We are admirers and collectors of vintage postcards. Just over 100 years ago, the postcard was the new way to communicate a quick hello to friends and loved ones. Cameras, photography and photo processing methods were not yet affordable or easily used by a layman and long distance telecommunication was not readily available. Mail service was prompt and delivered twice a day in many places. The pictures on a penny postcard brought the world closer for just a 1¢ stamp for domestic use and a 2¢ stamp for international mail.
In the “Golden Age” of postcards — which in Canada lasted from around 1902 through to the beginning of the Great War — the variety and quantity of postcards collected and exchanged is almost unfathomable. Within the small Dominion of Canada alone, the numbers of postcards created and exchanged in the years around 1905 would have been in the tens of millions. That so many survive today is a testament to their value as a view of history and as pieces of art. From artist-drawn images to lithographed scenes and the highly prized “real photo postcard” (RPPC), there are many opportunities to acquire an historic artifact in your area of interest. Common themes of Canadian collections include not only the local history of every town, village and hamlet in Canada, but (among many others) the military (especially World War I), sports and leisure, domestic life, agriculture, automobiles and aircraft, religion, business and industry, disasters, politics, labour, the North, the opening of the West, indigenous life. Any of these topics alone could represent a lifetime of collecting and learning.
Collecting vintage postcards introduces the collector to a myriad of related subjects. From the ‘Golden Age’ to the modern age, postcards evolved and changed as printing, production, photography and people’s tastes changed. Aspects of postal history, social history, early photography and photographers intrigue the collector. At the Toronto Postcard Club, we study postcard manufacturers and publishers, create listings and catalogues and learn how to categorize different eras, topics, and types of postcards. There are many, many Internet resources where one can learn about vintage postcards. Some of our favourites are on our ‘postcard links’ pages. The Toronto Postcard Club is one of 6 in Canada, with many more in other countries worldwide. Join the TPC (and/or another postcard club in your area), go to a postcard show and discover all that vintage postcards have to offer.
Why Join the Toronto Postcard Club?
First, it’s not just a “Toronto” thing: while our meetings are in Toronto , we have members from across Canada, and beyond. Everyone who joins receives our 24-page magazine, Card Talk, three times per year. Card Talk contains news about the club, important postcard sales and events and many interesting articles about postcards and the stories they tell. For a summary of the contents of a recent edition of Card Talk, see our blog. If you like, you can also include your interests in our membership roster, which may help you find new sources of the cards that you’re looking for. We also hold regular meetings and field trips in the Toronto area, hold Canada’s largest annual postcard sale, and just generally have a lot of fun sharing information with like-minded people of all ages — anyone and everyone who has caught the postcard bug. If you’re just starting, or aren’t even sure yet if postcards are your thing, join us and before long you’ll be wondering where postcards were all your life!
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