What exactly is a view card? And what is not?

Just for fun, where exactly is a “view card” to you? I feel like some cards can be ambiguous as to whether they qualify as a “view card” and I’m curious what others think!

View card: landscape, city scape, the sea, building/architecture, culturally significant artifacts or dress

Not a view card: quotes, cartoons, pop culture, paintings and art

Maybe a view card? animals, food, cards from tourist destinations that don’t show a “view”, illustrations of a view or something culturally relevant

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I’m confused about the concept too. I mean, is a city/sea view painting considered a view card? :thinking:

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To me view cards are only those three (although isn’t sea also a type of landscape? :thinking: ). The kind of stuff you would expect to see if some told you a place has a nice view :smile: Architecture only if it isn’t too zoomed in so you can still see most of the building/interior.

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These wouldn’t qualify for a view card for me. And these neither:

View as in - what would you see from a window or standing somewhere and looking around. But it can be a photo or a painting/illustration, it just has to show some sort of area. Animals - can be, when they are a part of the landscape, not the main topic, usually.

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Yes haha. I wasn’t sure if some people consider it different because it’s not technically land. :woman_shrugging:t2:

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That all makes a lot of sense to think of it that way. So then it depends on the exact picture and viewpoint, not so dependent on the media that was used to create the picture (photo vs. painting vs. graphic art).

I always considered cultural imagery as view cards because they give me a “view” of the sender’s life and their country’s culture, but what you’re saying makes sense. A lot of them are also a view like temples or gatherings of people, but things like portraits or close ups of clothing patterns wouldn’t count. I should add portraits and traditional dress to my profile so that I can get more of these cards! :slight_smile:

My standard:

In my opinion, ocean is totally a kind of view or landscape (there is no distinction between them in Chinese). But I’ve learned to distinguish between them when learning English.

I have sent out a card that shows a cartoonish view, it has also a word play “I feel” is pronounced like “Eifel” the region that the card shows.

I send it because the repicient also asked for cartoons, if I remember right, I would have send a photo view otherwise.

Another card from the same artist, this on is not a view card, but a cultural/tradional kind of card.

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Without getting too technical about it, Postcards generally fall into one of two categories:
Viewcards (in Europe they are referred to as “Topographical” Cards). Tourist post cards are certainly in this group. Views of Cities, Natural scenery, Building exteriors, Governor’s Mansions, etc.
Topical Cards: Popular topics include Art/Paintings, Trains, Aircraft, Historical, Map cards, Lighthouses, Covered Bridges, Presidential, etc.

Sometimes, postcards can be both a Viewcard and a Topical card. For example, I have over 200 Lighthouse postcards in my stock, nearly all Chrome Viewcards. I also have a collection/stock of Open-Span Bridge postcards. In this case, since most bridges are located in metropolitan areas, they are primarily Viewcards; but a collector of Bridges would view them as a topic.

Now suppose you have a vintage postcard showing a trolley; you have a viewcard. Put Teddy Roosevelt on the trolley - now you have a presidential card :stuck_out_tongue:


A viewcard for me has always been that type of photo (never illustration) card that is mostly sold to tourists!
They are usually organized like that:

And here are the most basic examples:

So yeah, for me it’s mostly about simple city views, landscapes, culturally significant artifacts or landmarks.


No. That’s an art card.


I assumed a view card was a photo of a place, what someone would see with their own eyes (a town, mountain, lake, African savanna). But not a painting or drawing of this…


:puzzled: :puzzled: :puzzled:
This is a topographical postcard, but certainly not a viewcard:


To me a viewcard is a postcard showing a photograph of something, maybe a cityscape, a landscape, a church, a mask, a person etc.

@RalfH It is actually true, although I am not familiar with every European language. In Swedish topographical cards are view cards while the word topografi also means the science of studying the features and forms of the land, so it is one of those words that have several meanings depending on situation. But I have only ever seen anybody using the term topographical postcard in situations related to collecting cards or historical cases, so I would assume it is not widely used term. Because the term exists in English I would imagine it has been adopted in to several languages through the international collectors.

I have actually never thought what exactly counts as a view card, but after quick thinking I would say any card showing a larger view over land, city or sea counts as a view card for me. I am however little bit hesitant to call illustrations view cards. In my opinion the view has to be a photo.

But one cannot say “in Europe it is referred to as Topographical cards” as if it was a common expression all over Europe. Not everybody is a deltiologist and not every deltiologist in every European country may use or even know that expression.


Yeah, I get that, but I think we can forgive this because it seems to be a common term in British English and UK is still in Europe, and I know for sure it is used in Swedish. So maybe not everywhere in Europe, but in Europe nevertheless. I thought it was a neat little fact anyway.


Might as well toss in my 2¢…

Pictures of a sight that might generally interest tourists, as well as places they might go, are definitely view cards. A promotional card featuring the Anytown YWCA building… not so much.

To a certain extent, it’s a subjective category, but can be used broadly as to what should be included or avoided. “No view cards, please” indicates that a photo of Strombolian King Oswald XX’s study won’t be well received, while one of a painting by a Strombolian artist (not highlighting a museum connection) might be?

That is actually a map card :smiley:


@Kompis-Ninna That was exactly the point. I used to buy tons of postcards on eBay from various UK sellers. When doing a search on eBay for viewcards, they often come up as Topographical postcards. Good comment.

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