“What Are Colorado Postcards Really Worth?”

Some of the 40 "no-frills" Colorado postcards from the 1960s and 1970s auctioned off this week. Can you predict which ones sold for more than an opening bid of 50 cents each? Photo courtesy Estes Park Archives 

Because postcards are not traded on heavily-transacted markets like stocks or valuable coins, postcard collectors have no way to accurately gauge the daily "value" of their postcards.

While it is obvious to even the casual collector that Colorado postcards from the 1920s and 1930s have gone up significantly in cost in the past decade, primarily due to computer auction sites like Ebay, the same is not true for postcards of more recent manufacture.

A 1930s-era Colorado black-and-white photo postcard that sold for $1 20 years ago now routinely sells for $5 to $10, and often more, depending on the subject matter or perceived "rarity". Postcards of specific downtown Estes Park businesses from the 1920s frequently sell for over $100, with active bidding.

Because postcards from the 1960s resemble modern postcards still available on postcard racks, the market for 50-year-old postcards is negligible. When listed, they most often sell for less than their original purchase price of 5 cents to 10 cents, if at all.

So should smart collectors start acquiring cheaper "newer" Colorado postcards now, or is the market for color postcards forever destined to remain stagnant?

The internet is a fantastic way to conduct free scientific experiments, so the Estes Park Archives listed 40 separate Colorado postcards from four different categories on a heavily-trafficked internet auction site last Thursday before the Estes Park News hit the newsstands, with the results finalized before this article appears, so as not to risk any readers influencing the results. Other confounding variables related to listing or descriptions were controlled as well, as will be explained in the presentation "What are middle-age Colorado postcards really worth?" this Saturday, June 13, at 240 Moraine Avenue.

Come in groups of no more than five related people, masks on, this Saturday, prepared in advance with your own guesses as to results, any time between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Everyone is welcome, and if you are a first-timer, call 586-4889 for additional information.

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