Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "giveaway"

It’s been a while since we last had a giveaway on the blog, and this is an exciting one!

But first, a question: how do you carry your postcards around? Over the years, we’ve seen people make do with imperfect solutions to transport their postcards, sticking them along with stamps inside a book, re-using flimsy envelopes or paper bags or just haphazardly throwing them in their purses and praying for the best. We always cringe thinking of those fragile corners…

Maike and Wiebke (aka, the Papersisters) experienced these annoyances too, and decided to take action by creating their own Papertraveler in order to solve the recurring problem of how to safely transport postcards. The Papertraveler is a sturdy and smooth folder, made of two pockets with space for 50 postcards, plus 2 inserts for stamps, stickers or other small paper items. They’re crafted from a tear-proof and vegan material, sewn together, and wrapped in place by an elastic band.

Papertraveler by Papersisters

Don’t they look neat? I’ve been using mine for a few months now, and can attest to its sturdiness. It’s just big enough for most normal sized postcards, but also compact, so it doesn’t take a lot of space in a bag. I keep mine stocked with plenty of stamps and some favorite postcards, just in case. 😊

And now, the part you’ve all been waiting for: Papersisters is offering two lucky postcrossers a Papertraveler, along with their handy Pentraveler companion plus a bunch of postcards!

For a chance to be one of these lucky winners, visit their website and then leave a comment below, telling us which postcard (or series of postcards) is your favorite. This won’t be an easy task, as there are many nice postcards there, with popular series featuring the Life of a Postcrosser, German themes, Personalities, Mail topics, or the Happy Postcrossing series…

Papertraveler by Papersisters

So have a look through their website and let us know which ones are your favorites in the comments below — if you win, some of these will be included in your new Papertraveler! Don’t forget to check back here next Saturday for the winners (randomly picked by Paulo’s script, as always).

And the winners of this giveaway, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator are… picquick and MiddLin! Congratulations everyone, thank you for your enthusiastic participation!

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You might have noticed that the postcards we’re familiar with today (picture on one side, and space for the address, postage and a message on the back) are very different from the first postcard issued in 1869 by the Austrian Post.

Correspondenz Karte

The Correspondenz-Karte, as it was initially called, was just a brown rectangle of paper with space for the address and postage on one side, and a short message on the back. Despite the decorative border, they weren’t meant to be fun or especially pretty. Instead, their purpose was much more practical, enabling short messages to be sent cheaply through the post, a departure from letters and their formal etiquette. Their look was as concise as the messages they carried.

So, when did these lackluster pieces of cardboard begin to be adorned with images and acquired the modern format of our beloved postcards?

Well, that’s a longer story… but in a way, an almost inevitable development. From ancient papyrus to Gutenberg’s bible, decorations have been sneaked onto the pages of written materials ever since humans began to record history on paper. In the 17th and 18th centuries, printing developments brought images to the masses: commercial invoices would sometimes showcase a little miniature of a storefront, and often people carried illustrated calling cards with them. Also common were letter sets featuring elaborate illustrations both on the writing paper and on the envelopes. In 1840, the same year that the Penny Black was issued, Royal Mail launched its own decorated prepaid letter sheets.

Postcards with illustration vignettes

Thus, even though the original postcards did not feature illustrations, there were plenty of other items with images on them, and so, bit by bit, they were introduced on postcards as well.

At first, images appeared on the corners of the message side of the postcard, as small vignettes often with advertisement to a hotel or restaurant. Slowly though, other images made their way onto the postcard format and by the 1880s, postcards with the Gruss Aus (greetings from) salute and a few illustrations of a town were a popular holiday souvenir in German-speaking countries.

Divided back postcards

And then, as photography and printing techniques evolved further still, photos started covering more and more space in postcards, with just a small area left for messages. Finally, in 1906, at the Sixth Postal Union Congress in Rome, the UPU declared that postcards with a divided back could be sent internationally. With no need to write the message on the front any longer, pictures were free to take over the whole space on one side of the postcard.

And this is how the modern format of the picture postcards we know and love today came to be! 😊 If you’re curious to learn more, check out the History page we’ve put together for the 150th anniversary of postcards, and stay tuned for more interesting tidbits of postal history here on the blog.

PS – Our friends at papersisters made a neat postcard to celebrate the 150th anniversary of postcards, and generously sent us a bunch to give away! So if you’d like a postcard with a greeting from the Postcrossing’s headquarters, here’s your chance: leave a comment below and let us know one cool postal fact about your country. We’ll pick 15 random commenters by this time next week to be the recipients of one of these postcards. Good luck!

Ok! Giveaway closed, and the winners as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator are… Tabse, jime2e4a, Stargrace, picketfence4, LuSays, BrittJohnson, betslets, Bia5546, fmstrada, surlykitty, duck2006, Daniela_P, yudi, serendipity2 and jm1122. Congratulations everyone! Keep an eye on your mailbox for the incoming postcard. 📬

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Considered by many to be a mythical place with gold paved roads at the end of the world, Timbuktu does indeed exist… but it has seen better days. Once a bustling city in the center of many caravan routes through the African continent, it is now a struggling place, consumed by desertification, dwindling water supplies and years of war. Yet, despite its struggles, it still hasn’t lost its magical aura and its name continues to evoke images of remoteness and wonder.

Naturally, connecting with the world is not a priority in places like Timbuktu, where steady employment and disposable income are hard to come by. Problems with rebel fighting in Northern Mali in recent years have driven away tourism from the city, leaving many tourist guides unemployed.

Luckily for postcard lovers from around the world, Phil, Bintou and Ali run Postcards from Timbuktu, a service that helps unemployed guides in Timbuktu send postcards to supplement their income. Whether you’d like to surprise a loved one with a message from an exotic place, or just to add an exotic stamp to your collection, they can help you do it with just a few clicks. The postcards they send all around the world are precious, in both the collectible sense and, more importantly, to their livelihoods. Here is Mohamed, writing a batch of cards to send:

Postcards from Timbuktu

Each card costs $10, including postage which ranges between $2.20 to Europe and $3.75 to other continents. For context, people in Bamako (Mali’s capital) are making as little as $80–90/month… so it’s easy to understand that this isn’t really something they can afford to do for fun. Postcards travel from Bamako to Timbuktu and back to Bamako, before being shipped out of Mali. Each one of them will go through several motorcycle and plane rides on its journey to its recipients.

And now, an extra incentive to check out Postcards from Timbuktu: we were so pleased to learn how postcards are making a difference in this community that we decided to help! Postcrossing is sponsoring a giveaway of 5 postcards from Timbuktu, sent to random postcrossers.

To participate, all you need to do is to leave a comment below, sharing a fact you have learned about Timbuktu. Go discover its fascinating history, and come back to share your knowledge with everyone. And who knows… you might even find a postcard from there waiting on your mailbox soon! :)

This giveaway will be open for one week. The results will be chosen by Paulo's random number generator and announced on this post.

Postcards from Timbuktu

And the winners of this giveaway, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator are… sfichialos, pinsonne, Amaya_Ithilwen, reimira and WHMeg. Congratulations — and thank you everyone for your enthusiastic participation on this giveaway!

PS – We got word from Phil that the team in Timbuktu is a little overwhelmed with orders at the moment. While this is great news for them, it also means that it will take some time for all postcards and other items to be delivered. So please be patient while you wait — we’re sure it will be worth it. :)

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We know, we know… the blog has been a bit slow lately, as we’ve been busy with other tasks. In the meantime, here’s a brilliant giveaway to make up for it — enjoy!

Do these postcards look familiar? 😍

papersistershappypostcrossing

If so, you’ve probably heard about Papersisters! Although the company only started a couple of years ago, its eye-catching designs have swiftly conquered the hearts of many postcrossers around the world.

Sisters Wiebke (aka Namibia13) and Maike (aka jofemapa) are both enthusiastic postcrossers, and this passion turned into the creation of postcards and the opening of their own shop. Their range includes nicely illustrated postcards about different regions of Germany and their typical things, the country series featured above, stamp collages (my favorite!), and others for special occasions. They also do cute Postcard IDs or weather-themed rubberstamps to personalize your cards, as well as a few other goodies!

Germany

And now, for the best part! Papersisters is offering a pack of 12 postcards to 4 lucky postcrossers, plus one rubberstamp prize for an extra winner! Pretty cool, right? For a chance to receive one of these prizes, visit their website and leave a comment below, telling us which postcard (or series of postcards) is your absolute favorite!

But be warned, choosing from so much goodness will not be an easy task…

papersisters Airmail

Good luck everyone! Don’t forget to check back here next Saturday for the winners (randomly picked by Paulo’s number generator, as always).

And the winners of this giveaway, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator are… amandam718, tandrj, Tufta, Allison_b216 and svoboda999! Congratulations — and thank you everyone for your enthusiastic participation on this giveaway!

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Kehvola

We first saw Kehvola's cards on a pop-up postcard fair organised by the Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association in Tampere, and I confess I was instantly smitten! It’s no secret I have a sweet spot for illustration, but their playful style and daring colour palette was what got me hooked.

At the time, I sent the postcard on the right to a booklover friend, and stocked on others… though I’ve been very reluctant to part with them!

At the time, we talked a bit with the owners, Veera and Timo, who were staffing their booth at the fair, and Timo agreed to answer a few questions for the blog. So ladies and gentlemen, here he is to tell us more about Kehvola!

How did Kehvola get started? Could you tell us a bit of the story behind it?

Veera (my wife) had previously worked as a store manager in the Finnish National Gallery’s museum shops. There she noticed that there are no nice Helsinki cards available. She started the company and asked the nearest and the cheapest illustrator (me!) to draw a set of Helsinki postcards. This was just four years ago.

We’re fascinated by how coherent your collection is — despite being illustrated by different people. How did this group of illustrators get together? And how do you choose the themes for your pieces?

We are illustration fans and we’ve been very lucky with our artists. So far everybody we’ve asked to join us had said yes. I think our illustrators all have something in common yet they all have their own distinct style. Our illustrators have all illustrated children’s books and are capable of creating narrative pictures with strong sense of atmosphere.

Illustrators are free to offer their own ideas but most of them prefer clear orders from us. I myself think what I would like to draw (this could be an old bike or a rubber boot, a big bookshelves, elvis, tiger or an apple pie) and then consider with Veera would somebody be interested in such a card. If we like the idea enough we print it anyway.

Kehvola good times
If you could define Kehvola’s style in 3 words, what would they be?

Narrative, colorful, warm.

Are you letter or postcard writers too?

Always when travelling. I love bookshops and museum shops and browsing through their postcard selection. Writing a postcards in a cosy pub or cafe after a long day of walking is an essential part of my traveling.

Could you show us your studio, or the place where the magic happens?

Here’s a picture of Kehvola’s "headquarters”, where I also do the drawing:

kehvolastudio

Thank you Timo, that was lovely! Besides their shop, you can also find Kehvola on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

Oh! And now for the best part: Timo kindly offered a set of postcards to give away to one lucky postcrosser! For a chance to win it, check out Kehvola’s shop, and leave a comment below, telling us which design or designs were your favourites. We’ll randomly pick a winner by this time next week, and announce it on this post. Good luck! :)

And the winner of this giveaway, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator is… LesCheris, from France! Congratulations, and thanks everyone for playing along! :)

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