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Beginning Collectors, Learn the Fair Market Value
We have all been there. Beginning collectors are always swept up in the intrigue of age and design and do not research availability. This is why knowledge is power. Price guides give you that power of knowing what an expert or panel of experts know that you don't. That is, what the card has generally been worth this past year.
Price guides in books are generally higher than those in magazines because the writer knows that in order to keep selling the book the prices have to keep in touch with future time. I remember when the Rare and Expensive postcard book first came out in the 1970’s we all said, "I'd love to sell at those prices!" Now we all say, "I'd love to buy at those prices." Therefore, when consulting a price guide take into consideration the date of issue.
When trying to determine the proper price for the cards you collect, be willing in the beginning to miss a few good buys but also to avoid a few mistakes by taking your time to shop the entire show for what you collect before rushing into a purchase. If the card is generally selling for £65, chances are you will see it in several dealer's stock. If it is very high priced, £3,000 for example, chances are you can wait until you shop around a little because there are not that many people interested in buying £3,000 postcards. If it is 25 pence, chances are it is common and can be found again, or because it is such a small financial commitment maybe it won't matter. However, if you spend £200 on 25 pence postcards, maybe you would have been happier in the long run having fewer cards that are more desirable and higher priced. I tell all beginning collectors to take their time, watch condition and do your homework.
To learn about postcards, buy as many books as you can, read the trade papers and ask questions of dealers and collectors. Every book, even if it is unrelated to what you collect, will teach you about postcards and will often help you in your collecting interest. For years I bought books in foreign languages that others didn't bother with because they couldn't read them. I couldn't read them but I learned what existed, I learned what was important in style and design and I learned with a foreign language dictionary and time that I could get the information I wanted from the book. Most importantly, I learned the world market value of the cards illustrated. You can learn about collecting from seeing other people's collections and by touching postcards at a show. Don't be afraid to ask collectors, "What is a card like this worth?"
When you have seen all you can in your category at a show or have run out of money, take time and educate yourself by looking through a few albums you may not have opened earlier in the day. Look at the postcards, their prices and remember what you liked about them.
This information will help you when you are going through the 25 pence boxes or when you are at a flea market and see a card that you think looks good, but are not sure. This information will tell you: I remember seeing this card for £20 in an album. These cards, if purchased right make great trading cards, or for you to sell at the local club meeting.

The Added Value of a Price Guide
The best thing about price guides is that they usually contain rare and unusual material that may only be see occasionally. When you buy the price guide you are buying a copy of postcards you may never own but can enjoy looking at in the book. And the knowledge you gain can never be taken away from you. Knowledge is power!

“We would highly recommend that any collector should always have a good knowledge of and make reference to catalogues and magazines dedicated to postcard collectors (such as those available from Reflections who produce the Picture Postcard Monthly magazine and annuals) and Picture Postcard Values

Postcard Collecting – A Beginners Guide

An introduction to the world of picture postcards, with advice on buying and selling, attending fairs and auctions, and a guide to card values. ISBN 9781905408 16 0 £3.95

Beginners Guide - 2

How much are my postcards worth?

Collecting Values Values2
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