The world’s first postcard, called a “Correspondence card,” was issued in the Austro-Hungarian Empire on October 1, 1869. Unlike our present postcards, they didn’t feature any illustrations. In the early 1870s, soldiers of the French and German armies began to add their own photos to the postcards they sent to their relatives.
Antique postcard with Lily flower design in vector © Depositphotos / Pavel Sivak
In this way, the idea to send illustrated postcards was born. It was quickly brought to market by commercial interests, but at this point, the stories about the appearance of illustrated postcards diverge. According to the French version, Leon Benardo from Brittany was the first to issue and sell illustrated postcards, while according to German version, it was A.Schwarz from Oldenburg who published the first illustrated postcard; they were both booksellers by trade. Postcards grew so popular that other countries, such as England, the Netherlands, Spain, Serbia, Chile, Italy, Russia, and others rapidly caught up with this trend. In the early 1900s, during the Russo-Japanese War and World War I, military departments created postcards containing prewritten texts which only required a receiver’s address and the soldier’s signature before mailing.
Today, there is a great variety of postcards which still remain popular despite the age of e-mails and SMS. There are two types of illustrated postcards: artistic and documentary. At present, handmade postcards are some of the most popular; striking not only for their beauty and refinement, but also for their high prices!
We have lots of inspirational postcard designs in our library. Visit our website to check them out!