Moody's Collectible Antique Vintage Old Postcard Information
Grades offered are only my opinion and everyone grades somewhat differently. I will highlight problems and you should examine the scan and decide for yourself. That said, you must be satisfied or you may return the card within 14 days for a full refund if you aren't satisfied.
- M = mint with no problems, like new
- NM = near mint with light aging or slight discoloration
- EX = excellent - only very minor wear & no bends or creases
- VG = very good - corner and edge wear, only a light crease or bend
- G = good - noticeable wear with bends & creases
- P = poor - major wear, damage or discoloration
Determining the Age of a Postcard:
PIONEER ERA (1893-1898) Began when picture postcards were placed on sale at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in May 1893. Undivided back, usually a multiple view card, 2 cents postage and commonly called a "Souvenir Card" or "Mail Card".
PRIVATE MAILING CARD (1901-1907) Government gives private printers OK to print and sell postcards but required the term "Private Mailing Card" to be included on the card. Now referred to as PMCs, they also had an undivided back.
UNDIVIDED BACK ERA (1901-1907) The government gave permission on 24 Dec 1901 to use the wording "Post Card" on the back of privately printed cards. Cards still had an undivided back which was to be used for the address only so most used cards of this era had writing on the front.
DIVIDED BACK ERA (1907-1915) This was considered the Golden Age of Postcards. On 1 March 1907 the divided back era began and both the message and address were allowed on the back for the first time in the United States. Most cards had images that filled the entire front with the image.
WHITE BORDER ERA (1915-1930) As World War I began, German publishers were unavailable and US publishers printed most cards and the quality significantly decreased. Most of these have a white border.
LINEN ERA (1930-1945) Publishers began using linen paper with a high rag content that you can see and feel but usually very cheap inks.
PHOTOCHROME ERA (1939-PRESENT) Modern chromes have great chrome colors and a very slick finish that look much like a color photo.
REAL PHOTOS (1900-PRESENT) Real photos are highly sought after now after being ignored for many years. Dating them is difficult and not an exact science. While postmarks can give you a "not newer than" date the best method for determining the approximate age is often the stamp box on the address side. Often, the stamp box will contain the name of the company that produced the photo paper of the postcard. There are times when old negatives were reprinted on newer paper and it is not unusual for a stamp to cover the box or sometimes there is no box.