The postcard barometer
Published on 15 February 2023
We are very pleased that Herbert Fischer has accepted to give you a regular update on the evolution of the postcard collection market on our blog. The articles are produced with the kind support of the Daniel Stade auction house.
When you read these lines, the holidays will have been over for quite some time. The new year will be well under way and most people will be back to their daily routine.
Did you give postcards as gifts?
In the previous edition of the Postcard Barometer, I suggested giving postcards at Christmas or for other occasions. Aren’t we all sometimes a little lost when it comes to choosing gifts? A special postcard, chosen based on the person, can be a nice alternative which the recipient will certainly not be expecting. There are many possibilities to ensure that the postcard you choose is really special: for example, a postcard featuring their place of birth would make a very personal birthday card.
I know that I’m repeating myself somewhat here, but I would like to come back to this idea: you may have already put it into practice. If that’s the case, our readers will certainly be interested in knowing how your gift was received. Let me know: I’ll be happy to talk about your experience in a future edition of the Postcard Barometer. Send me an email (email@example.com) and tell me your story! I’ll be very happy to hear it.
Stade auction on Delcampe
You can also find lots of ideas in the current Daniel Stade auction house catalogue: the 61st auction will take place on 11 February! Over 17,000 lots are available in the 1400 pages of the catalogue.
As you know, you can already bid on all of the lots of this sale via Delcampe and take part in the sale simply and practically.
In this respect, the Jubilee sale last October was, obviously, very good promotion for the field of historical postcard collecting. A number of different newspapers talked about the auction, putting postcards at the heart of the news. Among others, a complete series of very rare Bauhaus postcards sold for €125,000. Including the commission, the new owner paid over €150,000 for the lot! Sale prices this high for a little bit of paper… this surprised many people and turned the heads of many non-collectors. However, informed collectors understand how important the postcards are to the winning bidder.
The postcard vending machine, the “Actien-Gesellschaft für automatischen Verkauf”, presented in greater detail in the last edition, was also the subject of a relentless battle. This historical item, which was used to sell postcards in Potsdam toward 1900, started out at €1000. After a long bidding battle, the vending machine eventually sold for €7500. A part of “Postcard history” changed owners on that day.
Daniel Stade offered another equally interesting item during the auction. Lot n° 30329 is a trophy, which at first sight, is nothing special. However, it was awarded to an exhibitor at the first postcard exhibition in Nürnberg in 1899! Whoever buys this special item will dive into the history of postcard collecting and acquire a very unusual item. We’re impatient to know what price this item will sell for!
The state of the market
At the end of the year, I had the opportunity to talk with several auctioneers and merchants. The discussions reflected the current state of the market quite well. Everyone agreed that the market for collection items, in particular for postcards, but also for stamp collecting, has not been this exciting for quite some time. Very original, high-quality items always find takers, sometimes at prices that would have been deemed impossible to reach just a few years ago. If you are among the attentive observers of the state of the market, you have likely noticed this yourself. Otherwise, take a look at the list of successful sales of the auction houses to confirm this trend.
Remarkable sales on Delcampe
As usual, here’s a look at some of the exceptional sales on Delcampe: the popularity of postcards featuring restaurants, inns and hotels is reconfirmed on a regular basis. At the start of the year, a card featuring the Luxhof hotel in the French city of Thionville (Diedenhofen) in the department of Moselle, in the Grand Est region, was for sale. The card, which was sent to Ettelbruck (Luxembourg) in 1910, eventually reached the selling price of €341. Four interested bidders were enough to send the bids soaring. The starting price was €8!
A card featuring a café terrace at L’Île-Rousse, a small town on the north coast of Corsica also sold for a high price: it’s a very detailed card with an impressive setting. Eight bidders took part in the sale. The starting price was €45 and the sale price reached €456!
An Austrian postcard also reached a record sale price in this category: it features “Franz Dank’s family café” on the Währinger Gürtel in Vienna, located across from the National Opera, as indicated on the back of the postcard. It was sent in 1931 and eventually sold for €1209.50. Two people were interested and fought it out for the card.
However, postcards don’t necessarily have to feature cafés or restaurants to reach such high prices: a wintry lithograph of the cathedral in Bacau (a city in north-eastern Romania, in Moldavia, sold for €667.50. Once again, there were three bidders, and each one was determined to acquire this pretty card.
Many special or rarer cards in the motif and themes field were also highly sought after. Individual postcards or artist series, such as the Raphael Kirchner cards, again reached record prices. The D-32 series was offered twice and sold for €960 and €1200, respectively. The difference in price was likely due to quality.
Author Herbert Fischer (postcards_stamps)