METROPOLITAN POSTCARD CLUB OF NEW YORK CITY Guide to Postals
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Guide to Postal Cards


Postal card

While this website does not normally encourage the use of price guides for postcards, the specific category of government issued postal cards have been well documented and collected by those with Philatelic interests for many years. Postal cards have developed more stable and uniformly recognized prices than ordinary postcards. The values found below, along with the numbering system are based upon Scott’s U.S. Specialized Catalog 2006, which provides a gold standard for collectors. This information is not presented in the same format as found in Scott’s and further information is available from the original source.

At the Austro-German Postal Conference held in Karlsruhe, Baden in 1865, Dr. Heinrich von Stephen suggested that a single sheet of stiff paper could be used as a way of conducting inexpensive written communication. While this idea drew much interest many were concerned about privacy issues, that this open form of communication would lack strong public appeal and nothing came of it. The idea however continued to be lobbied for by economics professor Dr. Emmanuel Herman in Vienna. Eventually the economic benefits of using such a card took sway and the world’s first postal card (Correspondz Karte) was introduced by the Austrian Postal Administation on October 1st, 1869. While the list below shows the date individual Countries adopted the postal card, details will only be provided for the early cards issued in the United States.

1869 - Austria
1870 - North German Confederation, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Baden, Bavaria, Hungary and Great Britain
1871 - Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Canada
1872 - Russia, Chile, France, and Algeria
1873 - France, Serbia, Romania, Spain, Japan, and the United States
1874 - Serbia, Romania, and Italy

Postcard

Debated for years, President Grant finally authorized postals in 1872, and on May 12th, 1873, the United States Government released our first official postcard. The words Postal Card were printed on its back along with a one-cent denomination. Only government issued cards were allowed to use in the words Postal Card by law. The side with postage was designated exclusively for the address, the other side for the message. Until 1910 when the Government Printing Office began printing all materials for the Post Office Department, many postals were contracted out to private printers based on a biding system. This often created uneven results in quality, which sometimes led to litigation. Postals proved to be successful for they were soon selling at the rate of a million per day. Prier to 1893 postals were almost always used by advertisers who lobbied hard for this card, with a rare few used as greeting cards. Although postage rates have increased substantially these cards with pre-printed postage are still in use. Their printed postage, once confined to Presidential portraits, eventually became more varied in design to attract stamp collectors.

Postcard

When the General Postal Union was created in 1874 a common set of regulations was established at their World Congress meeting that replaced the inconsistencies of the individual treaties that governed correspondence between nations up to this time. They agreed to set standards for postcards which all 22 member countries would accept. A standard size of 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches (90 by 140 mm) was established for government issued postals. Postals would also be allowed to cross international borders at the same rate of postage, and each country would accept the value of the issuing nation’s cards.

In 1875 the Post Office Department began selling postals in uncut sheets. This allowed them to be purchased by those who wished to continue printing on them as the could still be fed into a large press. Most of these sheets were purchased for the purpose of advertising. These cards were not always cut apart properly and the pre printed stamp may be found out of proper alignment. These are only curiosities and are of minimal value.


*

Values are for unused cards as sold by the Post Office, without printed or written address or message, and used cards with Post Office cancelation when current. Used cards with postage added to meet higher rates sell for less. Used cards for international rates are for proper usage. Those used domestically sell for less. Values for mint cards appear in the third column and values for used cards in the fourth column. All values are as of 2006.



PC1 Liberty

PC1  1 cent Liberty  May 1873

UX1

Brown

375.00

20.00

Preprinted

57.50

-

First Day Cancel (Boston, New York, Washington)

-

3,500.00


One card is documented canceled May 10 in Owensboro, KY; another May 11 in Providence, RI; and Another May 12 in Springfield, MA.

PC1  1 cent Liberty  July 6, 1873

UX3

Brown, buff

80.00

2.50

Preprinted

20.00

-

a

Without watermark

-

800.00

This card contains a small U S P O D watermark (53x36mm)

The watermarks on UX1, UX3, and UX4 are found in normal position, inverted, reversed, and inverted & reversed. These watermarks are often dim, especially on UX4, but listed values are for clear watermarks.

UX3a is not known unused. Cards offered as such are either unwatermarked proofs, or have a parcial or vague watermark.


PC2 Liberty

PC2  1 cent Liberty  1875

UX4

Black on buff (Sept 28)

2,500.00

350.00

Preprinted

600.00

-

This card contains a small U S P O D watermark (53x36mm), and is inscribed WRITE THE ADDRESS.

PC2  1 cent Liberty  1875

UX5

Black on buff (Sept 30)

75.00

.45

Preprinted

6.50

-

PC2  1 cent Liberty  Oct. 17, 1881

UX7

Black on buff (Sept 30)

65.00

.40

Preprinted

6.00

-

a

23 teeth below ONE CENT

1,250.00

50.00

Preprinted

210.00

-

b

Printed on both sides

800.00

400.00

Inscribed NOTHING BUT THE ADDRESS.


PC3 Liberty

PC3  2 cent Liberty (For International Use)  Dec. 1, 1879

UX6

Blue on Buff

32.50

25.00

Preprinted

11.00

-

a

Dark blue on buff

30.00

25.00

Preprinted

11.00

-

PC3  2 cent Liberty  Jan. 25, 1897

UX13

Blue on cream

190.00

85.00

Preprinted

85.00

Earliest documented use: Apr. 17, 1897

PC3  2 cent Liberty  1898

UX16

Black on buff

14.00

17.00

Preprinted

5.00


PC4 Jefferson

PC4  1 cent Jefferson  Aug. 24, 1885

UX8

Brown on buff

50.00

1.25

Preprinted

9.00

-

c

Dark chocolate on buff

175.00

40.00

Preprinted

75.00

-

d

Double impression

-

e

Double impression, one inverted

-

f

Printed on both sides

-

This card was printed in many shades of brown ink. Earliest documented use: Aug. 29, 1885.


PC5 Jefferson

PC5  1 cent Jefferson (Centered on Card)  Dec. 1, 1886

UX9

Black on buff

22.50

.55

Preprinted

1.50

-

a

Black on dark buff

45.00

5.00

Preprinted

10.00

-

b

Double impression

-

b

Double impression, one inverted

7,000.00

-

PC5  1 cent Liberty  Oct. 17, 1881

UX7

Black on buff (Sept 30)

65.00

.40

Preprinted

6.00

-

a

23 teeth below ONE CENT

1,250.00

50.00


PC6 Grant

PC6  1 cent Grant  Dec. 16, 1891

UX10

Black on Buff

40.00

1.50

Preprinted

6.00

-

a

Double impression, one inverted

3,000.00

b

Double impression

1.250.00

c

Triple impression, one inverted

3,250.00

d

Quintuple impression, three inverted

3,250.00

-

Two types exist of UX10. Earliest documented use: Dec. 23, 1891

PC6  1 cent Grant  Dec. 16, 1891

UX11

Blue on greyish white (Sept 30)

20.00

3.00

Preprinted

6.00

b

Double impression, one inverted

3.000.00

Cards printed in black instead of blue are proofs. Earliest documented use: Dec 21, 1891

PC7 Jefferson

PC7  1 cent Jefferson  Jan. 2, 1894

UX12

Black on buff

40.00

.65

Preprinted

2.10

-

a

Double impression

-

Two types of UX12 exist: flat bed printing and rotary press printing.


PC8 Jeffersen

PC8    Dec. 1, 1897

UX14

Black on buff

35.00

.45

Preprinted

2.50

a

Double impression, one inverted

4.500.00

-

Preprinted

-

b

Printed on both sides

-

Preprinted

-

c

Double impression

-

-

Preprinted

-

d

Black on salmon pink, preprited

1,500.00

-


PC9 John Adams

PC9  1 cent John Adams (Library Card)  1898

UX15

Black on buff (March 31)

42.50

15.00

Preprinted

11.00

-


PC10 McKinley

PC10  1 cent McKinley  1902

UX17

Black on buff

7,000.00

Preprinted

3,250.00

2,750.00

Earliest documented use: May 27, 1902.


PC11 McKinley

PC11  1 cent McKinley  1902

UX18

Black on buff

14.00

.35

Preprinted

1.60

Earliest documented use: July 14, 1902.


PC12 McKinley

PC12  1 cent McKinley  1907

UX19

Black on buff

40.00

.50

Preprinted

2.00

Earliest documented use: June 28, 1907.

PC12  1 cent McKinley (Correspondence space on left)  Jan. 2, 1908

UX20

Black on buff

52.50

4.25

Preprinted

7.50


PC13 McKinley

PC13  1 cent McKinley (Backround shaded)  1910

UX21

Blue on bluish

95.00

13.00

Preprinted

16.00

a

Bronze blue on bluish

200.00

30.00

Preprinted

25.00

b

Double impression

1,200.00

Preprinted

-

c

Triple impression

2,500.00

d

Double impression, one inverted

e

Four arcs aboce and below IS

1,900.00

600.00

Preprinted

900.00

A UX21 card exits wath a Philippines UX11 printed on the back.


PC14  (Same as PC13)  Apr. 13, 1910

UX22

Blue on bluish

17.00

.35

Preprinted

1.50

a

Double impression

600.00

b

Triple impression

3,250.00

2,250.00

c

Triple impression, one inverted

-

d

Quintuple impression

5,5000.00

PC14  (Same as PC13)  Aug. 10, 1911

UX24

Red on cream

a

Double impression

a

Triple impression


PC15 Lincoln

PC15  1 cent Lincoln (Solid backround)  Jan. 21, 1911

UX23

Red on cream

10.00

5.50

Preprinted

3.00

a

Triple impression

-

b

Double impression

7,250.00

PC15  1 cent Lincoln  July 29, 1913

UX26

Green on cream


PC16 Grant

PC16  2 cent Grant  Oct. 27, 1911

UX25

Red on cream

a

Double impression

PC16  2 cent Grant  

UX36

Surcharge of 1 cent over picture

-

4,000.00





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