Postcard Topics

Postcard collectors usually have many favorite subjects for their collections.  These are referred to as “topics”, like a category or specialty.

Topics can be most anything:  street views, real photos, holiday cards (think Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving), and specific cities or states.  Some topics may be even more focused, like trains/transportation, patriotic, political, and humorous/comic.

Below are a few representative examples for your viewing pleasure.

What’s your topic?

W. E. Burgess published numerous street view postcards from many small communities in Central Virginia. Burgess cards are highly sought after.
Street views of local buildings and landmarks are probably the most widely collected postcards.
Pennant cards were published for numerous locations, often with a humorous message. This one is from Cadet, a community in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.
Postcards document structures that have disappeared, such as this hotel near Fort Defiance, VA that was destroyed by fire shortly before its scheduled opening.
Famous tourist landmarks are featured on some of the most popular postcards.
Commercial postcards advertise a merchant's goods and services to potential customers.
This postcard shows the interior of the Richmond, VA home that is now part of the Valentine Museum. Architectural views are very collectible.
Colleges and universities are depicted on many postcards, such as this one by Earl Christy.
This futuristic postcard shows multiple methods of transportation, including airships, balloons, trolleys, bicycles, automobiles and pedestrians.
Postcards are popular souvenirs of historical events, such as the 1907 Jamestown Exposition on Sewell's Point in Hampton Roads, at Norfolk, Virginia.
This linen postcard shows the Tiny Town Bowling Alleys in Richmond, Virginia. Sports and entertainment are another topic for many collectors.
Some collectors seek out certain publishers of postcards, such as this one of the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg, by the Rotograph Company of New York.
Some postcards are just plain fun to look at, such as this view of Pratt's Castle, a residence on Gamble's Hill above the James River in Richmond.
This is an example of a "Large Letter" greeting card. They are usually found on linen postcards.
Patriotic cards feature American flags, founding fathers and other symbols of the American Revolutionary War and Independence Day.
This example from Charleston, SC shows a "Birds-Eye View". These are appealing and popular views of many cities and towns of all sizes.
Souvenir folders contain multiple cards. This one by Louis Kaufman has 20 views attached together, accordian-style.
Not all postcards are the same size. This is an example of a double-wide postcard (also called a "panoramic" postcard).

The Rotograph Company made a series of “bookmark” postcards, which are smaller than the standard-sized postcards of the early 20th century.

Holiday postcards include New Year’s, Easter, July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This card wishes the recipient a “Happy Christmas”.

Halloween cards are very desirable. This card, with its bright colors and classic spooky images, is by Raphael Tuck & Sons.  It was postmarked on October 29, 1908 in New York City.

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