Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Deltiology - The World of Vintage Postcard Collecting

An Applique Postcard from Stonehouse
in Lanarkshire, Scotland, having had
ground glitter added to the surface

This Blog celebrates the humble postcard. During the Edwardian era, and generally up to the 1920's, postcards usefully served many varied purposes. These ranged primarily from simple holiday postcards, the exchange of personal and business related messages, as well as the sending of birthday, Christmas, New Year, and other festive occasion greetings. The increasing availability of new colour chromo-lithograph postcards, mainly printed in Saxony in Germany, further added to their popularity.

A Collage type Postcard with the
image formed of used stamps

This also led to the new hobby of postcard collecting, what we now term "deltiology". During her childhood in Scotland my Great Aunt became a fervent collector, managing to fill three large albums which I now hold. Obviously becoming a very discriminating collector, her brother sent her an extra large 26 cm long postcard in 1907 with only the very short and seemingly rather exasperated message, "Will this one please you? J.W."

A Mirror Postcard which can only
be read by holding it up to a mirror

An added bonus has been the large amount of personal and family related information I have been able to glean from these postcards. Even simple and apparently mundane personal messages have enabled me to gain a better understanding and impression of everyday Edwardian life and times. Had these been sent as letters this information would generally not have survived. Once the telephone came into common usage, much everyday information which had previously been conveyed by way of the postcard, then ceased. Interestingly, comparisons can be made to the advent of email and electronic messaging and how this will, in another hundred years, leave an even larger "black hole" in the printed record of own daily lives.  

A Novelty Postcard -
"The Language of Postage Stamps"

This is no where near an exhaustive record of the many types of Postcards available, being just a small percentage of the more interesting examples in my own collection.


Stra'ven [Strathaven] in Lanarkshire Scotland
was once widely renowned for Gingerbread

Mr John Letham of Auchinairn,
Bishopbriggs appears to be making
use of free postcards supplied by
the firm of "Hadfields".  

Military & War

A sentimental type of postcard that
became popular during World War One

"Unity is Strength" with the flags of Britain and her Allies -
A Christmas postcard from the First World War period 


An Exaggeration Postcard - manipulated images are nothing new!

A Humorous postcard showing
a man warming his feet on a
candle, probably dating from the
37 day Miner's strike of 1912
A Comic Postcard - a very mild
version compared to some!
Circa 1920's

Embroidered Postcards

An Embroidered postcard of the
Gordon Highlander's Crest,
  World War One period

An embroidered card with the British and
French Flags. World War One period 

Birthdays & Christmas

A Glossy Birthday Postcard
with an embossed border
An Edwardian Birthday Postcard

A Birthday Card featuring well
known Edwardian actresses
An Edwardian Christmas Postcard

Love & Affection 

An Edwardian Chromolithograph
Postcard expressing love


A Novelty Postcard with the die cut
images pasted onto the backing card 


A glossy Postcard from the New Zealand International
Exhibition held in Christchurh, 1906-07. The card
has been highlighted with glitter.

A Postcard advertising the touring Australian
Champion Woodcutters Peter MacLaren
and Harry Jackson, posted by the
promoter, Mr Thomas Dougall, 1908. 


Mechanical Postcards with moving parts were easily
damaged and are now quite rare, as evidenced in this case
by the missing Lion's tail which could be spun around. 


"On Holiday" - An Anthropomorphic postcard depicting
dogs with human attributes. Such images depicting animals
in semi-human form were once very popular


"Pull-out" Postcards allowed the recipient to open a cover
and pull out a long strip with images, in this case of the
Scottish National Exhibition, Glasgow 1908


Postcards were popular with businesses for non-confidential mail. 

And this Postcard served as a record of
British Post and Telegraph charges for 1909 

All Postcards are from my own collection and may be freely copied for personal use provided this site is acknowledged.

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