I have been collecting vintage greeting cards for three or four years now, browsing antique shops, visiting stamp and postcard shows, and poring through boxes of old cards when the Cartophilic Society fair visits our local town. I love the vintage pictures of a bygone era, and the handwritten sentiments inside or on the back of the cards.
The oldest one I have, that is dated, is a Christmas postcard from 1907. Wonderful to see how the women are dressed!
I have a collection of Easter, birthday, Christmas, and New Year cards sent from a father, stationed in Italy during the Second World War, to his daughter back home in New Zealand. I think it is so lovely that his daughter kept the cards all these years.
Postcards were hugely popular in the early twentieth century, when improved printing technology meant that high-quality colour images could be mass-produced cheaply, and postcards were cheap to send. For a few years, postcards replaced the earlier, elaborate, Victorian-style Christmas cards. Sometimes the postcard would show a portrait of the sender, along with a festive greeting.
By the 1920s, the traditional folding Christmas card and envelope had returned.