International Postcard Exchange

Collecting postcards is a great hobby for people in all ages. It's cheap, popular and gives a lot of fun. It can be helpful if you want to learn foreign languages and find pen pals from all over the world. Today is very easy to find pictures of distant places on the Internet, but receiving a real postcard from these locations is much more interesting. A picture from the Internet exists only on your hard drive and a real postcard is something you can touch, somebody has written on it, there are stamps and postal signs.

And for me it makes this hobby so interesting. Now how to start collecting postcards? As I said it is a very popular hobby, some say it's the third largest collectible hobby in the world. Do you know why? Postcards are cheap, cover thousands of subjects and they are almost everywhere.

Step 1: Decide what kind of postcard you want in your collection. It could be landscapes, animals, trains, lighthouses or almost anything else. Maybe places you've been on vacations? Or postcards with foreign postmarks? Some collectors like only vintage and unique postcards.

Step 2: Choose a theme and let your friends and family know about it. Because postcards are inexpensive and very easy to find, you'll find it won't be long before you have an splendid collection. Step 3: Get serious about postcard collecting and join a collector's club or visit your local antique stores and browse online auctions for those unique ones. There are also some interesting websites for postcard collectors with tips, auctions and forums.

Step 4: If you want postcards from distant countries try to find people who live there. The best way is to find pen pals from those countries using international social portals or even some dating sites. Step 5: Take care of your collection: store your postcards in acid-free, archival-quality sleeves made of polyethylene or Mylar. You can buy such things on internet auctions or in antique shops. Avoid PVC and cheap plastic sleeves, which can leave scratches or stick to your postcards. Never store them loose in an ordinary plastic box.

As you can see it is not so hard to start gathering your postcard collection. This hobby (also known as deltiology) is easy, inexpensive and suitable for both young and older people.

Susan writes for the International Postcard Exchange, a photo blog for postcard collectors from all over the world.

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