000 white border postcard

Antique Postcard Eras

Golden Age of Antique Postcards:  1898-1919 is known as the “Golden Age of Postcards”, when picture postcards were most popular

Undivided backs:  1901-1906 – undivided backs on picture antique postcards

000 undivided back

Divided backs:  1907-1915 – divided backs on picture antique postcards (in the U.S.A.; most other countries had divided backs a few years earlier, e.g. Canada from 1903)

000 divided Postcard

White borders:  1915-1930 – white border antique postcards were common

000 white border postcard

Linens:  1930-1950 – linens collectible antique postcards

000 linen postcard

Chromes:  Post 1940 postcards were produced as modern chromes, namely color photographs instead of the photo-chromes generated from black and white photos in earlier postcards – early chromes date from the 1940s to the 1960s.

000 chrome postcard

    • Given that postcards are usually sent within a few years of production, the postmark can be an indicator. Then again, everyone has seen very dusty old postcards that haven’t sold for years in some stores, and there is nothing to stop anyone from posting a very old postcard 50 to 100 years later if they feel like it, so the postmark isn’t always a good indicator!
    • If the postcard presents a city, street or other view that can be matched to photos of a certain time, that can help to date the postcard.