Vintage postcards across the world

Vintage Postcards Around the World

From a Deckchair specialises in vintage postcards from the UK, but obviously postcards are popular around the world. I’ve taken some time to research postcards from different countries, so buckle up and take a journey around the globe. 


Collectable postcards from the US & Canada

Postcards in the US were pioneered in the 1860s by John P Charlton who copyrighted the first postcard in America. These early postcards were only to be written on, on one side with the address on the reverse. There were government-printed and private-printed cards (the former were cheaper).

The year 1907 saw the introduction of divided back postcards in the US, kick-starting the Golden Age of postcards. This continued up until the First World War. Around this time American printers took over from German ones – but to the detriment of postcard quality. The age of white border postcards had begun – thought to save money on ink.

The Linen Period began in the 1930s, continuing through to the end of the Second World War. These cards were of a higher quality than those of the previous decade.

“Greetings from Bakersfield” by Curt Teich; pioneer of Linen Cards.

Photochrom-style postcards appeared in 1939 and soared in popularity, dominating the postcard market right up until today.

The following websites include a good history of the postcard around the world with particular emphasis on the US & Canada:

Australian Vintage Postcards

The first Australian postcard was issued by New South Wales in 1875 with other states following suit over the following seven years. The Post Office monopolised early postcards, printing stamps on them. It wasn’t until 1895 that finally, private companies were able to sell unstamped cards for use with adhesive stamps. Below is one of the first examples.

Official souvenir postcard of the Tasmanian International Exhibition 1894 to 1895, National Library of Australia. Source:

In late 1898, the Post Office introduced greetings postcards in New South Wales. These included a scenic picture along with a seasonal greeting and space for a handwritten message. The front was reserved for the address and stamp alone.

Postcards grew in popularity through the early part of the twentieth century. They evolved to feature an image on one side with message, address and stamp on the back. Most postcards were printed in Germany or Britain as smaller Australian companies struggled to produce the same quality.

World War I prompted a surge in the popularity of postcards, particularly silk ones frequently sent home from the front.

However, after the war postcards never regained the same level of usage and became more of a collectable or souvenir item.

I have the following site to thank for this summary of Australia’s postcard history:

An interesting collection of Australian vintage postcards features in this article:

Some entertaining examples of Australian vintage postcards accompany this book review.

Vintage postcards from France

There are some wonderful vintage french postcards out there, including some from the world wars. Navigating the websites may require dusting off any French language skills you may have though!

Spanish postcard from times gone by

Spain, the home of many a British package holiday, has spun out some memorable postcards over the years. Again some language skills might be handy to navigate these sites!

Some fascinating examples of vintage Spanish postcards illustrate this article about some collectors: