During the last decade or so, postcards as a medium for communication have largely been replaced by electronic mediums such as email and social media. However, they remain just as popular as collectors' items, sources of nostalgia and even historical documents.
Because of their retro appeal, they are beginning to increase in value, especially as they age. A woman in Danville, Illinois, began collecting postcards of the Illinois and Indiana region about 10 years ago – about the time email began to take hold as a dominant tool for communication.
For every postcard Joann Shank found, she quickly printed a full-color 8-by-10-inch copy and placed the original in bank vault. Recently, Shank brought some of the cards to the Illiana Genealogical & Historical Society to be shared among the board members.
"They were wonderful," said Carolyn Livingston, the Historical Society's treasurer. "Joann wondered if maybe the board would consider using some of the enlargements for a calendar or a book."
Shank represents a whole contingent of postcards enthusiasts throughout the U.S. As web communication continues to soak up traditional modes of communication, collectors can expect the value of old cards to grow even more.