Photos and Postcards This Page Updated March 28, 2000



Select this link to go directly to Craig's latest article on postcards.

My name is Craig A. Morris and I have volunteered my time and postcard knowledge to our Web site. I will keep to the basics in the beginning because our hope is to entice new members world-wide into the pursuit of airline postcard collecting, and to share knowledge so mistakes are limited. First, however, a little something of myself: I am 52 and have always been a collector my entire life. I started with baseball cards in the 50's and 60's. After my service commitment ended in 1969, I collected coins. This lasted until 1987 when I got very tired of the hassle in buying coins due to the indifference in dealer attitudes with regards to grading. So, I decided to find another interest. My father was a pilot for TWA for 36 years and he retired in 1981, so I decided to collect just TWA material. Well the blinders came off rather fast.

Down to business. This first article will be on condition and grading of postcards; along with a couple of suggestions. Postcard valuations, identifying the age of postcards, types of postcards and other postcard information will follow in later articles. As with old coins, stamps, books, etc., the condition of a postcard is an extremely important factor in determining the price for the collector. Damaged, worn, creased, or dirty cards - cards in less than very good condition - are almost uncollectible unless they are to be used as a space filler until a better one is found. There are books for sale that give general perimeters for grading. I have read a few and found the general rule of thumb for grading is as follows: 

  • Mint - A perfect card just as it comes from the printing press. No marks, bends, no creases. No writing or postmarks. A clean and fresh card; also seldom seen.
  • Near Mint - Like Mint but very light aging or very slight discoloration from being in an album for many years. Not as sharp or crisp.
  • Excellent - Like mint in appearance with no bends or creases, or rounded or blunt corners. may be postally used or unused and with writing and postmark only on the address side. A clean, fresh card on the picture side.
  • Very Good - Corners may be just a bit blunt or rounded. Almost undetectable crease or bend that does not detract from overall appearance of the picture side. May have writing or may be postally used on the address side. A very collectible card.
  • Good - Corners may be noticeably blunt or rounded with slightly noticeable bends or creases. Less the VG.
  • Fair - Card is intact. Excess soil stains, creases, writing, or cancellation may affect picture. Could be a scarce card that is difficult to find in any condition.
A couple suggestions - Years ago when I started to collect airline memorabilia (postcards and timetables) I had no idea what I was looking at, particularly dealing with postcards. I thought there had to be clubs of some sort that could help me learn. I didn't know a "chrome" from a "linen" from a "real photo" card. I looked in the Yellow Pages and found a few. I called them up and got the number for the San Jose Postcard Club. I joined the next week and started going to meetings. Boy, you talk about a learning experience - it was great. It has kept me from making serious mistakes in buying postcards - especially purchasing real photo cards. I cannot stress the importance of joining such clubs especially for the newcomer. If you live in an area with postcard or paper shows - go and start to look around and ask questions. You will learn quickly what are the common and uncommon cards.  My own experience is that the regular postcard dealers will help you . It is to their advantage to help - I still buy lots of cards from my first contacts simply because they helped me learn and they have the material. I've come to know some of the biggest postcard/paper dealers in the country and they save cards for me, which makes me feel good. Of course it has taken 7 years to get to this point (I've been collecting for 12). If anyone has questions PLEASE get in contact with me at

This category will cover postcards (both airline and non-airline issued), photographs, 35mm slides, videotapes, and any digital images of aircraft.