This is the final section on Deltiology:Know what to check for when buying postcards. It's easier to check the condition of a postcard in a store than online and yet it's likely that many of your cards will be internet purchases. In this case, be sure to seek as thorough a photo as possible of the card's condition before buying. If you can't see all of the condition or the description is very poor, either don't purchase it or only purchase it if it's exceptionally cheap.
Some of the things to be aware of when purchasing cards include:
Cleanliness of the card: This is not about whether or not it has been written on. It's about the splotches, marks, grime and grease that builds up on old paper items over time. Look for postcards that are clean and free of age or grime marks where possible. It won't always be possible but it's worth aiming high where you can.Edges: Try to find postcards that have even and unbent edges and haven't been torn or dog eared.
Content: It's always preferable if you can actually read what has been written on the postcard if it has writing. That makes it a lot more enjoyable and gives a sense of history behind the postcard.
Markings: Mostly this is about the postmark. The more legible, the better and if it has a date and location that can be read, a lot can be learned about the postcard.
Avoid: Things to avoid include moldy postcards (they will never become un-moldy), really badly battered about unless there is a sentimental or content reason for getting the postcard, foxing (spots and age marks) and grease marks (these detract from the overall look), stains such as blood, grime or water, too many folds or creases, tears, etc. If it looks tattered, the only reason to get it is because it's rare, what is written on it is worth keeping or you've fallen in love with it (but not if it's moldy).
Display and store the postcards. The manner in which you keep the postcards is important for safeguarding their quality over the coming years. For the really old and the valuable postcards, store in archival, acid-free covers available from hobby stores, stamp and postcard retailers and online. These will keep dust, grime and stains off the postcards and the paper will be safe from acidity. Keep the cards stored flat and in a place where they cannot be crushed, bent or warped. Ensure that the environment is dry and cool and not humid and that there is no possibility of insect damage.
If you have children (and/or pets), store the postcards out of reach, at least until the children are old enough to know how to handle them properly. Most of all, try to find a way that makes it easy to see and enjoy your postcard collection as often as you like.
Some ideas include:
Scrapbooks are ideal for creating themed collections and can be the perfect vehicle for protecting, displaying and explaining your postcard collection. Indeed, people have kept postcards in albums since Victorian times, so this will be carrying on a fine old tradition.Another great way to keep a record of your postcard collection is to take digital images and post them into an online collection for all to see. It will help you to keep track of the postcards and many other people can enjoy your collection too!
Keep learning more about collecting postcards. This article has been intended to aid the beginning hobbyist or sentimental collector to get started on honing choices, organizing the collection and learning the basics. More in-depth knowledge should be pursued through talking to other collectors and reading widely in the field of deltiology and about collecting in general.
Taken from an article at http://www.wikihow.com/Collect-Postcards.