Curious About Used Postcards

I have seen people wanting to trade or acquire used postcards. I’m curious why. What do you do with used postcards that were written to other people? I’m genuinely curious.


Some collect them, but I think it’s weird to trade very recent cards and even rude, if there’s private things in the message.

For example, someone had received a card written by me (in a lot of used cards) and she had recognised it’s from me (from the id I think) and wrote to me, that now she thinks she knows what I do for work (which I don’t share here). Really uncomfortable. Very odd.

Actually, there’s the privacy issue, that if you spread something that is likely to do harm or reveal too much personal info, it’s not legal. Even though it’s “your” card.

Having had a stalker, I am normally very careful, but it is surprisingly clever and meddlesome ways they use to get the tiniest piece of information, but more surprised I am about the fact how easily some spread others information. (Not only here, but in general.)

I think if the card is old/vintage, it tells part of the history and can be interesting that way too.


Well, I personally don’t collect them from other people, but I would imagine many stamp collectors would, since many stamp collectors also collects covers, which are for example franked envelopes or postcards that were sent through the mail, to add to their collection. Some people only collect the older stuff, but people like more recent philatelic covers too, so they could be interested in these.
I myself like collecting envelopes with nice frankings, and I suppose the postcards that were sent to me are sort of a way of collecting covers too, though I don’t really do this hobby for that. I mainly do it because I like the connection with people and like postcards ^-^
Anyways, the only reason I would personally maybe want some recent used postcards written not to me, would be to take off the stamps to be honest.

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I have many thousands of postcards that were sent to other people,I also acquire collections from Postcrossing members who leave the hobby. One collection I acquired 3 years ago (3000+ cards), the member was only missing 6 countries.

I like the stamps people randomly use; also the cancellations. Most of the messages are bland, but sometimes you come across comical or intriguing ones.

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I don’t collect used postcards on purpose. I usually get them by accident when I’ve acquired what seems to be a batch of blank vintage cards, but there’s a written and stamped one hidden in the stack. The stamp and/or message might be interesting and that’s why I keep them anyway, but I suppose they’re safe enough with me since I don’t have any inclination to try to track down the people on those cards.


I also have a lot of postcards in my collection that were sent to other people. A couple of years ago I bought a collection with about 10.000 postcards (most of them written and stamped) at Ebay. For me it isn’t important if a postcard is mint or written (to me or to anyone else), I collect the cards because of their pictures in front. And for me it’s no problem if anybody gives a postcard he received from me, to anyone else. I don’t write any secrets on the postcards, so everybody is allowed to read them.


For me it isn’t important if a postcard is mint or written (to me or to anyone else), I collect the cards because of their pictures in front. >

Thank you Sabine for an excellent post. Really, over the years people have pushed back at me for saying the same thing. In postcard collecting, the Picture is what is collected. The 4 used cards I received from you were gorgeous.


For me it is all about the message side of the card.

I collect old writing of any kind - journals, letters, and even postcards - because they provide a tiny glimpse into the lives of ordinary people who didn’t make the history books.

I’m less interested in recent used postcards, although if the message is long or interesting and they are otherwise headed for the recycle bin, I sometimes save them for future generations of history buffs to enjoy. Everything will be old someday :wink:


I will buy vintage cards with boring messages in pencil. Then I erase the message, remove the old stamp if there is one, and resend to someone who will appreciate it.

I collect cards with a Native Am theme and have around 4000. Sometimes I fill gaps in my collection buying older ones from Ebay or an antique store. I discuss them in my research & journal articles

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I don’t usually buy used cards on purpose. When I do it’s for at least one of four reasons.

  1. I like the photo
  2. I like the stamp
  3. The cancellation (Crisp/rare/important to me personally)
  4. The message being a part of history

I mainly get used cards from boxes of cards I buy off eBay. The unused ones I will either keep for my collection or send off one way or another.

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They find me! I inherited a large collection of vintage cards to from my grandparents and great grandparents. Friends and family know I love history and collect postcards and have gifted me ones they don’t want and don’t know what to do with when a loved one passes away. I particularly like cards from the 1940s and earlier.

I tell people they are like an old version of instagram - a snapshot of normal people and their lives. Many I have from the late 1800s and early 1900s are from businesses - either advertising or receipts and delivery notices. I just find them to be fascinating Windows into history.

I would not be comfortable getting used cards from the last 20-30 years as the senders and receivers could well be alive and it feels intrusive. Unless they were somehow connected to family or friends.