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Selling picture postcards

Do you have a collection of picture postcards that you would like to sell? If so, we would be happy to provide you with professional advice.

Ansichtskarten, Heimatsammlungen
Postcards, "Grüße aus dem Neanderthal", around 1910

Personal or inherited picture postcard collection

Collections of historic postcards and picture postcards have lots of potential. Many people who inherit collections do not know that collectors are not only interested in letters and stamps, but have also been known to pay good money for picture postcards. In most cases, however, selling them is only worthwhile if they are in large collections.

Which picture postcards are sought after?

Generally speaking, pre-1940 picture postcards are of greater interest to collectors, a fact that is reflected in the prices they fetch. For our auctions, we are mainly looking for large collections – as a rule, we do not accept individual picture postcards. If you have built up or inherited a large picture postcard collection, we would be happy to have it assessed by our experts free of charge.

Philatelic sending forms may also be of interest to us, e.g. standard postage in the German Empire: a 5-pfennig stamp is far more interesting if sent by registered post or with numerous forwarding notes.

Do picture postcards have to be very old to be valuable?

No, as with all collection material, the value is determined by supply and demand. A hand-painted postcard by artist Gerhard Richter is sure to fetch a solid four-figure sum, even if it is only 4 or 5 years old. The kind of photo card that was common up until the 1950s can often yield a far higher price than a very attractive mass-produced card. For example, a black-and-white card depicting food being distributed to Hereros at a detention camp in 1905 that has been genuinely postally used is likely to secure a higher price than a coloured lithograph from German South West Africa in 1895.

What is the best way for me to sell my picture postcards?

If you wish to wind up your collection or to sell an inherited one, your first priority should be to seek professional advice. It is often possible to determine very quickly whether the collection is valuable or not. It is important to find the right buyers for the collection fields in question. With Felzmann and its international clientele, you will be in the very best of hands. Through strategic advertising and professional presentation, we can put forward your collection in the best possible light.

What are my picture postcards worth?

This depends on the motif, condition, age, rarity and – in the case of collections – the number of postcards contained. For instance, a collection of over 2,000 “Neanderthal” picture postcards is worth more than 2,000 separate cards from this area. This is due to the enormous amount of time involved in putting together such a collection – in each case, the picture postcards in a collection must be examined and valued individually, as no two are the same.

For which collection fields or countries is demand greatest?

At present, there is a very high demand for German territories up to circa 1950 (small formats) and for German colonies and lithographs.

What should I take into account when buying picture postcards?

Quality is of the utmost importance, i.e. cards that have not been postally used should be in pristine condition, without any dog-ears, writing, discolouration, etc. Needless to say, the same standards cannot be expected of cards that have been postally used. Only collectors themselves can decide whether and under what conditions these are worth acquiring. If they absolutely “have” to have a specimen, they may be willing to accept a lower level of quality if the issue is very rare.

“German Deep Sea Expedition” picture postcard, sent from German Cameroon in 1898
Vorläuferkarte von 1880, gelaufen von Hannover nach Barsinghausen
Precursor card from 1880, sent from Hanover to Barsinghausen

Expert advice on picture postcards

Are you interested in selling your picture postcards? We have many years of experience auctioning postcards and picture postcards. Our experts will help you to evaluate your collection. In the case of larger collections, we would also be happy to come to your home to evaluate them. Please contact us to arrange an appointment and we can discuss whether it is worthwhile putting them to auction. 

Simply send some photos to ansichtskarten@felzmann.de, via WhatsApp (more information) or give us call on +49(0)211 550 440. Of course you can also fill in our contact form and we will get in touch with you.

Video: Presentation of a picture postcard collection in our auction (turn on english subtitles!)