The first postcard was sent in 1840, and people have been sending and collecting them ever since. Those who collect vintage postcards usually look at things like age, condition, postmark, rarity and subject matter. Collectable postcards cover a wide range of different subjects.
Topographical postcards depict British or worldwide places of interest. Transportation postcards can relate to sea, rail, road or air. Military collectable postcards can relate to specific events, countries or regiments. And comic or humorous collectable postcards appeal to those with a cheeky sense of humour.
Printed collectable postcards
The subject matter of printed collectable postcards can vary hugely depending on where the postcard has come from. Beaches are popular on postcards printed and sent from coastal towns. A city with an impressive train station might have a higher than average number of rail related printed postcards. Well known buildings and landmarks are often the inspiration for printed postcards in the town or city that they're in.
Some will have paintings, drawings or other artistic representations of famous landmarks or buildings instead. The rarity of such pieces can vary.
Embroidered silk collectable postcards
Embroidered silk collectable postcards often combine many vibrant colours. Flowers and botanical prints as well as exotic looking flamenco dancers are both popular subjects for embroidered silk postcards. People, places, world flags and embroidered writing are also collectable.
Real Photographic (RP) collectable postcards
Real Photographic (RP) collectable postcards are popular with people who collect transport themed postcards because they accurately depict trains, cars, lorries and commercial vehicles, planes and ships exactly as they appeared in their time. Some RP postcards show things like beaches, well known buildings and landmarks, and holiday destinations. Obviously the oldest RP postcards are black and white, while only those printed since the invention of colour photography could be printed in colour.