Category Archives: Real Photo Postcards

Stamp Boxes and Real Photo Postcards

Real Photo Postcard of a Baby Boy
Real Photo Postcard of a Baby Boy

This week I’m looking at how to date real photo postcards, also known as RPPCs. These cards range in value depending on what it is portrayed on them. For example, cards that show old farm implements or blacksmith shops are worth much more than those that simply show people. Cards of people like the one on the right are only of interest to collectors if they include items like toys or interesting fashion items or have other unique qualities.

RPPCs have unique stamp boxes based on their publisher. What is great about these is that they allow collectors to put an approximate date on any card they might find, as long as they can see the stamp box. Ron Playle has an excellent site where individuals can buy and sell postcards and other paper items. One of the resources he has on his site is a guide to help identify the date a real photo postcard was published based on its stamp box. For example, the stamp box on the back of the postcard shown on the left looks like this: AZO Stamp Box on a Real Photo Postcard

By going to the Playle site, I can see that there are 12 different types of AZO stamp boxes. To determine the correct one, I need to look at the triangles on the corners. This one has two facing up and two facing down. That puts this card in the range of 1910 to 1930.

Real Photos are like little moments in history. Some can be quite funny like one I recently had of a heavyset woman. On the back, she had written, “What do you think of my weight loss?” Part of the fun is reading notes like this as we look back in time and realize that times really haven’t changed as much as we would all like to think.