Postcards with Civil Aircraft Motives
Postcards with civil aircraft motives are for collectors a huge area of interest. Big numbers of different aircraft types, versions and special modifications are offering great possibilities. Postcards are a very good documentary material where we can monitor the changes in civil air transport - for example the modifications of aircraft painting, logos, and new aircraft in service or the inception of a new alliance.
We cannot forget another very important role of postcards – to preserve history for times to come. Thanks to photographs from the past that form the basis for postcards we can compare the first types of aircrafts with modern ones and get a better view of their development. It is great to compare for example the first flight performed by the Wright brothers in 1903 with a DC-2 of the 30´s of last century. You can find which type of airplanes was used by airlines for a certain distance, etc.
Together with aircrafts postcards usually recorded exotic areas, airports, cockpits, aircraft interiors, flight attendants with airlines´ uniforms, etc. Another part of postcards with air transport motives depicts helicopters, balloons, hovercrafts and even spaceships.
Collectors are also interested in the production technology of postcards. Several types exist – postcard as simple photography with a print on the back for postal use or with color prints (in the case of some historic examples), gravure, offset or postcards with a plastic picture.
Another criteria for differentiating postcards are their size, shape or edge. The mostly used format is the European 14,8 cm x 10,5 cm, then the American format 14 cm x 8,9 cm, or 21,5 cm x 10,5 cm. Our collections include oversize postcards for example 24,2 cm x 17,8 cm, like an Overseas National Airways Douglas DC-8 in the color scheme for the Bi-Centennial of US independence 1776 – 1976 or even the format 30,4 cm x 22,5 cm for an Evergreen International Airlines Douglas DC-8 or a Boeing 747 of Pan American World Airways and American Airlines interiors.
Most frequently the shape is rectangular, but circle-shaped postcards exist as well, and rectangular with rounded corners. Edges are most often straight; sometimes they may be indented or perforated.
We have described almost all the important features each collector finds interesting on postcards but there is an additional one – postcards with some “fault” or difference against the standard. We can include there a postcard from an identical product line but with different color shades caused by the mistake of a worker, a postcard with a mirror-like picture, with unreadable text or with the text side glued upside down, etc.
Postcard collecting is one of the wide areas of activity of Aviation Fan Club members; over 65% of them are collecting together postcards, slides, timetables and other items. We are interested in historic and present postcards and postcards issued for special occasions. Usually we want to see clearly the registration on the aircraft body. Collectors are focusing on two main streams – the type of aircraft, and then split by aircraft producers, versions - or by airlines, the history of used fleets, color schemes, etc.
In our opinion the best introduction of postcards with aircraft motives could be to publish ten times more pictures with only short notice. However, in such a way we may lose the main point of collecting – you do it for your own pleasure and sometimes you can show to others only part of it.
We hope that from our article readers get the feeling how broad postcard collecting is.