Below is a short list of terms used by collectors to get you started with locating, dating, and organizing your postcards.
View Cards: These postcards depict an identifiable location with a name that can be found in a geographic atlas or history of an area. They identify mountains, passes, rivers, cities, streets, buildings, bridges, parks, cemeteries or other specific locations.
Topicals: These are postcards organized by a particular item on their face (photo or illustration). Airplanes might be found under the topical category 'transportation' or 'aviation'; horses might be found under 'animals' or 'agriculture'. Major dealers will have numerous alphabetized topics, but not all dealers use the same topical titles. It's a good idea to ask a postcard dealer where to find the topic you are looking for.
Linens: Linen refers to the high rag content of postcards from the 1930's through the 1950's. These were brightly colored cards - some say gaudy - and have a rough feel due to the cotton used to hold the colors. Linen cards became popular after World War II when Americans were driving and resettling throughout the country.
Large Letters: Oversized letters of a state, city, or town splash across the face of these cards. Often the letters contain different distinctive scenes of the locale. Avid collectors look for specific locations during different time frames, or different cities or towns for a particular state. These cards make great introductory cards for a collection of views.
Chromes: These cards have glossy faces and were printed after World War II with the advance of photographic materials such as Kodachrome and Ektachrome. Often called 'modern' cards, they became popular in the late 1950's and were a standard size of 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches.
Continentals: These cards typically have a glossy finish and have a standard size of 4 x 6 inches. This size originated in Europe.
Jumbo: Larger than Continental-size postcards, in width and sometimes height, these cards have no standard size and require full first-class postage for mailing.
The Denver City/County Building, early 1900's
This vintage topical Valentine might
be filed under Valentines or birds
Denver Postcard Club