Postcard

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A postcard or post card is a rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard intended for writing and mailing without an envelope. In some places, it is possible to send them for a lower fee than for a letter. Stamp collectors distinguish between postcards (which require a stamp) and postal cards (which have the postage pre-printed on them). While a postcard is usually printed by a private company, individual or organization, a postal card is issued by the relevant postal authority. The United States Postal Service defines a postcard as: rectangular, at least 3+12 inches (88.9 mm) high × 5 inches (127 mm) long × 0.007 inches (0.178 mm) thick and no more than 4+14 inches (108 mm) high × 6 inches (152.4 mm) long × 0.016 inches (0.406 mm) thick.[1] However, some postcards have deviated from this (for example, shaped postcards).

The study and collecting of postcards is termed deltiology.

Contents

Early history of postcards

Cards with messages had been sporadically created and posted by individuals since the creation of postal services. The earliest known picture postcard was a hand-painted design on card, posted in London to the writer Theodore Hook in 1840 bearing a penny black stamp. He probably created and posted the card to himself as a practical joke on the postal service, since the image is a caricature of workers in the post office.[2][3]

The first commercially produced card was created in 1861 by John P. Charlton of Philadelphia, who patented a postal card, selling the rights to H. L. Lipman, whose postcards, complete with a decorated border, were labeled "Lipman's postal card." These cards had no images. In Britain postcards without images were issued by Post Office, and were printed with a stamp as part of the design, which was included in the price of purchase.

The first known printed picture postcard, with an image on one side, was created in France in 1870 at Camp Conlie by Léon Besnardeau (1829–1914). Conlie was a training camp for soldiers in the Franco-Prussian war. They had a lithographed design printed on them containing emblematic images of piles of armaments on either side of a scroll topped by the arms of the Duchy of Brittany and the inscription "War of 1870. Conlie camp. Souvenir of the National Defence. Brittany Army".[4] While these are certainly the first known picture postcards, there was no space for stamps and no evidence that they were ever posted without envelopes.[5]

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