Postcards became popular at the turn of the 20th century when Royal Mail gave publishers permission to sell them, but the first postal stationery postcards (plain postcards with a printed stamp on them) date from the late 1860s and Britain's first picture postcards were published in 1893.

By the 1900s, they were used for a range of communications – the equivalent of today’s social networking. Examples from the 19th Century and early 20th Century, regardless of subject, have become highly collectable, although there are cards of value to be found from every decade.

Picture postcards were bought in the 1900s little thinking that over a hundred years on they would be so avidly collected. Most collections or accumulations will contain some better cards of worth. Used or unused, British or foreign, views or topics - all are collected. Scarcer stamps and postmarks can add to their value, especially if they originate from the Far East or other small, or remote, countries.

With postcards, it’s not always a case of the older the better. Collections from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s often have scarcer items amongst them and we are seeing interest in 1960s, 70s and 80s postcards. They might look modern, but toys, records, postcards and other items from that era are increasingly collectable.

We offer a diverse selection of postcards through our Collectors' Auctions. Naturally, many of the lots we offer have a strong representation of our immediate catchment area - Cumbria, North Lancashire and Yorkshire, but we also sell postcards from outside of the area, including collectors’ collections and untouched original family albums.

A personal passion of specialist valuer Ken Payne, his reputation for attracting high-quality postcard collections and rarities is well deserved. A single-owner collection of 30,000 postcards from the 19th and early 20th century sold for £25,000 in our postcard auction and set a new record for our auction house. Ken will endeavour to look through any collection to uncover hidden gems.

Given the saleroom’s proximity to the Lake District, the home of Beatrix Potter, it’s no surprise that we often sell postcards and letters written by the famous author of children’s books. A single letter made £1,500 at one of our sales and a collection of related items made £2,200.

An extension of Ken’s postcards expertise is ephemera which includes anything paper related from posters, programmes and newspapers to comics and technical drawings.

Ken is keen to encourage people to bring in their collections of postcards and ephemera for him to value, we offer free no-obligation advice. Should you wish to go ahead and put them up for auction, our online sales platform is sure to reach buyers around the world.

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Meet the expert

Ken Payne

Expert Valuer

Ken is our specialist in coins, stamps, postcards, and small militaria including medals, badges, small arms and uniforms. He’s also our man for alcohol, wines, spirits and all ephemera including football programmes.


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Recent Highlights

Archive/Ephemera. Relating to the later life and works of the writer, filmmaker/presenter, and renowned angler Hugh Falkus, SOLD £120
A large collection of mainly vintage postcards in album and loose, good black and white real photo cards seen, SOLD £380
Three modern postcard albums containing over five hundred vintage postcards, SOLD £75
A vintage postcard album containing approximately two hundred vintage military postcards, SOLD £65
A large collection of vintage postcards in box, including art, oilette, SOLD £75

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