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Best Way To Sort Mass Amount Of Postcards

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Valued Member

United States
141 Posts
Posted 09/21/2020   10:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add BakerJ to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi all! I have quite a few postcards to go through and sort. What would be the best wat to go about sorting them out? Would you do it by towns/cities or by themes (trains boats and so on)? I have put going through them off for a while now. Any and all input is greatly appreciated. I thank you in advance.
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228 Posts
Posted 09/21/2020   10:44 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Hobsun013 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Hello,

How to sort them is dependent on what you want to do with them. Are you sorting them to sell them. If so, how you plan to sell them will help you decide the best sort options. If you are just trying to organize them for yourself for collecting then your options are unlimited. As you noted some like to do it by state or town or by topic. Some would sort them by date or by Scott catalogue number. How do you plan to display or arrange them may also be important. Does it have any organization at all now. Is there a significant number of one type of cover (ex: topical or date range).

Not knowing the above it is hard to provide any real help.

Hobsun
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Canada
1005 Posts
Posted 09/21/2020   11:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add No1philatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don't forget that there may be cancellations or postmarks of interest, such as slogans, ship mail, rocket, catapult, tincan, underwater,railroad, airmail, military, first flights, first days, etc. that may be of particular intrest to individuals.

High value or specialized postcards are usually sold individually, but many of the remainder postcard lots, made up of low with some mid value are sold at auction will usually have a variety of the different subjects in them to attract interest from several purchasers.
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United Kingdom
5082 Posts
Posted 09/21/2020   11:46 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Are you primarily interested in postcards or stamps? I collect stamps, but I don't really take that into account when messing around with postcards, so stamps, cancellations etc are only of minor interest to me. I sort by theme.
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Posted 09/21/2020   11:50 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hobsun's reply hit the nail on the head. Further advice is just guessing without knowing an intent.
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United States
141 Posts
Posted 09/21/2020   12:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BakerJ to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There is no real organization to them how they sit now. Some used, some not used. They are just mixed. My dad would buy cards and stamps just because he wanted to. When he passed, his collections were left to me. I am trying to go through things to have some sort of order to it all. Putting the cards in the totes is as far as I have got with them. Not sure if I am going to sell them or keep them. Have so much more to go through.
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Posted 09/21/2020   12:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Do card collectors use finger cots or gloves when handling their materials in the same way stamp collections use tongs?

Do some collectors only collect cards that have been posted while others only unused cards?
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United Kingdom
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Posted 09/21/2020   1:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't, but I'm not very fussy, and I don't have valuable cards. Yes, to your second question!
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Spain
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Posted 09/21/2020   3:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Roberto59 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello.
They usually have the publisher's name and reference number.
Regards.
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United States
2497 Posts
Posted 09/22/2020   09:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add littleriverphil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I collect postcards as part of my small postal history collection of two California counties, the two largest redwood lumber producing counties of the state, Humboldt and Mendocino.

The collection is now past 850 pieces and over half are post cards, 480 cards currently, all in post card sleeves.

Almost all my cards are used, if I can't find a "used" view, if the view is important enough, I will include it, but will replace it with a used one asap.
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Posted 09/22/2020   09:56 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Hobsun013 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Bakerj,

Given your not sure what you will do in the long run, my feedback would be - don't treat it like a job or task just go through them and see what you like or don't care for. If your father just bought them in bulk or what fancied at the time, it is not likely they have tremendous value but if you find a thread or theme after looking at them, this will help you decide what actions to take. I am not sure any specific organization will help increase the value if you do decide to sell them as a full group. Some people like to get a bigger group such as this with the hopes of finding a "gem" in the weeds.

Good luck,
Hobsun
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United States
141 Posts
Posted 09/22/2020   2:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BakerJ to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks guys! I appreciate your input. I started going through them, separating them used from unused, seeing if anything jumps out at me. I have found an interesting one already. Who remembers the gameshow, The Price Is Right? I looked up the details and this card, postmarked on Valentine's Day of 1957. That was the first Valentine's Day Showcase in the Game's history. The winner ended up with a nice chunk of change for the times.


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378 Posts
Posted 09/22/2020   2:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mml1942 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
BakerJ:

Until you have looked at the entire "accumulation", it would be impossible to make any form of intelligent decision as to what you might want to do with these. It looks like you might have several thousand cards; a group that might make a nice start to an interesting collection.

Personally, if I were to stumble upon - and acquire - a batch of post cards like you are showing when I was at an estate sale, my first inclination would be to go through them one at a time, and make some very basic sorts as I looked for anything that stood out or attracted my interest. What I will describe in the paragraphs below is one way, but certainly not the only way, to approach the initial reviewing process.

Your group appears to all be primarily picture post cards, and not government post cards. As I looked through them, I would set aside any government postal cards into their own stack.

The next level sort for the picture postcards would be based on the picture side, and would be to separate all United States subject cards from foreign subject cards.

At the same time, I might separate the US cards between those with images of scenes: landscapes, towns, buildings, etc. into one stack, and those related to holidays, humor, other text, etc., into another.

If you encounter Real Picture postcards (RPPC), you might consider putting those into a separate stack, as these are often the more desirable type of postcard.

If I determined that there were an larger number of cards from some particular region or state (your father's home state for example), you might set those aside into a separate stack.

During any of the previous steps, if some aspect of a postcard struck me as unusual, I would put it in a separate stack for "unique" items.

Once you have gone through all of the postcards with some initial level of sorting and separation, you should have a pretty good idea of the type of cards, and maybe develop a feel as to whether you have something you want to learn more about.

If this initial pass through the cards, and the sorting along the lines outlined, doesn't generate any excitement for you, then you probably should consider finding a buyer, or another family member who might want to do something with these.

Good luck with these. Please let us know what you end up doing with them.

Mike
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United States
141 Posts
Posted 09/24/2020   06:32 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BakerJ to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks you!
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United States
26 Posts
Posted 09/27/2020   12:27 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Joe2007 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello,

I am a postcard collector among various other collections. I sort my postcards mainly via town/city/state although I do have some sorted by topic such as railroads, downtown storefronts, advertising, automobile, and so on. I have several thousand cards so organizing them in any particular way isn't always perfect or make it easy to locate any one particular postcard. I also keep all of the Christmas cards together as well as my Easter and Halloween cards. I also have all of the higher end cards separated into binders and such for safe keeping while the lesser low value cards are in boxes and totes. I just purchased a old library card catalog to store some of my better cards.
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United States
48 Posts
Posted 09/27/2020   10:26 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add knick1959 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting. I ignored this thread for awhile, but then the computer programmer in me decided to look at the problem.

I was a cover collector for many, many years and I suppose I still am. I have tons of left-overs, although they don't get my time or attention at all any more. They are on the possible chopping block. But my covers were typically easy to organize ... a space launch sorted by country and/or event ... X-15 covers were already categorized only needing sorting by date. On all my interests, the categories produced easy enough subsets to manage in boxes or albums.

Postcards where multiple pieces of information might be important ... to know and to sort on ... makes this more complex.

There certainly must be existing software that lets you image an item (postcard) and then record multiple keywords for each image (or set of images)? Sure, it requires taking images of each item and you wouldn't have the items physically sorted; well, you would sort them by an assigned number where even the current order in the bin would be the key. New postcards go to the end of the series. But software could easily show you by date, topic, postcard MFG/ID and any special notes or keywords. Is there such a program already?
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