Real Photo Postcard Identification & Dating

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Real Photo Postcard Identification & Dating
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There is some confusion on what Real Photo postcards are and how to identify them. Real Photo postcards are Black and White photographs that are reproduced by actually developing them onto photographic paper the size and weight of postcards, with a postcard back. There are many postcards that reproduce photos by various printing methods that are NOT real photos...the same methods used when reproducing photos in magazines and newspapers.

The best way to tell the difference is to look at the postcard with a magnifying glass. If the photo is printed, you will see that it is made up of a lot of little dots, the same as a photo printed in a newspaper. A real photo postcard is solid, no dots.

Most real photo postcards have identifying marks on the back, usually in the stampbox corner, that identifies the manufacturer of the photographic paper. You can approximate the age of the Real Photo by knowing when the paper manufacturer was in business.

View some Real Photo Postcard's in my store for examples.

Dating Guide

Some common stamp box corners noted here:

AGFA/ANSCO  1930-1940s
ANSCO  1940-1960
 2 Stars at top & bottom
ARGO  1905-1920
ARTURA 1910-1924
AZO  1926-1940s
 Squares in corners
AZO  1904-1918
 4 triangles pointed up
AZO  1918-1930
 Triangles 2 up, 2 down
AZO  1907-1909
 DIAMONDS in corners
AZO  1922-1926
 Empty Corners
CYKO  1904-1920s
DEFENDER 1910-1920
 Diamond above & below
DEFENDER 1920-1940
 Diamond inside
Devolite Peerless
DOPS  1925-1942
EKC  1939-1950
EKKP  1904-1950
EKO  1942-1970
KRUXO  1907-1920s
KRUXO  1910-1920s
 Xs in corners
NOKO  1907-1920s
PMO  1907-1915
SAILBOAT 1905-1908
 Sailboat in circle
SOLIO  1903-1920s
 Diamonds in corners
VELOX  1907-1914
 Diamonds in corners
VELOX  1901-1914
 Squares in corners
VELOX   1909-1914
 Triangles: 4 pointed Up
VITAVA  1925-1934


Other Postcard Types:

Private Mailing Cards (1898-1901)
Beginning May 19 1898, printers were allowed, by act of congress, to print postcards marked 'Private Mailing Card' on the back. The back was used strictly for the address. There was often a blank area left on the front, or picture side, for a message.

Undivided back (1901-1907)

Starting December 4 1901, publishers were allowed to use the word POSTCARD on the back, but still no writing was allowed on the non picture side, except for the address.

Divided Back (1907-1914)

Starting on March 1, 1907 postcards could be printed with a vertical line on the back, with the area to the right of the line for the address, and the area to the left for a message.

White Border (1915-1930)

During this period, cards were printed with a border around the picture, to save ink.  Quality during this era was often not up to the earlier standards.

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