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Blog > Linen Postcards

Today we’d like to present you a special kind of postcards… linen postcards! Have you ever heard of them, or received one?

By the name alone, one might imagine that linen postcards were made from… well… linen! However, while the surface pattern of the card resembled linen fabric, the cards were actually made from a very inexpensive paper stock with a high rag content and finished with a pattern that resembles the crosshatched surface of linen. The reverse side of these kinds of cards was smooth like other postcards.

Linen postcard

Linen postcards were extremely popular from the early 1930’s to 1945, when they were ultimately replaced with photochrome postcards, boasting a glossy finish and realistic looking photos. Some manufacturers, mostly located in the south of the United States, still produced linen cards up until the 50’s and 60’s. During their heyday, the biggest publishing company of top-notch linen postcards was Teich. Founded in 1898, they didn’t receive any real recognition until they began to come out with imaginative scenes on their linen postcards. They were the ones responsible for the creation of the Large Letter postcards, remember?

Linen postcard

It was owner Curt Teich who realized that by creating more of a surface area on the cards, you enabled the heatset inks to dry faster, allowing the dyes to remain stronger on the surface. This concept gave linen postcards their unique vivid color, which was a huge advance from the previously popular “white border” postcards that could only muster up a bland and blurry finish.

Linen postcard

The subject matter of linens was extremely varied, ranging from town and scenic views, to interiors and comics. Roadside establishments such as diners, motels, bus and gas stations were also showcased, representing a significant era of American culture. Some companies also used these cards as a way to advertise their products. These cards alone document many important events in history, making them quite valuable as collectibles.

I must confess I quite like them because of their unusual texture! :) Have you ever received on of these? What do you think of them?

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49 comments so far

PandP, China
really special postcard!
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ColorfulCourtney, Germany
So happy to see this! I send linen postcards out and am always a little worried that people may not like them because they "look old" but so far I think people really like seeing these views from the past.
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gran10, United Kingdom
I love these cards! I have bought some....for myself!
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Boerdefloh, Germany
A linen postcard from Massachussetts arrived me last year. I like this style
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chiany, Netherlands
Never heard of them before, but would love to get one!!
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cptbennydavid, Brazil
Very cool kind of cards!
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moonlight24, United States of America
That's so cool! I've never received one nor seen one. Hopefully one day. :) thanks for sharing!
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rmchap, United States of America
Funny you should feature Philadelphia; there are few thrift shops in Philly where one can find vintage cards like these. I've certainly sent a few.
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gettysburgbob, United States of America
They aren't as fancy or shiny as the newer cards but they are appealing and many are of historic sites, schools, town squares, post offices, etc. I have quite a few but have only sent a few on Postcrossing....I wasn't sure how people would react to a linen card from 1940 with a picture of the brick high school in a small town in Florida...maybe I will send a few and see what reactions I get from the recipients.
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Kinkerlitz, Germany
I received that kind of postcard from New Hampshire once, and I'm totally in love with it. :)
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Kieselchen, Germany
I received that Philadelphia postcard from my pen pal :D
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Flummy92, Germany
They look really great:)
I've never received one of these postcards. But one day maybe:)
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Cello_77, United States of America
nice! if they have a high rag content then they should age well
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jjmedusa, United States of America
I love these. I don't recall receiving any, but I have sent a few. They are very expensive to buy whenever you can find unused ones. Why don't companies produce these anymore? They would really sell! I like them so much better than the regular photochrome postcards.
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Vagabond_Trader, United States of America
If anyone in the USA has a chance to go...there are postcard shows that come around to alot of cities and the dealers set up and thousands upon thousands of cards are available for purchase in all price ranges. Many cards like this are found there. I want to one last month here in Houston. If you want to find out where they are just go to http://www.postal-history.com/showpage.html for the list of cities and dates :)
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DaddyOfLittleM, Germany
I am producing cotton cards with printed cotton on the one side and hard paper on the other side =)
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Blogger, United States of America
It used to be that when you went to a postcard show years ago (in the USA) you could buy linen postcards for next to nothing because there were so modern and there were so many of them. Then the publishers switched to the modern chrome cards. Now the price of linen cards have gone very high!

My favorites are the ones that were stamped and written. Back then the style of handwriting was different and they used words like 'swell'.
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LouiseNLwashere, Netherlands
No linen cards here so far.
But I have received a cork one, from Portugal!
Very cool, because you don't receive them every day!!
(PS: Is cork the right translation... haha... oops)?
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nugget, United States of America
Very nice cards. I have seen some but I didn't know what they were. Thanks for the lesson.
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erdalkara, Turkey
Very nice.. I wish I had... :)
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sjayana20, India
So pretty !!!!! :)) I would love to have one! Really special :)
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zzzys, China
A beautiful postcard, I love it. In the future I hope to have a Linen Postcards
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little-billie, Austria
I haven't received one myself but I sent one out recently :)
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Axolotl_, Germany
I once received one and I really like those ^-^
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D1ana, United States of America
One can often find linen postcards on a certain auction site online (begins with an e) for a reasonable price. At our South Bend IN postcard show (twice a year) one dealer had these and other postcards available for $1 each. If you are paying a "high" price you may be paying to much (in the USA).
Certain themes or views may cost more.
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TonyGv, Spain
I must to say that these postcard are extremately beautiful,I never have recived no one of them,but maybe at the future¡¡¡
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elfremar, United Kingdom
Really unusual cards, I would love to receive one.
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kamikazeherz, Germany
These look totally cool but I never sent or recieved one of these :)
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edemaknn, United States of America
Linen cards are my favorite & make up the majority of my non-postcrossing collection. Unfortunately, the thrift/antique store I would buy a lot from just closed. Now, I'm not sure where I'm going to go.
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InTheDoghouse, United States of America
Linens are my favorite! I have thousands of them. I prefer used cards with interesting messages, and those are usually available for 25¢ from local dealers so I've been able to build a big collection inexpensively.
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geminiscp, Portugal
I've seen them but I'm not sure I have any. They are really special, indeed! :)
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YiliLoh, Malaysia
New to me! Wish to receive one! :P
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pucky, Netherlands
I have still one showing my village in old days, I will go and see if I can find more!
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kamikm, United States of America
I love linen postcards. I've never received any, but I have sent some out as I got them in a vintage lot that I bought on ebay. So pretty!!
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Yunasama, Germany
I get one with an artwork. I love the tecture :)
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edo, Spain
A Very nice cards!!
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ambuckley, United States of America
I find linen postcards at postcard and paper shows. They can be very inexpensive, too. And I love the old ones!
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socialgadfly, United States of America
These are very nice cards, I would love to receive one
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buffalo87, United States of America
Anyone wanting one send me a note. buffalo87
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aussieannie, Australia
Haven't heard of them, but would love to receive one, they sound interesting.
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karkarona, Ukraine
Really love them!
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Sutomi, Germany
..I´ve got one of these beautys and I love the texture ;o)
http://www.postcrossing.com/postcards/US-2573604
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Kodakgirl, Canada
I love them!! I recently discovered that the Boston Public Library has a collection of over 25,000 from the United States digitized and online-- it's amazing! https://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/collections/72157624096090138/
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Sophie54, Netherlands
I bought several of them when I was in the US mostly with images from the beautiful Parks. I have received one from the US as an official. I like the texture because of the linen look;-))
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knetty, Germany
Very nice! They are looking beautiful.
But there are existing other "fabric-postcards" as well: I found a Charity project - "The Wish Upon A Card Project", a silent auction and sale of donated fabric postcards to benefit Wendy’s Wish of St. Charles Foundation, a local non-profit organization that assists with non-medical expenses for people undergoing cancer treatment in Central Oregon.
To benefit this project all who want are invited to donate one (or more!) fabric postcards - e.g. patchworked or quilted postcards. For more information & pictures & instructions see here: http://sistersoutdoorquiltshow.org/contests.htm#wish
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Bowyum, Australia
In 1936 a set of 15 Curt Teich linen cards were produced, for the Australian market, all depicting scenes of Sydney. Inscribed MADE IN U.S.A. they have a small image of a kangaroo on the back. I only have two.
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ramsteentje, Netherlands
I got one today! Very Happy, it's my first one. Look at ID US-2737528.
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ThePOSTCARDPerfect, United States of America
This is very lovely postcards,but I'm just wondering if you are going to feature Postcards specially created for Postcrossing,even those custom meet up postcards.I've seen and received quite a few and they are all beautiful bec it was professionally printed.
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karr, Hungary
I have received some art cards from Russia which had linen texture and were new :)
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