I don’t really remember since when I like to collect postcards. What I remember it was in 2012 I guess when I joined with the Postcrossing community. What is it? It is the community which allow anyone to send and receive postcards from all over the world. So at first, you can text someone by introducing yourself. Afterwards, you can get to know each other by exchanging postcard.
Ever since it’s a kind of addiction for me to write a postcard for someone and also happy to receive a postcard from another country. I really love the idea of writing someone that I don’t really know about them, introducing the city or country I am living to other people out there, doing a language exchange with strangers, share some cultures from our country to people out there, and I also I really like the idea by waiting and receiving postcards inside my mailbox~
A little bit flashback, when I was still very young, my late grandfather also really like to write a letter or postcards with his friends overseas. That’s when he started to collect stamps and became philately as his hobby. His stamps collection was quite a lot and he put it very well-ordered in some of stamps album (in which all of the albums is currently became an inheritance for our family and my father still keep all of them). At that time, I was so jealous, so I asked my grandfather that I also want to be a stamps collector. Later that I know, my grandfather gave me a new album of stamps with some stamps already inside as my birthday gift. Since then, I learned a lot from him about the idea of having some things as a collection.
Back again to the topic, so yes, I did exchange some postcards back then, with some acquaintances I met online from Postcrossing. Believe it or not, since then I learned how to write in English a lot by writing postcards or meeting people online. Even my English still not that advance and fluently, but I admitted it really helps me to write!
There was even a girl which turns out becoming my good friend. She is Italian and living not too far from Venice, Italy. I don’t really remember which year I met her online, but a few years later we met each other FOR REAL last 2016 when I visited Venice, Italy. When she knew I will go to Venice, she said she really wants to go and accompany me while I am there. So we finally met and spent a day with her in one of the most beautiful towns in Italy! We were very happy because we could meet and talked to each other for real.
Not only her, actually there are some people I knew online, but finally, we got a chance to met each other for real. Even before we just talk to each other by online, but surprisingly when we meet in person, we did not feel that awkward. It was just like meeting an old friend who haven’t seen each other for a long time.
But then, when and how it did starts? How the culture of sending postcard has started?
We will not talk about it all here, because it will be such a looong discussion. But according to history, it started around 17th – 19th centuries. It has started in 1777 when the French engraver namely Demaison, was published a sheet of greetings cards in Paris which meant to be sent through its local post. But the idea was not well received by French people because it means the postmen will be able to read their messages.
Meanwhile, in the UK there was a postal reform where Sir Rowland Hill has proposals to also included the pre-payment was to be made by issuing printed sheets of adhesive stamps. Thus, they found the Penny Black as the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, made its debut on May 1840. Therefore, they have decorated prepaid letter sheets by William Mulready (an Irish painter living in London) were also put on sale by the post office. It showed Britannia with a lion at her feet, sending mail messengers to all parts of the world. So this was the first postal stationery item issued by the post office that had decorations on the outside. And the following year they were replaced by plain pink envelopes, with a printed 1 penny stamp on the corner.
Shortly, in the 18th century, there was a professor from Vienna, Dr. Emanuel Herrmann wrote an article in the Neue Freie Presse. He was pointing out that the time and effort involved in writing a letter was out of proportion to the size of the message sent. Therefore, he suggested a more practical and cheaper method should be implemented for shorter, more efficient communications. His recommendations impressed the Austrian Post, who put them to practice on October 1st 1869, resulting in the Correspondenz-Karte, a light-brown 8.5x12cm rectangle with space for the address on the front, and room for a short message on the back. The postcard featured an imprinted 2 Kreuzer stamp on the top right corner, costing half the price of a normal letter.
That’s when the postcard was born! So yeah today, we celebrate the World Postcard Day~
Later on, at the end of the decade, the Eiffel Tower made its debut on the Exposition Universelle of 1889 which took place in Paris. French engraver Charles Libonis designed postcards for the occasion featuring the monument, which was the tallest tower in the world at that time.
Afterwards, I was quite occupied with my full-time job, so I don’t really send or some exchange postcards again. But every time I travel to new places, inside Indonesia or overseas, the first thing I have to buy is always postcards about that place! And I start to keep it as collection, so now I have more than hundreds already, it’s very happy every time I saw my postcards collection~ When I had a long-distance relationship with my partner, which became my husband now, we often sent postcards and letters! Even though we also communicated through Whatsapp and Skype! During our wedding party, I finally decided to use some of my postcards collection as a wedding wishes card that all of our guests had to write it for our memento. Moreover, I feel very lucky when I knew that my husband and his whole family really like to send postcards, birthday card and letters too, so I quite often received from his family every time they travel somewhere or even on my birthday.
Until earlier this year, I saw that the trend of sending or exchange postcards is quite happening again even since a few years back and it’s even has changed a little bit. In a good way of course. The art of exchange postcards or with its new term ‘postcard swap’, has become a new way to create cute arts and doing some crafts just in a single postcard. And now, to exchange postcard you can just rely on Instagram and following these hashtags: #postcardswap #penpalswanted #postcardexchange #postcardforswap etc. This new culture has been quite happening in some countries in Europe and the United States of America, I guess also in some Asian countries. Besides, there is also a culture of having penpals oversees. Which we will talk about it later.
In addition, they even also have some artists which have specialized to decor postcard or snail mail with their signature handwriting, stickers and washi tapes designed by the artist, etc, which you can receive monthly if you subscribe or being their patron through the platform namely Patreon. I have some recommendations who create or decorated postcards beautifully (and they also have their own studio also create their own stationery product), such as @marionbcn, @penpaling_paula,@penpalmarie, and many more.
Since I really like to do some crafts (journaling too!) also love to collect postcards and stamps, so I decided to do it again this year. For me, writing and decorating postcards such a very relaxing and makes me happy~ So, I also started to join with Patreon a few months ago, but still a beginner and I still have to learn more in this industry. But if you like to be my Patron by receiving postcards from France which I decorated monthly, you can be my Patron too!