Social History Postcards

Hi all. As well as collecting Postcards, I also have a great interest in Social History images. I have collected photographs and slides that were taken from the 1900-1970’s for some time, long before images were digital. I don’t mean professionally taken photographs for promotional reasons, I am talking about random family images from around the world, showing how places used to look, back when, and in the resolution of photography technology as it was back in the day.
Now, since I have a large collection of slides and random photographs, and a love for collecting and sending postcards, I have long thought about combining the two hobbies. I have thought about starting a website selling limited edition postcards which have been professionally printed from the old photographs that I have, calling them Pastcards.
I am seeking the opinions of the postcrossing community before I spend a lot of money setting this up. Do you think that this would be a good idea? Do you think there will be a market for social history postcards? Any views would be gratefully appreciated.


I think I know what kind of images you mean Tony, but it might be helpful to put up 4 or 5 examples for people, just to be clear.

And yes, they might appeal to some given say the resurgence in Polaroid images recently for example. Not sure how popular they’d be overall, but it will be interesting to see what people say on this post.

Thank you. I have some very old images in photograph form, so I shall try and scan some of them and learn how to add to this thread (I’m fairly new to it all). Most of my images are on old fashioned slides (a format I love) but I don’t yet have a slide scanner, hence my appeal for opinions on here before I spend £150 + on a slide scanner. I’ll see what I can do.

I bet you have a projector though right? You could take pics of images on a screen & upload them here - that’s pretty straightforward.

You just hit the edit button( the pencil) at the bottom of your post & then hit framed picture icon in the toolbar at the top of the window to add them to your original post.

I would be interested but it would depend entirely on the quality of the images. If my creaky old slide scanner is any guide we are definitely taking about photoshop or lightroom here to enhance the scans! But I expect modern scanners do all that for you ….

Since you are asking for opinions, I will give you mine. Unless I am mistaken you are talking about reproductions on postcards. I would be very cautious before plunging ahead with this. Here are some observations…

► Are these your own photographs? If they aren’t, there might be copyright restrictions in place
► “Limited Edition” means different things to different people. Unless a governmental organization is involved, their having strict control over the number of items produced, I would be wary of a private concern using that blurb

There is a fairly strong market for vintage postcards of various themes including Social History. However the lion’s share of these postcards were produced before 1940 - the year Chrome started to predominate. White-Border, Linen, etc are the chief postcard types. There is a drop-off in demand after 1950-1960. After 1960…there is just too much available that can be bought cheaply. Essentially, what you wish to offer is available from dealers already.

Don’t mean to be discouraging here, but trying to give you a realistic picture(no pun intended) of what awaits you…

I think if they are interesting images and from parts of the world where different to ourselves/less available there would be a demand at postcard prices .
Purchasing originals individually can add up especially with postage .
You can buy in bulk & take a chance but end up with lots of no use to you.
To go to one site & select social history images from India/Far East/Middle East etc. I would love.

I think the preferred images would be mid century; people are fascinated by 1950s kitchens and living rooms

Hopefully there are some examples of some of the slides and photographs that I have. The slides I scanned with my mobile phone against a light so the quality is poor at the moment. I’ve collected random slides from eBay from just family collections so there is no copyright on them. These images are from Italy and Germany from the 1960s. I have also included one of my portrait photos from 1900. I love that these are snapshots of a life that occurred 60+ years ago, in a time when films were sent away to be developed and the photographer didn’t know if they had a good shot or not until they got them back 2 weeks later. I think these will make good postcards, totally organic unique snaps in time.

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Thank you, I haven’t yet bought a slide scanner, but the one I’m looking at will upscale to 22mp. I’ve now attached a few photos of the slides held towards the light to show the sorts of images.

Thank you, I’ve managed to add some of the images now. :+1:t3::pray:t2:

Thank you. This is why I believe it would cost a lot of outlay at the start, I can get Postcards printed at a very reasonable price, but I feel I would need at least 20 designs to start with to get anyone to look at an online shop and consider buying enough to make the postage worthwhile.
Images I have at the moment are mainly European from the 1960s, but I am always on the lookout for other collections to buy as I love history and other cultures.

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Hi. Thank you. I did not mean reproductions of old postcards. I agree there could by a minefield with copyright there. I collect collections of photographic slides on eBay, just random photos that ordinary people have taken on holidays, but some of which look good enough to show a snapshot of life at that time. I have uploaded some examples. Plus I sometimes buy real photographs from personal collections too. These are all unique and I now own the only copies.

I had not considered kitchens. But you have given me an idea about post war houses. Thank you

Another consideration Tony is the scrap booking world. Look up junk journals on Pinterest. Images of people/ costumes etc are highly sort aftef if not copyrighted. People buy files to print themselves etc. Just a thought.

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