One of the first things that caught my eye from the vast world of antiques was the simple postcard. Go into any antique store, and if it’s a good one, you’ll easily find stacks and stacks of lovely vintage postcards going back decades.
In our day and age of emails, texts, instant messaging, tweeting, facebooking, blah blah blah, we’ve lost the love for the art of writing. And I mean actually writing, as in, with a pen/pencil and paper. But look at these stacks of postcards, and you’re suddenly brought back to a time where writing Grandma to tell her how pretty the hibiscus plants in Florida are this time of year and how much of a shame it was she couldn’t be there to see them too was not an option – it was standard.
The many postcards I’ve had the honor of sifting through has given me inspiration. Now, wherever I go, I try to find fun postcards to send to my loved ones, in hopes that one day, that person’s grandkid (or some future stranger in an antique store) will be able to look at it in awe and think, “wow, that was sent back in 2012 – I think I’ll hang that up in my hallway!”
Sadly, a lot of postcards somehow wind up in the antique store for one reason or another, but this is fortunate for the rest of us. These postcards may have been some else’s trash, but they can certainly be your treasure. Vintage postcards are not only fun, but they make the best art. With some antique store exploration, a creative eye, and a little patience, you’ll find some absolute gems in those stacks of postcards. Above is one of my favs (taken out of frame for better viewing). Here’s the message on the back of that postcard:
Now, if you read the message, and you interpreted it the same way as I did when I first read it, you’re probably thinking, “yowza, that’s a saucy message there!” Here’s the message typed out, just in case you couldn’t make it out:
“Where are you going? Remember me to M—–? At the Forest Pier Hotel. Come up Sat[urday]. Sid, Pack + Hack.”
Is it hot in here, or is it just me? This card could certainly be up to interpretation. But you gotta admit, it sounds naughty. And yes, this postcard was mailed out from Maine in 1936, and yes, this is a real postcard referencing a real hotel that existed in Maine at the time, Forest Pier Hotel. In fact, you can find antique postcards from this very hotel online.
Get some vintage postcards and make some easy art for your home! Frame postcards and put them in nice mat frames (I personally love the Ikea Ribba frames - cute, yet super reasonable prices) that fits 3″x5″ or 4″x6″ photos, since most postcards would best fit those dimensions, and hang them up around the house to bring some pop to your abode. Voila! Now you have yourself a true piece of vintage art and history.
But of course, that is just one easy example. There’s so much you can do, and there are thousands of post cards out there with a plethora of vintage charm and design, from hundreds of cities and places – you’ll be simply astounded by what you can find.
However, keep in mind that the heartfelt postcard is the dying communication. Keep the postcard dream alive for the next generation – who knows, they may very well want to hear about how you lost your phone in Munich and couldn’t text for days so then you decided to send a postcard to Grandpa with all your free time.
Here was my inspiration for Valentine’s cards this year (thanks to my blog cohort, Zoe, for the good find, and Rifle Paper Co. for creating some fantastic pieces). So go on, send a postcard to the ol’ grandparents instead of confusing them with your LOLs, TTYLs, and WTFs – they’ll love you even more for it.