The whirlwind that is ‘social media’ has, in recent years, engulfed us with unseemly haste. It has bestowed upon us a whole new, rather comic, lexicon: terms such as ‘blogging’, ‘crowdsourcing’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Facebook’, ‘Instagram’, ‘meme’ and ‘phishing’.
And did you know that you can now be personally rated by your ‘Klout score’?
Apparently your Klout rating (www.Klout.com) reflects your online social influence, ranging from 1 to 100, based on the size of your social network… as if one really cared.
Perhaps a little cynical reaction on my part, as I consider my equivalent Klout score to be the number of people who would buy me a pint down the pub!
But many people of course really do care, and revel in this new form of instant global communication, with all its commerce-enhancing potential.
We have come a long way in the last 100 years, and by comparison I suppose are streaks ahead of the Edwardian generation. But it could be argued that in many ways the Edwardians actually were the very first to adopt social media.
The advent of the much-loved picture postcard in Britain in the late 19th century coincided with the Royal Mail offering ‘between six and twelve mail deliveries per day in London, permitting correspondents to exchange multiple letters within a single day’ – Wikipedia.
This is a level of postal service which we can only dream of today, but one which allowed communication to be acceptably fast by today’s digital standards, and cheap.
It’s a fascinating social observation, that in a similar way that we bemoan the shortened and casual use of the English language, whilst communicating by text or email, so too did the Victorian and Edwardian equivalent critics with regard to the advent of postcard correspondence compared to traditional letters.
By 1902 the Post Office allowed one side of a postcard to be a whole image, whilst the other side divided in two by message and address. This was exactly what the public wanted and the resulting demand was extraordinary. It is estimated that during the Edwardian era 5,920,933,334 postcards were sent!
If postcards were popular with the Edwardians, then the echo of that passion still can be felt today, with an estimated half a million postcard collectors living in Britain alone, and many millions more throughout the world.
Apart from their collecting appeal, postcards also make a wonderful alternative investment and almost always grow in value much faster than leaving your money in a bank or building society.
Although I first started buying and selling postcards way back in 2006, I can still recall the thrill of receiving my very first vintage postcard sale.
I started off slowly, just to get acclimatised, but very soon, as my confidence grew, found that I was able to scale up my stock of postcards and almost as quickly the sales started to flood in.
It was easy for me to dive right into this business, partly because I had a gap in my working life at that time, but mainly because the business was fun. I loved buying postcards, both offline and online, and marveled at how simple old postcards could command such high prices when snapped up by online collectors worldwide.
It was not unusual then, and it’s still the case today, for postcards to each sell for £5, £10, £30 or more, when they originally cost a fraction of their sale figure. Many times they can be picked up for between 50p to a couple of pounds each.
Because postcards were produced by the million, the trick to finding the valuable ones is to look for the more unusual picture scenes, especially if produced in small numbers. These are sought after for their rarity, compared to the more mass-produced ones, which might depict more popular locations, e.g. London and many popular seaside resorts.
This whole topic, covering ‘deltiology’ – the collection and study of picture postcards – is a subject which deserves more scrutiny. Which are the most profitable types of postcards, where can they be found and where best to be sold?
These exact questions (and many more) are all revealed in my latest business blueprint just published within this website ‘The Profit Box’. If you like the idea of profiting from vintage postcards and would like to learn more, please click on this link.
Until next time, happy hunting.