Personal Affects, Dec. 30

Published 4:04 am Saturday, December 30, 2017

Question: Dear Mr. Sampson, it’s nice to write to you. I am 9 years old and with the help of my parents and my grandparents I collect antique post card from Christmas and New Years. I got 75 of them. One is from 1890! I want to use some of them in my art projects but it makes me sad to use old cards. Is this OK? And is this a good thing to collect? What kind of other designs for these holidays are there? Thank your for answering this.

Answer: Ahhhh, how I love young collectors. Well, do you like your antique Christmas and New Year postcards? If you do like them and they make you smile, then yes, they are great things to collect.

You asked me what kind of designs are there for Christmas and New Year. What do you want? Because just about anything you can think of, Christmas and New Year themed, can be on these cards. I mean you can find snow scenes, angels, Father Time and New Years babies, holly leaves and of course Santas and the nativity scenes. There will be literally hundreds of themes and subjects that you can choose from.

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More good news for you. About 90 percent of these cards, because, at one time they were so widely used and printed, that they cost under $5, many for $1. So, at that price point you can collect more for you collection. 

Now, some cards can be very expensive. Look for black Santas or angels, Santas wearing colors other than red, hand-colored postcards, real photo postcards of home interiors or parties and hold-to-light postcards. Cards published by Raphael Tuck or designed by Ellen Clapsaddle are collector favorites too. 

Now I’ve mentioned several terms here that you might not understand and I can’t take the time to explain them here. I urge you to look online, with your parents’ help, at a site called It’s one of my favorites to seek out unusual cards and it’s HUGE.

In regards to using your cards in crafts projects. I would not. Being that for only a small amount, you can have dozens of post cards copied on high quality color copiers. Most public libraries have excellent abilities to reproduce antique postcards. Big chain copy or office stores can provide you with super high quality or enlarged color copies. These you can cut, glue or decorate with, to your heart’s content. 

Also invest in archival post card sleeves and albums. Stores like Hobby Lobby can help with this. Thanks for a great question and keep collecting.