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The sale of 30,000 postcards has set a new record for an auction house on the Lancashire Cumbria border.

1818 Auctioneers who have salerooms at Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre, say the collection, which formed part of their two day fine art sale, made £25,000 with one album going for £1,400 – seven times its estimate.

The private, single-owner collection of 20,000 to 30,000 cards from the 19th and early 20th century were sorted into specialist and themed albums. The album which attracted the most interest held approximately 450 cards depicting disasters including shipwrecks, earthquakes, storms, floods, fires and train crashes.

Other highlights from the sale included:

  • 500 postcards of ships including the Titanic which sold for £700 – with an estimate of £200-300;
  • 300 exhibition postcards, mainly from 1890-1900 and of UK and Europe made £600 – exceeding their £200-300 guide price;
  • 250 artist postcards, largely of ladies from 1900s to 1920s achieved a hammer price of £500 – well above their £100-150 estimate;
  • 600 postcards from around the world, mainly of Germany but also of Canada, Austria, Salonica and Russia sold for £600 – at least triple their £150-200 estimate;
  • 400 postcards including Battleships, Destroyers, Cruisers, Submarines, Dreadnoughts and sailors made £500 – exceeding their £200-300 estimate.
  • The sale, by a vendor who wished to remain anonymous, attracted UK and worldwide interest. Some viewers spent over half a day ploughing through the collection in advance of the sale.

Specialist Valuer for 1818 Auctioneers, Ken Payne said:

“I’ve had the pleasure of valuing many postcard collections in a career spanning 30 years. There is no doubt this was the very best that I’ve seen. I saw hundreds and thousands of postcards that I’ve only ever seen in a guide book – it was a rare privilege to see so many and to see them sell so well. We had 500 online bidders registered and most of the higher value postcard lots sold to them.”

Postcards became popular at the turn of the 20th century once Royal Mail gave publishers permission to sell them. Scarborough was the first British seaside town to appear on one. By the 1900s they were used for a range of communications – the equivalent of today’s social networking. One hundred and fifty years they are still a familiar sight in shops and continue to be a popular way of keeping in touch.

Full further details of our specialist postcard auctions, please visit our postcard auctions department »