There are 2 things you should know about the earliest postcards.
- The earliest postcards did not have the familiar center line to divide the address from the message. Divided backs appeared in 1902 in England, 1904 in France, 1905 in Germany, and 1907 in the US.
- All undivided back postcards are not the same. There are three different eras of postcards that have undivided backs. Here’s a brief rundown:
- The earliest postcards were printed by the postal service, and private printers were not allowed to produce postcards. This is referred to as the PIONEER ERA (1893-1898)
- In 1898, the US government first allowed private printers to produce postcards, but required them to reserve the entire back for the address and postage stamp. This is referred to as the PRIVATE MAILING CARD ERA (1898-1901)
- On December 24, 1901, permission was given for use of the wording “Post Card” to be imprinted on the backs of privately printed cards. All cards during this era had undivided backs of privately printed cards. The message, therefore, had to be written on the front (picture side) of the card. For this reason, there is writing on the face of many cards; this is referred to as the UNDIVIDED BACK ERA (1901-1907)