Prestigious postcard sale sets auction house record

One of the thousands of postcards which helped to make a record sale for 1818 Auctioneers at their two day fine art sale.
One of the thousands of postcards which helped to make a record sale for 1818 Auctioneers at their two day fine art sale.

The sale of 30,000 postcards has set a new record for an auction house on the Lancashire/Cumbria border.

1818 Auctioneers, who have salerooms at Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre, say the collection, which formed part of their two day fine art sale, made £25,000, with one album going for £1,400 – seven times its estimate.

The private, single-owner collection of 20,000 to 30,000 cards from the 19th and early 20th century were sorted into specialist and themed albums. The album which attracted the most interest held approximately 450 cards depicting disasters including shipwrecks, earthquakes, storms, floods, fires and train crashes.

The sale, by a vendor who wished to remain anonymous, attracted UK and worldwide interest. Some viewers spent over half a day ploughing through the collection in advance of the sale.

Specialist valuer for 1818 Auctioneers, Ken Payne, said: “I’ve had the pleasure of valuing many postcard collections in a career spanning 30 years. There is no doubt this was the very best that I’ve seen. I saw hundreds and thousands of postcards that I’ve only ever seen in a guide book – it was a rare privilege to see so many and to see them sell so well. We had 500 online bidders registered and most of the higher value postcard lots sold to them.”

Postcards became popular at the turn of the 20th century once Royal Mail gave publishers permission to sell them. Scarborough was the first British seaside town to appear on one. By the 1900s they were used for a range of communications - the equivalent of today’s social networking.