FAQ #2: How much is my card worth?

We open the morning e-mails and from time to time we see versions of this:  “I got this old card of (ABC) from my grandmother and would like to know what it’s worth.”


Wouldn’t we all like to know that?  We bite our tongue and always answer as politely as we can, but, folks, here are the answers we would like to give you.  They are in random order, and each one is as good or bad as any other:


1.  How do I know?  I haven’t seen it.

2.  Whatever someone is willing to pay for it.  (This falls into our ongoing “blue beach umbrella” example.  A card of a blue beach umbrella probably has no value to someone who doesn’t like beaches, or umbrellas, but if that’s the focus of someone’s collection, they will buy it.)

3.  Look it up in a search engine.  Very few postcards are unique, and if you try hard enough you will find that card for sale somewhere.  But don’t abandon your common sense:  used?  mint?  stamp is there or not?  postmark there?  readable?  You get the idea.

4.  Get your card included in an auction.  eBay is good for this.  There are so many.


We are still waiting to run across a Borneo card with stamps and postmark from about 1880 showing someone wearing a pith helmet about to be boiled in a large pot, and the message saying “This was Uncle Albert but we got there too late.”  If you have one of those, ask us how much it’s worth, and we’ll make you an offer.


Until next time …