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Dating postcard backs, smithsonian institution archives

Post Card History and Dating Methods. Two major postcard publishers, Curt Teich and Detroit Publishing Company, used numbering schemes that can be helpful in dating a card. On real photo post cards, codes in the stamp boxes can also be helpful in dating the card. My father collects postcards along with his stamps and has for many years has a lot of the cards you have or very similar.

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Undivided Backs (Pre) - Postcards - Dating - Landscape Change Program
Dating Postcards
  1. Interesting article, and one I had never considered.
  2. On a card that was not mailed, the first place to look is the stamp box.
  3. Squares in each of the four corners.
  4. As you can see from this scan, the instructions were not to write a message in this space apart from a card being sent within the British Isles.

These stencils were usually cut out of tin or heavy paper and would be sandwiched between the photo paper and negative during exposure to the sun. At this time, a dozen or more American printers began to focus on post card production. The first postcards were not allowed to have any form of picture. Yes - first I look for any date written by the sender of course. Collecting postcards is a great hobby, eva longoria dating history zimbio one I've considered.

Chicago Postcard Museum - How to Age a Postcard

MetroPostcard Real Photo Postcard Guide
Postcard Dating

It was not meant for postcards and had no postcard back. Guide to Real Photo Postcards. All cards during this era had undivided backs and only the address was to appear on the back. All cards during this era had undivided backs of privately printed cards.

Some articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. Three-dimensional postcards also appeared in this era. As time went on and more countries allowed both address and message to appear together on the same side of the card, it led to some interesting instructions appearing. The rare photo card that may have been printed on albumen paper comes from a period where these cards would be considered novelties. Most, but not all, will be multiple view cards.


  • But even here the effect is more of a softening of detail than a observable texture.
  • All albumen prints were made by contact printing and printed out.
  • At least different real photo postcard backs can be found but as of this time there is a lack of accurate information regarding all their dates of use, or they were used in very limited quantities.
  • Real photo cards continued to be hand colored even after color prints were introduced.
  • Gold toning created a red to purple brown cast or a blue black.

Again, these rates of postage are only a guidance. The White Border Era brought an end to the postcard craze era. This could go on for generations, and it is not uncommon to find the same photograph attributed to three different artists. Four triangles, one in each corner, pointing up.

The letters and figures after the dash pertain to the printing process used and the number of issues that year. Bromide paper was relatively fast and was meant to be used with an enlarger. Blessed by a SquidAngel, and congrats on LotD!

Identifying the Age of Postcards

Smithsonian Institution Archives

Vintage Postcards on eBay There are always vintage postcards available on eBay at reasonable prices, though I have to say that there are fewer bargains than there used to be. The smaller negatives required postcard sized prints to be enlarged often with the aid of an easel to hold the paper in place, and white borders became more common. Both of those give information about how to date those specific cards. Congratulations on LotD honors! These cheap cards allowed the use of gaudy dyes for coloring.

Detroit postcards are easy to manage by the number, regardless of subject. This is the oldest card in my possession. The cards from this era are relatively scarce.

These early divided backs gave priority to the address so that the address took up two thirds of the space and the message being confined to one third. Our Web Sites use different shopping carts and have to be ordered separately. The golden age ended as imports from Germany ceased and publishers in the U. These first picture postcards still had the address alone on one side. This is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site.

Tips for determining when a U.S. postcard was published

Publishers, such as Mike Roberts, Dexter Press, Curt Teich, and Plastichrome, began producing cards that had very beautiful chrome colors and were very appealing to collectors. Of course you need to bear in mind that someone can keep a card for years before sending it, but it is a help. The presence of a photographers name is not a definite indication of when a card was made or even who made it. If you wanted to write a message it had to be crammed in alongside the picture, around it and sometimes over it. Anyway, I really learned something here today - valuable info that I'll tuck into my back pocket and pull out next time I'm looking at cards!

Undivided Backs (Pre-1907)

Photo post card paper is currently only available from foreign sources. Bromide Prints - Bromide prints are developed out producing a very stable image due to their large silver particles. These are easily distinguished by the white border around the pictured area.

In summary, you should be looking at the format and layout of the card, the features in the picture itself, the postmark and postage stamp if they are available. When double toned with gold and platinum the print would remain neutral. In Conclusion I hope that this has given you some guidance as far as what you should be looking for in order to decide on how old a postcard is. This gives these images a very matte look not normally associated with photography, principles dating and making some easy to confuse with collotypes. No I don't know how to date a postcard.

One easy way to approximate when a postcard was mailed if the cancellation date is unreadable is to know the changes in rates for mailing postcards. Many other brands of photo paper were also manufactured in Europe but rarely left the continent. And yet how many new things we find out about each day.

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Early real photo postcards are small by their very nature and since most were contact printed, not enlarged, there is no visible texture. This was suitable for making contact prints, online dating talking rather than enlargements for which the source of light would be much weaker. Sometimes a photographer might expose a logo onto the image or hand stamp a name to the back of the card. As a result you can't use the postmark as a guide in estimating the card's age.

Thank You for sharing this lens as I enjoyed reading about the vintage postcards. However there was no demand for mass production until real photo postcards became popular. The Laura Gilpin cards of Mesa Verde and Silverton are excellent examples of the photogravure process. This is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized.

Congratulations on your Lens of the Day! Photochromes are not real photos but rather, printed cards done by a photochrome process. Very interesting - love looking at old postcards and the wonderful old pictures they provide! Have the buildings been modified since the time of this view?

All the images are scans of postcards in my own collection. All iron salt prints are contact printed. The back of a post card can give several clues about the age of a card.

The First Picture Postcards
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