Determining Value of Vintage Postcards

Vintage postcards are one of my loves, but I don’t really collect them. I’ve inherited several albums and lots of loose cards. An old album came home with me at an estate sale 3 years ago, and I wanted to have it evaluated by someone in the know.  In all this time, I haven’t  decided how to approach selling it…Ebay? Etsy? Sell as is or remove the cards? Luckily, there is a postcard dealer right here in my hometown. Gary and I visited him and his fascinating shop recently.value of vintage postcards I will be doing a post about that soon.


An Instagram postcard dealer strongly discouraged removing them. Taking them out is not a good idea as they are all glued in. To remove would likely mean destroying the cards in the process.


Every time I decide “THIS TIME I’m going to sell it,” I pore over it, and know I can’t do it. Follow along with me as I give you a little tour of these pieces of history~

value of vintage postcards
Old albums


Worn and frayed, the larger is at a disadvantage with no cover. It contains place postcards, greeting cards, paper dolls, and pictures cut from magazines. What’s of special note is that everything is glued into an old “Hotel Ware” catalog probably dating from 1910-1920. That in itself would be desirable if untouched. The below pictures are some of the pages in the back…


How about these fancy coffee mills?

value of vintage postcards
Hotel Ware catalog Postcard Album

















The 140 lb “Cutlery Renovator” machine for polishing and grinding blades???

value of vintage postcardsor  the “Day Dough Mixer”??? Can you imagine working with such a contraption??

value of vintage postcards

These are just a few of the fascinating catalog photos, but back to the postcard album.


value of vintage postcards
Above: Showing Cuidad Juarez. I’m quite sure it doesn’t look like that now!















value of vintage postcards
Pictures cut from magazines
value of vintage postcards
Vintage Fashion





value of vintage postcards

value of vintage postcards
Above: The dealer shook his head in remorse when he saw the next two cards (upper half)…
value of vintage postcards
Above: These are called “Hold to Light” cards. If you look closely, you can see cut-outs in the windows.


value of vintage postcards
Above: Most notable is the card on lower left showing a red satin heart. A girl would dab her perfume here for her sweetheart.
value of vintage postcards
Above: Dolly Dingle Paper Doll by GG Drayton, who was the illustrator for Campbell’s Soup kids







value of vintage postcards
Above: Place cards are mainly desirable to those who live in the areas.
value of vintage postcards
Above: Those were just a fraction of the cards in the catalog…now on to the smaller album

















value of vintage postcards
Patriotic cards
value of vintage postcards
Above: Vintage Halloween Postcards are often more desirable because there weren’t as many made. One of the cards in this album had a value of $50 if it had not had a postmark on the front.















value of vintage postcards
Above: It is the “kiss of death” for a vintage Christmas postcard to have “Xmas” instead of “Christmas.”
value of vintage postcards
Above: Vintage Christmas Postcards with full body Santas are more desirable than head shot Santas.
























































































































How to determine value?




  • Condition is everything. Creases, corner bumps, rubs, and wear devalue cards
  • Postmarks devalue cards (Personally, I love postmarks…it gives me an idea of age and I like the look).
  • Cards sought after by collectors date from 1898-1940. However, the 1910 era was the heyday for vintage postcards. There were more made then, so this amount of age is not necessarily a determinant of value.
  • Vintage Birthday postcards are not as sought after because there were more of these made.
  • Subject matter and rarity determine value. Some people collect war cards, Christmas, Halloween, linen cards, Curt Teich postcards.
  • Real Photo Postcards (RPPC) are desirable if unusual. (I recently sold 2 photo postcards. One was a photo of an amputee sitting on the ground beside a covered wagon goat cart, and the other was a photo of convicts on a railroad track.)


For more info on determining value, click here:



I was offered $150 for both albums. I decided not to sell because I’m not ready to part with them yet! Am I crazy or not? Sometimes I think I am….



17 comments on Determining Value of Vintage Postcards

  1. This is so fascinating. I can imagine you would pour over these and wonder about the people who bought them and the ones who received the postcards. I would be creating such stories in my head about them all. Hang on to them.

  2. Gasp! Those are wunnnderful! That first book….. Sigh. If a dealer offered you $150 you know you can get more.

    I once thought I’d like to be a postcard dealer. But it’s too hard to find the desirable ones. I do still love to find nice ones though.

    1. Yes, it is hard to find the desirable ones. I’m by no means educated on this subject, which is why I went to visit the dealer. So what he actually said was that the big one was “worthless” because it was glued in, but then he said I might get $40-50 for it. To my mind, that’s not “worthless.” So the other little album must be where the bulk of the worth is coming from. In any case, I’m not quite ready to part with them.

  3. Loved seeing your albums, Florence–so many pretty cards, and interesting ones, too. I’m not sure I could have passed up the $150(!)…Thanks for linking up your post with Vintage Charm 🙂

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