenting. I'm so sorry to hear that your wife had her postcards stolen - I can understand how upset she would be. Often they are a part of life, best wishes to both...

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      xstatic - thank you so much - very much appreciate your comments and voting and sharing. I'm sure I've lost many along the way - they are valuable though in many ways. Thanks again..

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      Hi Glimmer - thank you for your comments - much appreciated - I send them often now and choose carefully, a view, something humorous etc - yes, I know the bittersweet feeling also but they are a such a part of life for many of us. Best regards...

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 5 years ago from australia

      Goodlady - thank you so much for such lovely positive comments. I'm pleased you enjoyed reading it - postcards contain such history and it is good to know thery are still treasured by many. Thank you and best regards.

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      travmaj..I love the attitude with which you write...and I can completely understand/relate to it....I too am a postcard buff..a few years ago I started printing my own with my photos..Canon product...I love it as it is so personal...I do cherish the ones from years ago..memory connection....great hub...

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 5 years ago from Spain

      Hiya Maj. I love sending and recieving postcards. Not that I have done much of that since coming to Spain..in 10 years have only had 1 long wekend holiday..boo hoo, mind you I still get my fix of sending them even on a day at the seaside. Being a Northner like yourself, I well remember the saucy stuff bought and sent from places like Blackpool and Bridlington...political correctness wasn´t an issue at all in those days, and a huge shame it is today...what´s a bit of fun after all. Great hub maj, thanks :)

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      My wife had a huge collection of postcards and was so upset when it was stolen. Great hub!

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Outstanding and informative too. I had no idea that old postcards could have value, wish I had kept a few. A great Hub! Up & shared.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      I love postcards and have boxes of them, either purchased or sent to me. It's nice and sometimes bittersweet to go through them from time to time. I always send a few postcards to some family and love to get them although rarely do anymore. What a interesting hub and great idea for one too!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      This is my favorite Hub in a long while. It is so beautifully written and contains treasure after treasure reasons (most of them so very touching) why post cards are so special. Of course they are! I pin mine on a cork board in the kitchen. They stay there for years. Every now and then I will actually look at them and remember so much about the person, the time, the event. Thanks so much. Pinning this and voting every which way!