Postcard Types

 Chas. Augustine's Fantasy Flight,
Traverse City, Michigan (Divided Back, circa 1907-15) 

Postcard Types 

The following is an overview of the types of vintage postcards in our collection, along with the abbreviations we use throughout our site: 

PE - Pioneer Era (1893 - 1898) 

This era began at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in May, 1893. All cards of this era have undivided backs, and many will have the words, "Souvenir of…" or "Greetings from…" on the card. Many postcards of this era are multiple view cards.
  • View the front of a pioneer-era postcard.
  • View the back of the same pioneer-era postcard.

PMC - Private Mailing Card Era (1898 - 1901) 

These cards all have "Private Mailing Card" inscribed on them, and are referred to by many collectors as PMC's.
  • View the front of a private mailing postcard.
  • View the back of the same private mailing postcard.

UB - Undivided Back Era (1901 - 1907) 

These cards have an undivided back, and only the address was allowed on the back of the card (which is why so many cards from this era have writing on the front).
  • View the front of an undivided-back postcard.
  • View the back of the same undivided-back postcard.

DB - Divided Back Era (1907 - 1915) 

On March 1, 1907, this era of postcards came into existence. The divided back allowed writing on the back of the card for the first time. Normally, the image of the postcard fills the entire card with no white border.
  • View the front of a divided-back postcard.
  • View the back of the same divided-back postcard.

WB - White Border Era (1915 - 1930) 

These cards ware easily distinguished by the white border around the pictured area.
  • View the front of a white border postcard.
  • View the back of the same white border postcard.

LINEN - Linen Era (1930 - 1945) 

Linen postcards feature linen-like paper that contains a high rag content (look for a woven or criss-cross pattern in the paper). They are very popular with some collectors.
  • View the front of a linen postcard.
  • View the back of the same linen postcard.

CH - Chrome Era (1939 to present) 

"Modern chromes" as they are now called have beautiful chrome colors. Publishers of these postcards include Mike Roberts, Dexter Press, Curt Teich, and Plastichrome, to name a few.
  • View the front of a chrome postcard.
  • View the back of the same chrome postcard.

RP - Real Photo postcards (1900 to present): 

These cards are printed on photo paper, and usually show the process by which it was printed around the stamp box on the back (e.g., AZO, EKC, KODAK, VELOX, KRUXO). For more information, visit our Dating Real Photo Postcards page.
  • View the front of a real photo postcard.
  • View the back of the same real photo postcard.