“Having Fun, Wish You Were Here!” — Vintage Postcards Reveal Our Past

Box of Oranges Postcard

By Lucie Winborne

Looking for an affordable pastime that doesn’t require too much space and tells a great story to boot?  How about the increasingly popular hobby of postcard collecting?

In the early part of the twentieth century, these miniature missives were treasured by Americans and Europeans alike, who pasted them in albums that became coffee table conversation pieces.  And while many states today boast colorful cards, “Few states can rival the amazing wealth of Florida material, for depth, breadth, and quality,” notes Sarasota author Liz Coursen.  The Sunshine State’s remarkable transformation from wilderness to vacation hotspot is charted in scenes of horse-drawn buggies, alligator trappers, citrus groves, beachcombers, and art deco hotels.  Cards of photographers like E.G. Barnhill, known for hand-tinting his pictures to give them a unique coloring, are still considered works of art.

But it’s not just pictures, including the infamously cheesy sort, which afford modern collectors entertainment.  Written messages range from the exaggerated (“I am way down in the jungles of Florida”) to the humorous (“What do you think of this hotel?  I tried to get a room here but they wouldn’t have me!”) to the historical (“I just landed a good job picking strawberries.  I will be paid two cents a quart, and that means if I can pick fifty quarts I will earn a dollar a day”).

Ready to start your own collection?  Yard and estate sales are a good place to start, not to mention eBay, flea markets and antique shops, or even vendors of old books.  You’ll want to care for your treasures with postcard sleeves (the rigid variety offers the most protection), keeping them away from humidity or direct sun.

Then gather some friends for an old-time “postcard party” – and enjoy your trip back in time!

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Tarpon Springs Postcard

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Fisherman's Prayer Postcard

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st pete 1940s

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Deer Ranch Postcard 1960s

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san marino miami beach

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Guest blogger Lucie Winborne is a Central Floridian. Check out her blog at Postcards From My Head.

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