The Joy of Collecting Postcards


I can’t remember exactly when my love affair with postcards began. The joy of collecting them advanced to a passion after my family moved from South Africa, our home country, to Taiwan in 1989. I loved sending picture cards home to friends and family, giving them a glimpse of where I had been. Many times I liked holding on to them as a keepsake of what I’d experienced.

Back then the foremost way of staying in touch was by post, snarkily referred to these days as “snail mail”. There is a lot to appreciate about patiently waiting! After hearing of my love for postcards, numerous fine folks would always send them to me. I have kept every single one of them. In this age of email and text messages, I have started to cherish my postcards (and hand-written letters) even more.

These Black and White Photographs Will Make You Smile

The weather in Toronto has turned rather bleak. I am not a fan of winter. Winter makes me feel like I’m living in black and white, which I often associate with being a complete lack of vitality. Instead of letting this greying scene depress me I decided to embrace it and find beauty in the lack of colour. To help get me started and cheer me up, I’ve curated this entertaining selection of black and white postcards that I’ve acquired over the years. I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading them. Thank you to all my friends who took the time to send me these gems. They still make me smile, even after 10-, 20-, 30- years!

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This first postcard I bought at a bookstore in Fort Lauderdale. I was especially into fashion photography in the mid-1990s and have always loved oversized sunglasses.

Photograph of womens faces, each of them wearing over-sized sunglasses with exaggerated expressions. <em data-lazy-src=

I LOVE this next one! In 1976, Dove Bradshaw, a conceptual artist, “claimed” a fire hose in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by posting a label next to it that identified it as her work. Then she had the fire hose photographed and produced postcards of her piece, which she secretly placed in the Museum store. They were a hit and sold quickly! This postcard reproduces the photograph, which is now in the Museum’s collection.

A photograph of a fire hose taken in 1976, a conceptual art piece by Dove Bradshaw.
Fire Extinguisher. Dove Bradshaw, 1978.

Here’s what we all FEEL like after the coming Season’s Eatings.

A photograph of 3 mens' torsos, showing their exposed and extremely large bellies. Photographed by Joseph Gillette.
Beer Bellies, Washington, DC, 1987. Photograph by Joseph Gillette.

This is quite a famous photograph from Life Magazine of 1950s 3D movie goers. Sent to me from Sweden!

Hundreds of movie goers wearing paper 3D glasses in 1952. Photograph by J.R. Eyerman for Life Magazine.
3D Movie Viewers, 1952. Photograph by J.R. Eyerman, Life Magazine.

In my collection, I have several funny cards like this next one. I can always tell which ones are from this particular friend because of their humour.

A photograph of a Nun holding a magazine with very wide eyes. She's looking over at the Playboy magazine the man beside her is reading. The man's expression is one of surprise, suggesting that he too is flabbergasted by what he sees.
Playboy. Uncredited photographer.

This one always cracks me up, just because! I love weird photographs.

A postcard of two photographs, one on top is a side profile of an old person wearing thick glasses and pulling a face, looking kind of witchy. Bottom photograph of the same person, this time facing front and sticking their very long tongue out.
Untitled, 1983. Photograph by Michael Souvignier.

A favourite of mine with the best title: Fleeced By The Flock. I am easily amused.

A postcard of a shepherd sitting at a table outside, in the fields. He appears to be playing a card game with his sheep, with lots of chits on the table. One of his sheep sits opposite him in a chair. They are both surrounded by other sheep looking on. The sheep appear to be curious about what is on the table.
Fleeced By The Flock, 1990. Photograph by J. Babson.

An eye-roller postcard from the same friend mentioned above with the wry sense of humour. Every time I see this I shake my head in disbelief, sigh, then laugh. It’s stupid but still amusing.

This is a completely black postcard with the words "Flordia at Night" on it at the bottom.
No caption required.

I have many more postcards that I would love to share with you, stay tuned! Would you like to exchange postcards with me? Let me know!

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1 Comment

  1. Mom on 30 Nov, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Very cool I remember some of the collection

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