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Image of Haydon Burns Library postcard

Deltiology, or postcard collecting, currently is the third largest collectable hobby in the world. Coin and stamp collecting surpass it. Postcard collecting's popularity can be attributed to the broad subject appeal. Postcards are also used in both personal and business communication.The cards portray almost any subject that one could imagine. This broad subject range comes as a result of the social usage cards were designed for. Today postcards continue to be a very popular form of souvenir for travelers and tourists.


Private Mailing Card Era, 1898-1901
In 1898 the United States government allowed American publishers to print and sell cards bearing the inscription, "Private Mailing Card, Authorized by Act of Congress on May 19, 1898". These private mailing cards were to be posted with one cent stamps.
Undivided Back Era, 1901-1907
The United States government in 1901 granted permission for the words "Post Card" to be printed on the undivided back of privately printed cards and allowed publishers to drop the authorization inscription previously required. Writing was still limited to the front. Other countries began to permit the use of a divided back. This allowed the front to be used for the design, while the back was divided, the left side was for writing messages and the right side for the address.
Divided Back Era, 1907-1915
In 1902 England was the first to permit the divided back. France followed in 1904, Germany in 1905 and finally the United States in 1907.
Early Modern Era, 1916-1930
Printing technology allowed for advances in the production of quality cards. Greeting cards lost popularity during this time, however, popularity in view cards remained strong.
Linen Card Era, 1930-1945
New advancements in printing technology enabled the publishers to print cards on a linen type paper. This paper was bright and held vivid colors. View and comic cards were the most often published.
Photochrome Era, 1939-present
In 1939 was the beginning of a new era in photochrome cards. Photochromes are the most popular postcards today and are commonly called modern chromes.

Postcard Types

View Cards
View cards have been the mainstream of the collecting field. For many years peoplehave enjoyed collecting and trading postcards of their home towns and places they visited. Theses view cards offer historic reference to buildings, streets, and even towns which may no longer exist or have changed significantly over time. Even views produced in the photochrome era may no longer look as they did when the card was produced.
Greeting Cards
The greeting card is as old and common as the view card in the earlier eras. Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, other holidays and special occasions were fairly common.
Historical Cards
Historical cards are printed to commemorate events such as war, expositions, parades, coronations, politics and many more.
Art Cards
The art card is a very important category in postcards. Most art card were special interest cards.
Photographic Cards
Photographic cards are acutal photos of beautiful women, children, lovers, etc. are often in great detail and in true colors.