A Guidebook of Collectible Postcards

I just got A Guide Book of Collectible Postcards by Q. David Bowers and Mary L. Martin and I can’t put it down. But if I did, I could use it as a paperweight during a hurricane. This book is big — 422 pages, 8″ x 11″ and nearly three pounds — and replete with 1500+ illustrations and photographs. And the writing and research is heavy and top notch, too.

After a foreword by eminent collector Leonard Lauder, the book launches quickly into early postcard history and includes pictures of postcards that illustrate the writing. Plus, each of the postcard images contain suggested prices for VF to Mint grade cards.

The authors make a compelling point to anyone who wants to be serious about postcard collecting. It’s all about building a knowledge base.

Reading this book is equivalent to spending a few days immersed in a postcard convention or show. Hundreds of cards are illustrated, described in detail, and have estimated values.

–Q. David Bowers and Mary L. Martin, The Guidebook of Collectible Postcards (2020)

The chapters in the book include:

  1. Postcards of the Golden Age (1890s to 1910s)
  2. Postcards of the Later Years (1920s to early 1930s)
  3. Postcard Values: Grading and Other Aspects
  4. Building a Collection of Postcards
  5. A Closer View of Postcard Production
  6. Events and Transitions on Postcards
  7. Real Photo Postcards (RPPCs)
  8. Political, Social, Racial, and Religious Postcards
  9. Holiday, Greeting, and Novelty Postcards
  10. Popular Sets of Postcards
  11. Signed Artist Postcards
  12. Advertising and Calendar Postcards
  13. Restaurants, Ice Cream Parlors, Saloons, Gambling, Pastimes, Etc.
  14. Stores, Offices, and Banks
  15. Trades, Occupations, and Professions
  16. Transportation
  17. Stages, Performers, Musicians, Circus, and Related
  18. Movies and Players
  19. Amusement Parks
  20. Sports and Recreation
  21. World’s Fairs and Related
  22. Scenic and View Postcards
  23. Linen and Other Postcards, 1930s to 1950s
  24. Chrome Postcards, Late 1930s to Date

There is also a list of postcard printers and distributors along with another list of U.S. postcard clubs.

This book is one I’ve been carrying around and reading since it arrived. Every day is a learning adventure with postcards. The Guide Book of Collectible Postcards can be purchased for $39.95 by clicking here. (If you ask nice, I bet you could get a signed copy.)

The Guide Book of Collectible Postcards by Q. David Bowers and Mary L. Martin

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