Selling Vintage Foreign Postcards on Ebay from U.S.A


As an ardent collector of topographical view postcards of U.S.A., Texas and artist signed postcards of great artists such as Alphonse Mucha, Oscar Kokoschka and other artist of Weiner Werkstatte, I used to purchase large lots or collection of postcards from different venues in US, such as Estate Sales, Wholesalers, Rummage Sales, Flea Markets, Auctions and from the internet. After removing those postcards which I collected, I would be left with a huge amount of foreign and other topical postcards which kept accumulating to enormous amounts over the years. Since there is a generally held misconception in the U.S.A. among postcard collectors and dealers that Foreign postcards are of little value, I just let these foreign postcards keep accumulating over time. However later on when I seemed to be running low on storage place for the postcards, I decided to try and sell these foreign postcards which had accumulated with me over the years, on Ebay and see how it worked out. Today after having sold several thousand foreign postcards on Ebay, I found out that, selling foreign postcards with a base in U.S.A. works as a major advantage, since a person can acquire large lots of Foreign postcards from different venues in US at very reasonable prices, and be able to resell them individually on Ebay. Today I have three fold more foreign postcards in my Ebay store, compared to US postcards. In fact most of my Ebay auctions also generally comprise mainly of foreign view postcards. 

If you do decide to sell foreign postcards from the US on Ebay, there are certain things you should be aware about before starting. Many of the common tourist views from important tourist destinations in Europe and other countries have little to no value even though they may be over 100 years old, as there is a great abundance of them in the market today. Famous museum, churches, statues and other famous landmarks in Europe and other countries with popular tourist destinations share the same sad story of having no demand. The foreign postcards with views of large cities of European, Scandinavian, Benelux, Canada, Mexico, and of common tourist spots such as Greece, Egypt, Rome, Vienna, Brussels, Netherlands etc should not be sold individually on Ebay, but can be grouped together for sale as lots of six-nine postcards at a price set so as to get around $1.50-$2.0 for each postcard.  So the fact remains that when you purchase large lots of foreign postcards in USA you will end up with 70% of low demand postcards which cannot be sold individually on Ebay, as there is very little interest and demand for them. I have found over the years of acquiring large lots of foreign postcards, that the remaining 30% of the foreign postcards will consist of Real Photo Postcards (RPPC), views of small towns, villages, chromo-lithographs, multi-view, vignette postcards which have a nice demand among collectors of foreign view postcards. You may also end up getting postcards from Asia, which could include China, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Singapore etc which realize very nice prices. I recently sold a RPPC of Hong Kong on Ebay auction for $408. You can tell when you have a rare postcard listed in auction, since you will immediately start getting messages from a lot of people offering you high prices for it, and requesting you to end the auction. Though tempting you should not accept such private offers as it is not allowed by Ebay since it may involve fraud, and secondly you will most often get a much higher price for it in the auction (The highest private offer I got for the Hong Kong postcard which had a starting bid of $99 was for $200 and I ended up getting $408 for it, in the auction). Then there is the wonderful word of “the reverse side of the postcard” which holds a lot of excitement as far as postal history, military history, auxiliary, ancillary markings and stamp varieties which greatly add to the value of the postcard. I have sold many different individual vintage postcards of foreign views from the $50-$100 range, although they generally average about $8-$10.

Among the foreign views, those of topographical views, street scenes, depots, costume, occupation, aerial view, panorama view, multi-view, gruss aus, chromo-lithograph and of course the most popular among them the Real Photo Postcards have the highest demand among collectors of Foreign view postcards. Foreign topical and art postcards are best if kept for sale at Buy it now prices, as they take quite a while before they eventually get sold. What about Continental Size foreign view postcards? The answer is that even they have a pretty reasonable demand if they are RPPC of street scenes, aerial view, and panorama views (1950s-1960s). I have sold several Continental Size RPPC at prices of upto $55, so please do not write off Continental size Foreign view postcards, as they too can fetch good values and have a reasonable demand unlike the popular notion of there being no demand for them. What about the hassles of shipping postcards sold on Ebay, overseas to International destinations? Well the answer is that it is not much of a problem at all. You can mail the postcard by First Class International Air-Mail in a rigid mailer and the cost can be completely covered up by a $2.50 shipping cost. What about items being lost in the mail to foreign destinations? I found that the rate of mail being lost is almost the same rate as that of shipping in the US which is very low at around one being lost in about two hundred mailings. Surprisingly 50% of my sale of foreign postcards is to buyers from the U.S.A. most of who are repeat buyers. The reason is simple, buyers of foreign postcards in the US find it cheaper to buy from a seller in USA since they can save on shipping costs, compared to buying it from overseas. I alway offer free shipping to my US buyers since it allows for higher visibility of your posted item and more importantly you have happy buyers. I always leave a feedback first as soon as I have shipped the postcard to the buyer. It is a good practice to leave a feedback first at it reflects confidence about the seller being a honest person who is sure that he has offered the best service and product. What about being able to read and decipher the different languages on the foreign postcards? Well, the answer is simple, simply use any of the common free online translator programs such as Google Translate or Yahoo Babel Fish etc to enable you to read the printed text on the postcard. I use Google Translate since it automatically detects the foreign language and translates it. I even use Google Translate to read and reply back to messages in foreign languages from overseas buyers. Thus selling Vintage Foreign View postcards on Ebay from U.S.A. can be a very exciting and profitable venture, where you get to learn a lot about different places in other countries around the globe, and familiarize yourself with their costumes and culture through the world of postcards.

I have been collecting postcards for over two decades and am a Power Seller on Ebay where I have my store at To view some Vintage Topographical View / RPPC of Foreign Postcards from Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, U.K., Africa, China, Japan, India, Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Netherlands posted in my Ebay store at and at where there are thousands of vintage postcards from USA and from all over the world for sale at very reasonable buy it now prices. 


More from Erik Hellerström

Sex in a Cessna, Part I

[ad_1] If you have never had sex in a Cessna or other...
Read More