Old Picture Postcards
October 15, 2009 10:25 AM   Subscribe

My favorite aunt passed away recently, and among the things she left me is a shoebox full of picture postcards. My sense is that at least some of them may have some value, but I don't know where to look.

About half of them are used (were sent to her), half unused. There are a few from the 1920's and quite a number from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Condition seems pretty good to me - not "mint", but pretty good. I did do a Google search, but didn't come up with anything immediately useful.
posted by gteffertz to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
There are appraisers out there who specialize in postcards ... My mother used one when her mother left her several boxes of postcards. If I recall correctly, the cards were appraised and then the lot was auctioned off as a set. It was not huge money, I think maybe a few thousand dollars (less than 5) at most.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:31 AM on October 15, 2009

Why don't use just save them as a reminder of your aunt?
posted by bunny hugger at 10:41 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

You can always keep an open eye out for postcard shows, often times there's dealers there who'll do appraisals. Or at worse, you can make the connections to dealers who appraise. (Never hurts to get two opinions, too).

Postcards can have different values, based on content and condition of the postcard. You'll find an array of prices on eBay for postcards. Myself, I once paid about 75 some dollars for a postcard. (That's my extreme high end!)

Be sure when deciding on selling the postcards that it won't be a decision you'll regret down the road. The cards may well have valuable or interesting genealogical significance for your family, be it from the names of the people sending them to your Aunt, to the pictures on the front which may have significance in your family history. And of course, if you don't feel like the money is worth the trouble and don't want to have them waste space, always inquire at local archival institutions!
posted by Atreides at 10:59 AM on October 15, 2009

If any of them are Halloween themed, you've got a goldmine there.
posted by chez shoes at 12:54 PM on October 15, 2009

I don't know where you are, but the SF Bay Area Postcard Club might be able to help you identify some of the cards. The links page has some good advice. I'm also on their Yahoo groups mailing list, and people post from around the world with questions.

If you decide to keep them as a nice memory of your aunt, you could scan them and put the collection on Flickr or another photo-sharing site.
posted by vickyverky at 4:52 PM on October 15, 2009

Thanks everyone for the responses. On the issue of keeping them, I'm feeling innundated with paper. There are a few I'll keep for sentimental reasons (one sent by my Dad when he was 20 years old), but I do want to get rid of most of them.
posted by gteffertz at 7:47 AM on October 16, 2009

I suggest you scan them all (both sides if used) on a cheap flatbed scanner and then if you sell the hardcopies you'll still have an archive of your aunt's postcard collection. Figure 30 seconds per postcard - that's a couple of evening's work. Think about using a self-publishing book service like Blurb to produce a simple book of them. Technically, you're not supposed to do that for copyright reasons, but as long as you're just making one copy for yourself, no-one should even notice.
posted by SebastianKnight at 4:34 PM on October 25, 2009

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