By comparing identical mailed and unmailed cards, researchers have developed a pattern to determine when a particular style of card was produced. On real photo post cards, codes in the stamp boxes can also be helpful in dating the card. Stamp boxes on printed or lithographed cards also offer dating clues. Often there is a reference in the box to the amount of postage required. Of course, if the card is used and has a stamp, that too gives a clue, both by its value, and the style of stamp itself.
When World War I ended at the end of , the rate was lowered to its prewar level of one cent. The postal rate was raised briefly from 1 cent to 2 cents in and in ; the conclusive raise to 2 cents was in Commission Rate Board overestimated revenue needs in and was forced to reduce the postage rate in Most of the earliest American picture post cards that exist today are those that were sold at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, starting on May 1, These were illustrations on government-printed postal cards and on privately printed souvenir cards.
The government postal cards included a printed 1-cent stamp; the privately printed souvenir cards required a 2-cent adhesive postage stamp to be affixed. Messages were not permitted on the address side of the cards; after attempting various forms of explaining that regulation, the U. Private Mailing Card Era An Act of U.
The required postage was a 1-cent adhesive stamp. At this time, a dozen or more American printers began to focus on post card production. Still, no message was permitted on the address side. Real Photo Post Cards to Post cards that are actual photographic replications were first produced around They provide a quality black and white photographic record of history in the making and they can usually be enlarged somewhat without losing image quality.
They may or may not have a white border, or a divided back, or other features of post cards, depending on the paper the photographer used. Many of the real photo post cards being done at the current time are reproductions of earlier historic photos. The easiest way to distinguish a real photo postcard is to look at it under a magnifying glass; it will show smooth transitions from one tone to another. There was often a statement that said "this side for address only.
So, if your postcard has an undivided back, it is from or earlier. Does the postcard back indicate that it was printed in Germany? Many early postcards were printed in Germany. The German cards were of exceptional quality and are some of the best examples of old postcards available. However, World War I shut down the German printing presses and cards started being printed in the United States or imported from Great Britain.
If your early postcard says it was printed in Germany, it is from before Is there a white border around the picture? The White Border era dates from to Does the picture have a texture like woven linen? Postcards from to were printed on a linen texture paper. They also used brightly colored inks. Does the postcard have a shiny finish on the front, with a color photographic image? Date when postcards were first mailed: Postcards started to be sent internationally in , after the first meeting of the General Postal Union in Berne, Switzerland.
The first commercial postcards produced in the U. These were the first privately printed souvenir postcards in the country. Does your card have the words "Private Mailing Card, Authorized by Act of Congress on May 19, " on the back? The words "Post Card" were not printed on postcards until December 24, Cards previous to that had to have the Private Mailing Card Statement.
So, if your card is marked "Private Mailing Card," is dates from - A divided back postcard example 3 has a line down the middle, or some other indication that one half of the back is for the address and the other half is for a message. Early postcards had an undivided back example 2. The back of the postcard was for the address only. There was often a statement that said "this side for address only.
How to Date Real Photo Postcards
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