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Blog > Bad postcards!

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You know how there’s a cycle to taste? Things that were once deemed trendy often illicit a “What was I thinking?!” reaction 20 years later…

It’s a bit like that with postcards too. There are the timeless ones of course, and then there are those which we look at now and think… interesting. The 50s, 60s and 70s seem to have been particularly fruitful in this kind of quirky specimens.

We call them “bad postcards” – but in a way, they’re also great postcards, unexplainably perfect. They’re funny, quirky and representative of something that someone once thought was beautiful – or at least important enough to be featured on a postcard.

Lon started the BAD POSTCARDS Tumblr to showcase the kitschiest postcards from his collection that he felt shouldn’t be kept in hiding. He’s been at it since April 2010, and his compendium of vintage gems is simply stunning. The themes and variations are seemingly endless, and it’s very hard to pick just a few… here are some of my favourites:

Bad postcards mix

Aren’t they fascinating?

I should warn you though… the site is extremely addictive. Once you start looking at strange food or wacky tourist attractions, you probably won’t be able to stop! :D

Long live bad postcards!

PS – The 20 millionth card’s guessing game is still ongoing! Place your bet! :)

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35 comments so far

beeblebear, United Kingdom
I'd love to receive any of those postcards, but if I got painting dog or milk man I think I would have an happiness overload.
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grzanka, Poland
Some time before I requested the ugliest cards Postcrosser could send me - well, I received many of my favorite postcards :)
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rosenbusch, Germany
They are really bad....
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Yaroujidai, Japan
It looks very cool!
I love postcard such a strange design.
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Saouri, Spain
Nice to see "Bad Postcards" at Postcrossing's Blog. I'm following this account at Tumblr since several months ago and it always brings a smile to my face.
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Absynthe, Canada
When I go to postcard shows, these are what I spent the most time looking for! I used to have 'tacky postcards' on my profile but I don't think people believed me as I never got any, so I took it out. Maybe I'll put it back in after this :)
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postmuse, United States of America
I have a postcard of a dirty, smoking copper mine that I'll be posting to my blog in a few weeks. I can't believe there was ever a call for such an ugly postcard, but I'm happy to have it in my collection.

And the potato field postcard featured in this post, http://postmuse.blogspot.com/2012/11/of-potato-and-passion.html is dull, but it turns out to have an interesting story.
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danielc, United Kingdom
I love the one of the woman being put in the pillory. When I visited Colchester Castle some years ago, I was chosen to go in the pillory to demonstrate it. It's VERY uncomfortable! Two children were put in the stocks, how they laughed!
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Roadrunner73, Germany
The one with the cat looks quite funny.
But in general, is there really something like "bad" postcards? I don´t think so because everyone has a special taste, and maybe a card which I think is "bad" may be exactly that card that makes somebody else very happy.
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Blogger, United States of America
I have followed them for quite a while now - some of the ones they put up I like!
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ned44440, Ireland
One man's meat is another man's poison as we say here.
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D2M2, United States of America
Some of the captions are totally priceless. Made me roar.
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mattyboy3y, Italy
I adore those kind of cards!!!!!
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Eismond, Germany
I love the beef postcard. *lol*
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menu_velho, Finland
Wow! I love kitsch and ugly postcards!
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greatgma, United States of America
These are so bad they're good! I actually had and mailed the painting dog one from my online store to someone who wanted funny dog/animal postcards. One man's trash is another's treasure as always.
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nugget, United States of America
Awesome cards!! Hard to say just when they cross the line into "so bad they're good". Thanks for sharing!
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lucymonty, United Kingdom
Those are hideous! I would be very disappointed to receive one like that! Fortunately I've only received about 6 'ugly' postcards in all my years of Postcrossing :-)
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Geminiscp, Portugal
I've seen worse... :D And beauty depends on the eyes of each person. ;) Thanks for this funny entry on the blog. :)

Long live POSTCROSSING! :)
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phuleshouse, Canada
Yes and I have a few of similar cards in my stock and be happy to pass them on...it is history of postcards and how they change..some of them are really neat.
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moonlessnite, Canada
Well, you know a lot of them are not BAD, they are scenic...and styles of clothes were different....there are some absurd ones, though...and I hate pictures of animals in wearing clothes...the motel ones make me gag. I actually received a few of these cards in the past few years.
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rmraupp, Brazil
Folk, it's History!!!
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Aipy, Indonesia
I love those postcard, maybe it depend on our taste. :D
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lupideeloop, Spain
I really like this kind of stuff!!! This bad is my better! ;-)
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doug94550, United States of America
An excellent collection. I actually remember seeing a couple of them when I was a kid.
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petrini1, United States of America
Those are wonderfully bad! I have sent several "bad" postcards myself, but only to Postcrossers who have indicated that they like such wackiness. Here's a particularly bad specimen, the World's Largest Vase. http://www.postcrossing.com/postcards/US-1391913
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Sabrin1972, Germany
I think this card is very old and formerly the clothing looked just the way out. I think there are people who find this kind of beautiful cards.
If the cards would appeal to anyone, then it would not give.
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Attie, Germany
I looked at his blog and the cards displayed here. A few cards I send/get are the same! Only more modern!

How many cats in a jug/pot/glass/shoe do you see on postcrossing? People love them.
Or one card in his blog shows a wax figure of an old viking. I like to send a (modern) card with a Ötzi (famous mummy) reconstruaction on it.

So I think many themes didn´t change.
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bandia, United States of America
I love these kinds of cards - they may not be traditionally "vintage" (I think a lot of them are from the 1960s and 1970s) but to me they are. I have a lot in my collection and others in my send pile, so when I see someone interested in any kind of "unusual" postcard I love to send them.
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brandyo, United States of America
I actually kind of like some of these. I think the sandcastle/family one is fun. And I really want to know what's going on with the pie and ruler.
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Linus58, Germany
Haha! That's what I like - strange cards in this time - except the ones with the animals. (-:
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Dame_Rime, Finland
Haha! That was an interesting website, indeed. I don´t add these to my fav list..
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Postcardit4U, Australia
hilarious!
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akalle, Sweden
I have an ugly touritst card lottery in the forum :-)

http://forum.postcrossing.com/viewthread.php?tid=84950
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edwsubi, United States of America
These are fantastic. I love these type of cards. They're not really "bad" but just so odd and, and... so "off-the-beaten-path" as far as taste goes. I would be happy to receive any of the cards shown above, especially the man with the milk cartons and Miss Nebraska Beef!
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