I, for one, was chuffed when India Post sent a notice forbidding Paytm from (ab)using the word ‘postcard’ earlier this year. Who’d have expected an old government giant to react to just another startup’s predictable use of ‘vintage-sounding’ vocabulary? But it worked, that’s how Paytm was forced by the IPO Act into rebranding its monetary postcards as Lifafa.
Exactly 143 years ago, on October 9, the Universal Postal Union was established in Switzerland to herald a new era of written communication.
India joined the union two years later, in 1876. Unsurprisingly, it was an Indian delegate who suggested in UPU’s 1969 congress that October 9 be celebrated as World Post Day.
And so we are here to continue our Collectors’ Corner series in the name of the world’s most widely distributed postal system and its most cherished product: the postcard.
It’s hard for anyone to not like it. It is the original collectible, and these are the places to begin the quest:
1. Galleries & Museums
Art galleries and museums are the best places to pick up postcard collections.
Most galleries have an official pack in their shops, like NGMA does, and then there will probably also be one-off collections on sale during specific exhibitions.
2. Cultural Festivals
Postcards aren’t a dated concept unlike, say, typewritten letters. The charm of images offers great creative possibilities, and most cultural festivals use them as publicity platform.
It could be any kind of festival – music, theatre, social awareness, language, art, film – and you can be sure there’s a postcard lurking somewhere.
3. Artists & Photographers
Artists and photographers alike realise the potential of the postcard as a collectible and use it in the best way possible.
Bookshops in tourist destinations usually stock such niche travel postcards, and it’s a great way to support independent artists and collectives.
Platforms like Postcrossing allow you to receive unexpected post from actual people around the world (as opposed to start-ups offering to send automated messages by post).
Basically you sign up, receive an address, send out your post, and an altogether different person’s post will show up in your post-box soon enough.
Make sure you are specific about your preferences in your profile though, or you’ll land up with one of those Lotus Temple equivalents from other countries.
5. The Post Office
Duh. It’s true that your average post office usually doesn’t stock picture postcards, or if it does, they are embarrassingly pixelated.
The trick is to visit a post office in a tourist-friendly location, like say Goa or Varanasi, and you’d be pleasantly surprised by the one-off collections that only show up there.
Also try GPO, the grand daddy of postal addas.
Image Credit: Click here