I have vintage Japanese postcards about 50 to 80 years old, how much are
As with most antique items, the value is determined only by how much the seller is willing to sell it for and how much a buyer is willing to pay for it. The value depends not only on the postcard (rarity, condition, etc.) itself, but also on the seller and buyer. Remember the old adage, "One person's trash is a another person's treasure." (And vice versa.)
Also, when you want to sell postcards, you can either sell them to a postcard dealer or to a direct customer. A postcard dealer will buy your postcards only at a fraction of the price he would resell the cards for. So it would be smart to sell directly to someone willing to buy your cards.
If you are really serious in judging the worth of your postcards, you should attend one of the many postcard fairs and shows held in the U.S. and Europe. This is where postcard dealers gather to sell to collectors. Look for dealers who have Japanese vintage postcards and browse through their stock and note the prices. You can get a fairly good idea of current selling prices.
In Japan, postcard dealers gather at stamp shows and antique fairs. If you happen to be in Tokyo during a stamp show, you could browse through the stock of vintage postcards and get a good idea of prices. Generally speaking, landscapes, scenics, temples, shrines, and other non-people postcards have the least value unless they are hand-painted or hand-tinted. Japanese beauties (Nihon bijin) such as geisha with hand-tinting seem to have the highest prices. For a single postcard, a price of 3,000 yen to 5,000 yen can be considered very high. It is rare to see any postcard priced higher than this. On the low end, black-and-white, vintage postcards of unimpressive landscape and scenics may sell for a few hundred yen or less.
So where can I sell my vintage postcards in Japan? Can you list a few
Internet auction sites like Yahoo! Japan Auctions and eBay would be best..
So when and where are those stamp shows and antique fairs where I can
buy vintage postcards in Japan?
Browsing eBay's postcard section would be the best bet. There's a much larger selection than any antique fair or store in Japan.
How much do postcards cost in Japan?
For vintage postcards, normally anywhere from 100 yen to a few thousand yen. Those issued by the Japan Post Office are 50 yen (with stamp) or 70 yen (with 50-yen stamp and picture). Prepaid return postcards for Japan are 100 yen.
Where can I buy modern (new) postcards in Japan?
The post office, large bookstores, art museums, etc.
How much does it cost to send a postcard in Japan?
It costs 50 yen for domestic destinations and 70 yen for overseas destinations. For other postage rates, see Domestic Postal Rates or International Postal Rates.
What types of postcards does the Japan Post Office sell?
There are several types of postcards which the post office sells. Besides the plain postcard which sells for 50 yen (including the printed stamp), there is a variety of postcards with pictures:
You can also see the different types of postcards sold by the Japan Post Office here.
Can I write correspondence on the address side of the postcard?
Yes, you can write your message on the lower or left half of the address side as long as the name and address are clearly legible.
What are those red boxes which I see on Japanese postcards and envelopes?
Those boxes are for the postal code (zip code in the U.S.). Japan postal codes have 7 digits (it used to be 3 or 5 digits before Feb. 2, 1998). So you will see seven red boxes printed on most postcards and envelopes.
I want to make my own postcards. What are the required size and weight?
In Japan, postcards must be 9 cm to 10.7 cm high and 14 cm to 15.4 cm long. It must weigh 2 g to 6 g. (Postcards issued by the Japan Post Office measure 10 cm x 14.7 cm.)
Can I put on stickers, etc., on a postcard and send them?
Yes, you can stick on thin stickers or paper as long as the total weight does not exceed 6 grams.
I bought 40 postcards from the Japan Post Office, but I accidentally dropped
them in a muddy puddle. They are ruined. What should I do?
You can return any postcards that you ruined (by ink spills, bad writing, etc.) to the post office and exchange them for new postcards for a fee that is cheaper than buying new replacement postcards. You can also do this for stamps.
I have an old Japanese postcard which has a stamp on it. How can I check
the age of the stamp?
Get a copy of the Japanese Postage Stamp Catalog (Nihon Kitte Catalog published by JSDA). This wonderful annual booklet has a color image of all the stamps that Japan's postal service has issued since the very beginning. It gives the stamp's issue date, quantity printed, and approximate value. Although it's in Japanese, the issue dates and stamp names are also given in English. The catalog costs only 700 yen.
Are there postcard fairs in Japan?
No, but there are stamp shows and antique fairs where postcards also sold. There are also flea markets held at shrines on weekends.
Are there postcard auctions in Japan?
At Yahoo! Japan Auctions. However, eBay has a much larger selection.
Are there postcard collectors clubs in Japan?
Yes. We will list them soon, but they all speak Japanese only.
Are there postcard collector's magazines or publications in Japan?
No magazines but there are a few books on Japanese postcards. A complete list will be provided in Postcard Books. None are in English.
What's Kokkei Shimbun?
See Andrew Watt's article on this subject.
Here are some helpful key words and phrases and their Japanese equivalents.
postcard - hagaki
picture postcard - e-hagaki
postcards issued by the Japan Post Office - kansei hagaki
postcards made by private parties - shisei hagaki
stamp - kitte
envelope - fuuto
post office - yuubin-kyoku
date (Year, month, day) - nen-gappi
vintage postcards - furui e-hagaki
prepaid return-postcard - ofuku hagaki
picture postcard collecting - e-hagaki shu-shu
hand-colored postcards - te-saishiki e-hagaki
New Year's postcards - nengajo
summer greeting postcards - shochu omimai?
military - gunji
Russo-Japanese War - Nichiro senso
Emperor Meiji - Meiji Tenno
Emperor Taisho - Taisho Tenno
Emperor Hirohito - Showa Tenno
disaster - saigai
earthquake - jishin
flood - kozui
transportation - kotsu
airplanes - hikoki
automobiles - kuruma
trains - densha, SL, kisha
motorcycles - otobai
bicycles - jidensha
rickshaw - jin-rikisha
passenger ships - kyakusen
street scenes - machi-nami
landscape - fukei
people - jinbutsu
Japanese beauties - Nihon bijin
geisha girl - geisha
children - kodomo
kabuki actors - kabuki yakusha
nudes - nuudo
flowers - hana
expositions - hakurankai
advertising - kou-koku
art noveau - aato nuboo
overseas picture postcards (non-Japanese) - gaikoku e-hagaki
How much? (What's the price?) - Ikura deska?
Do you have postcards? - Hagaki arimaska?
Postcard collecting is my hobby. - E-hagaki shu-shu wa shumi des.
Are you interested in postcard collecting? - E-hagaki shu-shu ni kyomi arimaska
At the Post Office
Where's the post office? - Yubin-kyoku wa doko deska?
I want 50-yen stamps.- Goju-en kitte wo kudasai.
How much is the stamp(s)? - Kitte wa ikura desuka?
I want thirty New Year's postcards. - Sanju-mai no nengajo wo kudasai.
At the Postcard Shop
Where are the picture postcards? - E-hagaki wa doko desuka?
Do you have old (vintage) postcards? - Furui e-hagaki arimaska?