Postcards are a common part of many people’s lives, but some older postcards can be quite valuable. Determining how much a 1907 postcard is worth depends on its age and the subject of the card. Cards from the early 1900s of trains, ocean liners and other historical subjects are especially sought after by collectors. Cards that are signed by the artist or are part of a limited edition printing also have more value.
Generally speaking, older postcards are more valuable than newer ones. However, determining how old a postcard is can be difficult, as the postmark on the back of the card is not always reliable. Some of the most important factors are if the card is a pioneer postcard, whether it has writing on both sides or just one side and the type of postage cancel. A rare cancellation stamp can also increase the value of a postcard.
The most valuable postcards come from the golden era of postcard collecting, which lasted from about 1889 to 1915. The study of postcards is known as deltiology and has grown to become the third-largest collecting hobby worldwide, after stamps and coins/banknotes. The value of a postcard depends on its rarity, historical relevance, appeal and the design and depiction. For example, a postcard showing the Titanic ship leaving Southampton Dock in 1911 has been valued at over $4,800. The Young Boys Pump House postcard, which was mailed in 1908, has also been valued at over $4,000. The Chinese Fruit Seller postcard is a simple, monochromatic postcard that was popular from 1903 to 1915 and fetched nearly $5,200.
Another factor is if the postcard has a divided back, which indicated that one side was for the address and the other was for a message. This feature began in March of 1907.
If the postcard has a white border, this indicates that it was printed prior to 1917 when Germany’s printing press companies went into bankruptcy because of World War I. Similarly, if the postcard has black borders, it was likely printed after 1915, when Germany’s printing presses were put into service again.
A rounded corner, blunt or creased corners, pinholes and noticeable album marks indicate that a postcard is in poor condition. It may still be collectable, but the value is substantially less than a postcard in excellent condition.
If you own any rare or valuable postcards, be sure to store them in a protective case to avoid damage or theft. Investing in a safe for your collection is even better, as it will keep them protected from fire and other natural disasters. It is also a good idea to purchase plastic sleeves for your postcards, as they will protect them from dirt and debris and prevent yellowing over time.