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Antiques Corner

Popular Postcards

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Question: This postcard from 1908 was made in Germany. Did the United States regularly import paper goods such as this from Europe at that time? Would it be worth more if the back hadn't been written on?

Answer: Although postcards were used in Europe as early as 1869, it wasn't until 1901 that the United States government permitted private companies to print them for use here. Then, only the address of the recipient was permitted on the back of the card; any message had to be written on the front, which often obscured the illustration. The popularity of postcards soared after 1906, when postal regulations were modified to permit a message to be written on the back beside the address. Germany, having advanced lithography technology, exported many postcards to the United States from the early 1900s until its industry was decimated during World War I. Similar holiday postcards from the early 1900s sell for $5 to $10, more if the illustrator is identified. Writing on the back does not detract significantly from the value.

-- By Tom Hoepf, associate editor of Auction Central News

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