Postcard Trading Tips

Know your postage:
Usually if there is nothing else in the envelope - just 5 postcards - it will be 33 cents - best to check though. 5 Postcards can go either way, 33 cents or 55 cents. The weight and size of the envelope and the thickness of the postcards can change the postage amount to 55 cents and the person you are sending to might have to pay 22 cents postage due. You might want to stick to trading 4 cards - you can be sure of 33 cents and up to 10 cards for 55 cents.

Legible Addresses:
When you send your trades, make sure to put a legible address on the postcard, envelope, etc. Email is great to include also.

Printed preferences sheet:
It is a good idea to send people you trade with a preferences list. It saves time to preprint them and then you can send one whenever you send out a first trade to a new contact.

Protect postcards you send:
It is always disappointing to receive cards that have been damaged by the postal service or by poor packaging so here are some things I've learned from other traders and from experience:

  • Use sturdy envelopes when sending your cards
  • Put up to 12 cards in a postcard sleeve before putting them in the envelope.
  • For large groups of cards, wrap a stack in plain white paper before inserting them in a bubble envelope or mailing box. Be sure cards mailed in a box are packed snugly.
  • Avoid having cards in direct contact with any printed surface, whether it's a handwritten letter, a magazine, newspaper sheet, or a print out from your computer. The ink often rubs off on the cards before it reaches the recipient.
  • Too-tight packaging is hard to open and can make damage in transit more likely.
  • Too-loose packaging in a flimsy envelope also invites damage during transit. The envelopes are more easily torn and bent.
  • Reinforce corners and sometimes sides of envelopes with tape, but leave at least one corner or side un-taped, so the person receiving the cards can get the envelope open without bending or cutting the cards.
  • You can also use a piece of thin cardboard (that's slightly larger than the cards) as extra reinforcement for cards mailed by envelope.
  • Avoid using envelopes that are too small to close easily. Most #10 business-size envelopes don't work well with more than 1 or 2 cards. The flap glue can stick to the cards inside.

No matter how carefully we package our mailings, though, damage will sometimes occur due to poor carrier handling or problems with mail service sorting machines.

Multi-views are great card for anyone who likes them and most collectors do. There are some reasons people don't want them:

  • Small views of a scene are harder to see.
  • They don't scan as well.
  • They can be hard to file, especially if they show so many different kinds of topics a collector likes that he/she can't decide whereto put it.

Do unto others:
When you exchange postcards with someone, please try to send them back the same quality's just a "courteous measure".... The main thing is, to try to please the other trader, sending cards that he/she will like. If the card is in great condition, that trader can send it to someone else if it's a duplicate.

Damaged cards are still appreciatted:
You can send these cards as "freebies" to a trader pal. He/she doesn't have to keep them, but they can make a good filler for a collection until a better quality card comes along. I have a few fillers in my collection, mostly hard-to-find older cards of places that are special to me. I keep them until I get a good replacement card. There Are uses for damaged cards that are unwanted:

  • Make a collage for a place mat or framed picture, cutting away or hiding the damaged areas.
  • A postcard album could be decorated with whole cards that only show damage on the back.
  • Give them to children to play with....they can cut, glue, tape, or play Post Office to their hearts' delight.
  • Send them to people who collect them for crafts in hospitals and children's homes. A damaged card that looks like junk to me might be a treasure for someone else. But that kind of card should not be traded, only offered as a freebie.

Choose your envelopes carefully:
Be careful what you send your cards in when sending standard size cards, please don't use a #10 envelope as they can be easily damaged by postal machines.

Mailing lists:
This is a great place to meet and communicate with other people interested in postcard trading. When you send a message to the list, every member of the list can read it, and then, comment it, answer it or whatever. Check out my links page to find some of these.

My Postcard Collection ~ My Preferences

Postcard Traders Info ~ Useful Postcard Links

History of the Postcard ~ Postcard Storage Ideas

Postcard Sizes and Definitions ~ Round Robins

Tips For Trading ~ Where to find cards

Back to Michelle's Postcard Pages Index

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