When my daughter got her first apartment in a neighboring town, I picked up some vintage postcards of buildings and scenes of that town to give her as a gift. If I wanted to buy just one, I would get a postcard of Main Street, or a major street in the town. She likes libraries, so I also found her one of the old library in that town.

Vintage postcards come in basic types: Some are black and white photographs. I dislike ones that have flat bright colors. I most prefer the ones that look like tinted photographs, which tend to be from the early 1900s… these are often lovely and frame-worthy.

Vintage postcards can be found in antique shops and flea markets, and are usually sorted by the state and town, so it is quick to determine if a seller has any of interest. Since postcards were mailed from one location to another, you can, for example, find California postcards in New Hampshire antique shops. You can also buy from ebay (just do a search for the state and town, and see if any postcards come up).

Ebay is also a quick way to determine if a particular town has any good vintage postcards. Postcards were really big in the early 1900s, and often had scenes other than the major buildings and attractions you might expect. Occasionally they were images of regular homes. I live in a town of about 2000, and yet I have found five postcards from my town. One was an early 1900s image from my rural road, depicting my neighbor’s house… then dirt road, women in the yard wearing period dress. It was fun to give my neighbors this postcard.

The typical price is about $1 to $4 per card. The lower priced ones have writing on the back side, or occasionally some writing on the image side. The overall condition also determines the value.