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to Postcard Collectors and the study of Deltiology
Introduction to Hobby

This article was modeled after a presentation and discussion about the hobby delivered to a random group of residents at the SRG Carlisle Residence for Seniors in Lantana, FL on February 11, 2009




Size of The Hobby


There are probably 500,000 Postcard Collectors in the United States today. The hobby is far behind Stamp Collecting, about the size of Coin Collecting, but well ahead of Postal History Collecting in terms of participation.




We have 4 groups of Collectors in Deltiology (Postcard Collecting) including:

CASUAL and/or BEGINNING Collectors(60%) who save cards they receive, and have a minimal to beginning interest in expanding their collection

SERIOUS Collectors (35%) who actively  collect, search, research and purchase cards of their choosing.

ADVANCED Collectors and Dealers (4%) who participate in a wide variety of postcard activities and devote a minimum of 5 hours per week to their postcard hobby.

INVESTOR Collectors (1%) who collect primarily for financial gain.




     VIEWS                         TOPICS                  FOREIGN

Village, Town,                approx 500           approx 250 and 

City, County in               different topics    foreign                50 States                                                              countries




1861  The U.S. Congress authorizes privately printed      cards                  

1869   First official postal card is issued by the Austrian Government

1870  Lipman Postcard becomes the first privately authorized US card

1873  The United States issues its first official Postal Card.                 

1874  The Universal Postal Union sets postcard size of  3 1/2 by 5 ½”

1889  The first known color postcard is printed in Austria.

1893  Exposition Postcards are issued on a large scale for the Chicago’s Columbian Exposition.                                                                                    1898-1901 The U.S. Congress authorizes use of the Private Mailing Card

1899  The first Real Photo Postcard is sent through the U.S. mail.      

1901  New postal regulations end restrictions of Private Mailing Cards

1907  The United States issues its first Divided Back Postcard          

1920-1928   Publishers begin producing cards with a White Border         

1931  Curt Teich publishes postcards on Linen textured stock                 

1939  The first Chrome card (Photochrome) is published.                      

1970  Continental sized cards (4x6”) become popular in the US         

1995  Free Rack Card is introduced

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MINT  if  it is new, pristine, and not mailed.
EXCELLENT  if  it has sharp corners, is clean, and has no flaws
VERY GOOD  if  it has some minor defect(s)
GOOD  if  it has noticeable defect(s)
FAIR  if  it has obvious creases, stains, small tears etc.
POOR  if  it has a missing piece, holes punched, etc.
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Postcard Sorting:
1. Loose Leaf Albums
2. Loose Leaf Mini Albums
3. Cardboard Postcard Boxes
4. File Drawers or File Cabinets
5. Electronic Systems

Sleeves: There are 5 different types                                         a. The least expensive is the 2 mil polyethylene plastic;                      
b. Next is the 2 mil polypropylene plastic (crystal clear);                         
c. Then we have the 4 or mil polypropylene plastic (double thick plastic);                                                                  d. Next is the Semi-Rigid 5 mil plastic holder;                    
e. Finally, the most expensive, the 10 - 16 mil heavyweight hard plastic holder.

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There are approximately 75 Postcards Clubs scattered across the US. Click here for details




There are numerous postcard show held throughout the United States sponsored by postcard clubs and other show promoters. Click here for details




The best resource for the collector is on the internet at

Also consider viewing or buying books, articles, checklists, and collections.

To Buy postcards try flea markets, antique shops and malls, postcard dealers, friends, and fellow collectors