Dating foreign postcards
Compiled by Todd Ellison, Certified Archivist (last revised 8/7/2006)Although the world's first picture postcards date from the 1860s to the mid-1870s, most of the earliest American picture postcards extant today are those that were sold at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, starting on May 1, 1893. At this time, a dozen or more American printers began to take postcards seriously.
These were illustrations on government-printed postal cards and on privately printed souvenir cards. Congress on May 19, 1898 granted private printers permission to print and sell cards that bore the inscription Private Mailing Card. Still, no message was permitted on the address side. postal regulations on December 24, 1901 stipulated that the words Post Card should be printed at the top of the address side of privately printed cards.
The relatively high cost of labor, along with inexperience and changes in public taste, resulted in the production of poor quality cards during this period.
On this site I have included examples of old post-cards.
I still have a lot more details and images to add to this site.
Mike Roberts pioneered his WESCO cards soon after World War II.
Three-dimensional postcards also appeared in this era.
Many of the real photo postcards being done at the current time are reproductions of earlier historic photos.