Classical Postcards by Famous Artists and Publishers

By Katharina Wenzel-Vollenbroich
Classical Postcards by Famous Artists and Publishers Classical Postcards by Famous Artists and Publishers

Postcards have a long and storied history, dating back to the late 1800s. While postcards may seem old-fashioned in today's digital age, they retain a certain nostalgic charm and uniqueness that set them apart from other means of communication. From the Golden Age of postcards in the early 1900s to the resurgence of interest in vintage postcards today, these iconic cards have stood the test of time and continue to be collected and appreciated. 

A Brief History of Postcards

The first government-issued postcard was introduced in Austria in 1869. This new format, which allowed the address and message to be written on the same side, made sending brief correspondences through the mail quick and affordable. The convenience of postcards soon caught on in other parts of Europe and North America.

The early 20th century marked the Golden Age of postcards, with millions of postcards produced and used for communication as well as advertisement. The cards from this era featured diverse printed images showcasing everything from city landmarks to natural wonders. Many cities had their iconic scenes immortalized on postcards during this time.

Postcard popularity started to decline after World War I as telephones became more commonplace. However, another surge occurred during World War II when postcards provided a simple way for soldiers to stay in touch with loved ones back home. Although postcard usage waned in the latter half of the 20th century, a renewed interest in vintage postcards emerged, driving up demand among collectors. Contemporary postcards continue to have niche appeal today, often serving as souvenirs or as a memorable way to send a personalized greeting.

Types of Classic Postcards

There are a few main types of vintage and antique postcards collected today:

  • Unused Postcards: These are postcards that were printed and distributed but never written on or mailed. Unused cards in pristine condition are highly valued by collectors since they are rare. The images remain in perfect condition.
  • Used Postcards: Postcards that have been postmarked and mailed through the postal service. The sender's message and address provide historical context. Conditions vary.
  • Photo Postcards: Feature actual photographs printed on cardstock. Offer photographic scenes and portraits. Real photo postcards surged in popularity in the early 1900s.
  • Souvenir Postcards: Designed specifically as keepsakes or to commemorate locations, events, businesses, etc. Often included landmarks, tourist attractions, or scenic views. The classic "Greetings from.." style postcard is one of the most famous souvenir postcard formats.

Classical Postcard Artists & Publishers

Exploring the captivating world of classical postcard artists and publishers unveils a rich tapestry of artistic expression and historical documentation. From scenic landscapes to intricate illustrations, these postcards offer a glimpse into the cultural heritage and artistic trends of their respective eras.

Wassily Kandinsky:

Wassily was an influential Russian painter and art theorist who is credited with pioneering the movement towards complete abstraction in modern art. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky developed an early interest in art and studied law and economics. At age 30, he decided to pursue painting full-time after being inspired by Monet's Haystacks series. He moved to Munich to study art and was influenced by the Expressionist movement, which used vivid colors to capture emotion. His analytical approach emphasized art's spiritual elements over material reality. As one of the most influential painters of the 20th century, Kandinsky's bold artistic philosophy and stylistic innovations inspired generations of abstract artists. Please check this amazing postcard by Wassily available at Amazon.



Da Vinci:

Leonardo da Vinci, often simply referred to as "da Vinci," was one of the most renowned polymaths of the Renaissance period. He was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy, and died on May 2, 1519, in Amboise, France. Da Vinci is celebrated for his achievements as a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, scientist, inventor, and writer, making him a true Renaissance man. As a painter, da Vinci is perhaps best known for works such as the "Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper." His paintings are revered for their masterful technique, attention to detail, and innovative use of light and shadow. The "Mona Lisa," in particular, is considered one of the most famous and iconic paintings in the world. Please check this amazing Postcard featuring details about famous paintings is available at Amazon.



Anaconda Verlag:

Verlag is a German publishing company that specializes in various genres of literature, including classic literature, contemporary fiction, non-fiction, and children's books. The company was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Köln (Cologne), Germany. One of Anaconda Verlag's notable features is its focus on making classic literature accessible to a wide audience. They publish high-quality editions of classic works from renowned authors such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and many others. In addition to classic literature, Anaconda Verlag also publishes contemporary fiction by both German and international authors. Please check this amazing postcard by Anaconda Verlag available at Amazon.


Postcard Condition and Grading

When collecting classic postcards, condition dramatically impacts value. Postcards are graded on a scale from 1 to 10. Here are the common condition ratings:

  • Mint or Near Mint (9-10): No visible wear or marks at all. Unused with perfectly sharp corners. Extremely rare grade.
  • Excellent (8):Almost perfect condition with only slightest flaw visible upon closest inspection. Corners sharp.
  • Very Good (5-7):Some minor wear but overall clean appearance with clearly defined image. Corners may have slight wear but no creasing or dog-ears.
  • Good (3-4):More noticeable flaws such as corner damage, creases, light staining but image still intact. 
  • Fair (1-2):Heavy damage such as tears, missing pieces, heavy staining/fading of image. Acceptable place holder card but low value.

Tips for Collecting and Caring for Classic Postcards

For newcomers to vintage postcard collecting, here are some handy tips:

  • Carefully inspect the condition and look for flaws not readily visible. Higher grades mean higher value.
  • Consider having expensive or rare cards professionally graded and certified.
  • Organize cards systematically in albums or protective sleeves.
  • Avoid touching surfaces of cards as skin oils can cause deterioration over time. Hold cards by edges.
  • Store postcard collections in cool, dry, dark spaces away from humidity, heat, or direct sunlight.
  • Research approximate values online but have rare cards appraised by experts. Values vary based on condition factors.
  • Take care not to over-handle or bend cards. Handle with care during viewing.
  • Distinguish reprints from authentic vintage. Reprints usually feature newer photo processes and lack postmarks.
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Classical Postcards by Famous Artists and Publishers Classical Postcards by Famous Artists and Publishers

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