A lament for the demise of the postcard

I have been travelling for three months and am happily back at home now, but while away I was frequently struck by the scant supply of postcards around the globe. Am I alone in wishing that there was more opportunity to buy quality postcards in countries like America?

I can easily imagine that a foreigner in Britain might be saying the exact opposite, since every High Street still seems to be selling postcards of the late Princess Diana and HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, not to mention acres of cards with other living members of the Royal Family; along with telephone boxes, Routemaster buses and other obsolete symbols of British life.

What I am lamenting is the Art Gallery and Museum postcards which I frequently found, especially in America, were largely a dying breed. Instead one can buy a limited selection of cards with envelopes (both more expensive to buy and to send abroad) or, and this is even more regrettable, booklets of postcards – though obviously some are better than others.

For example, I bought a booklet of cards with photographs of the Art Gallery of Ontario (in Toronto) recently re-designed by Frank Gehry, the booklet was full of the most excellently imaginative photographs (by Craig Boyko) of the building both inside and out, from every conceivable angle and including several remarkable features, which were a pleasure to send out.

But in The Gallery of Modern Art in Denver the selection was very poor, there were hardly any postcards at all, and several booklets of cards that I didn’t want, and one or two that I bought in desperation anyway “Paintings from the Southwest” and “Hudson River School of Painting“, which had a few of the pictures I wanted and many that I didn’t want but perforce had to buy to get the others. I am not saying that these were not well produced, but only that having to buy 25 cards when you only want about 15 of them is a situation that is hard to justify.

Has everyone except me stop writing postcards? That cannot be correct because I get cards from other people all the time.

Start writing cards again before they vanish altogether, everyone! They are lovely to receive and better than a text any day.

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