Whether or not the card has passed through the post does not normally have any bearing on its value, but stamps and postmarks can add interest to a card.Good condition is a must however - creases and bent corners etc. The bulk of surviving old postcards are from the 'Golden Age' period (1902-18) and may only be worth a few pence.Most collectors are searching for more interesting village, town or city scenes, or themes represented on cards.

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This would be an impossible task for any organisation to undertake.

Hardly any records exist of the output of the thousands of postcard publishers over the years and the painstaking task of compiling checklists is the domain of an enthusiastic handfull of individuals and societies.

In fact, 90% of postcards, no matter how old, fall into a price bracket ranging from pence to five pounds.

Cards that sell cheaply include the categories of relatively modern issues, art reproductions, deckle-edged greetings cards, scenic views that have changed little and poorly printed comics.

Picture Postcard Values is now the only UK produced publication.

A fairly realistic price guide giving a good indication of what you should expect to pay for certain categories, though very few individual postcard issues are listed.

One of the main attractions of the Postcard Collecting hobby is that the subject is so vast that you can gain expertise in your favourite category in a short space of time.

Even relative beginners are capable of discovering extremely rare cards in their own chosen specialised field.

Francis Frith's photographic archive was bought by the present owners in 1977, and by the early 1980s a new technological age was beginning that was to make the archive more readily available than ever.