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What are my old postcards worth?

Real Photo PostcardWhat are my old postcards worth?

Real photo postcards or RPPC were a popular trend from the very early 20th century to as late as the 1950s. This was mostly due to the fact that photography had really become accessible to the average person. Kodak created the first public photo lab in 1888. Their slogan was “You press the button, we do the rest.” This allowed the average person to take pictures without having to do their own developing. Negatives of family photos would be sent out to Photography houses which would print them up as postcards. This enabled the postcards to be mailed to family and friends very easily.

With so many types of postcards from so many different dates and places; it is hard to distinguish real photo post cards from the rest. By using a magnifying glass or a super zoom on a computer it is one of the easiest ways to determine if they are real photo postcards. Postcards that are not real photos will be made up of tiny dots or spots (pixels) used to create one big picture similar to a newspaper. Real photo post cards will show as one big picture because they were printed on real photography paper.

So many of us have found really old photos with postcard backs and wished we knew how much to value them at or even what makes them valuable. The value of a RPPC depends on the buyers demand in so many cases. Family portraits are probably the most common type of real photo postcard people find. However, the most valuable and desirable real photo postcards contain unique content.  Very much of the unique content comes from freelance postcard photographers. These photographers were roaming the streets taking pictures of all kinds of unique places, things, and events. (Commonly these photo postcards can be found with white hand written captions of the place or content.) This resulted in unique glimpses of early twentieth century life.

Four main things you want to look at when figuring out the worth of a RPPC are content, age, rarity and demand. Some of the more sort after postcards contain events in history, advertisement signs, early transportation, ethnic groups, small town streets, early farm equipment/buildings, celebrities and famous people, early automobiles, unusual animals, death, natural disasters, people in occupation, sports, and military.

Collectibles NJ purchases and appraises postcard collections in NJ. We have sold hundreds of postcards and know where to market them to get top dollar. Want to know what your old postcards are worth contact us using this link


2 Responses to What are my old postcards worth?

  1. Hi there,
    I absolutely love your website. It is so friendly and welcoming :)
    I’m hoping you’ll be able to help. My husband and I are in need of some cash and thought I’d try selling my postcard collection. The cards have been accumulated over the years some are pristine, not used as well as some used cards with stamps on them.
    My son set up for me a photo gallery on the internet where I was able to take pictures of the postcards and display them so you could see my whole collection. I was just going to send the pictures in an email to you but i couldn’t attach more than I think 5 or so images.
    So anywho, below are the links to my collection. If you are interested in any of them, you can give me a call anytime at
    Thanks so much for your time :)

    Miss and Jay Campanella

    • Hello Miss and Jay.

      You have a couple decent ones here, of particular interest is the REAL PHOTO of the train station. These can trade upwards of $100 at times depending on the shot vintage and location. While we probably wouldn’t offer on your collection as we do not sell singles in linens or pre-linens its a decent little lot that will be worth it to the right ephemera dealer. Thanks for showing us!

      Collectible Kevin