I mentioned yesterday The Picture Postcard Show which opens in London tomorrow and lasts three days. Most postcard fairs are only one day affairs, although there are a few two-day fairs and some evening fairs. Whether they last one, two or three days postcard fairs are a great place to find postcards to illustrate your family history.
When it comes to finding out where postcard fairs are held there are two main places to look:
The Postcard Traders Association website
The Postcard Traders Association has a calendar of postcard fairs on their website. The good thing about this calendar is that you can click through and find out more information about the organiser, including contact details and possibly their website.
The main drawback with this list is that it doesn’t always get updated regularly, but it is a good starting place especially as a lot of the fairs take place on a regular basis. Also this doesn’t always feature some of the smaller fairs.
Picture Postcard Monthly
Picture Postcard Monthly magazine has a much fuller list of postcard fairs including some international ones (along with auctions and exhibitions). These usually cover the coming three months and also includes contact details for the organisers as well as indicating the number of postcard dealers likely to be attending.
As well as the list of fairs in Picture Postcard Monthly, it is also the main place where postcard fairs are advertised, as well everything else you would expect in a magazine such as news, letters and articles.
The Postcard Traders Association website has a page entitled How to Win at Fairs with advice to get the best out of your visit to a postcard fair. My own advice would be to set yourself a budget and stick to it, otherwise it could get very expensive!
The highlight of the postcard collecting calendar is the annual Picture Postcard Show, also known as BIPEX (British International Postcard Exhibition), which takes place this week, running from Thursday 1st September 2011 to Saturday 3rd September 2011.
The three-day show is held at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lawrence Hall in Greycoat Street, London and is described as “the world’s most prestigious card show”. Full details including admission prices and opening times can be found on the Postcard Traders Association website.
The Picture Postcard Show is like a normal provincial postcard fair on steroids, with a greater diversity of postcard dealers in attendance, including many from overseas. This means a greater diversity of postcards and as the website says, “some of the best cards available today”.
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like I am going to be able to make it to this year’s show, but you can read about my previous visits here and here.
I should have been out walking on the South Downs today, but the weather was so miserable that we (my wife and I) decided not to bother. The weather here was nothing compared to the weather recently experienced around the world, just some light drizzle and strong wind, but it just wasn’t worth getting cold and wet when there will be plenty of opportunities later in the year to get out on the hills and hopefully enjoy the experience.
Instead of heading for the hills I headed for Haywards Heath, West Sussex and the Postcard and Collectors Fair at Clair Hall. The main reason I wanted to go was to get some storage supplies to house my growing collection of postcards. I need to have a bit of a sort out of my existing postcard albums to make their contents more logical and consistent, and also provide a new home for those postcards that don’t fit into any of my main collections and any modern postcards that I buy during my travels.
I had already decided that a cardboard box (like the ones the dealers use to hold their stock) would probably be the best bet for the odd historic and modern postcards, so I bought one of these along with a supply of protective plastic sleeves in two different sizes and a few plastic dividers. Now I am ready to spend some time organising my collections.
Of course I couldn’t come away without any postcards, although as you can see in the image above I didn’t buy that many. The postcard I bought were quite a cross-section in both age and subject, but there were a couple of real gems in there as well, which I am really pleased with (and will no doubt be showing off in due course). Time to get my scanner going again!
It has been a while since I have been to postcard fair (although I have still been buying postcards, mostly on eBay but also elsewhere), so it was nice to get chance to visit the Postcard and Collectors Fair at The Shoreham Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex.
I was quite surprised to find the Shoreham Centre packed with people (both collectors and dealers) when I arrived, on previous visits I have found it a lot quieter, so it was good to see so many people. The Shoreham Centre is not particularly large but it is pretty convenient for me to get to, in fact a couple of years ago I walked there, it took me about four hours but I might try that again later in the year when the weather is better.
Results were mixed, as you can see from the pile of cards above there was quite a mixed bag, nine cards in all, all of which were Sussex. Three nice West Dean ones for my collection, another Beachy Head lighthouse (bought for the publisher rather than the subject) and the rest had family associations and were absolute bargains which I couldn’t resist. Expect to see some of these on this blog in the coming weeks and months.
For those interested in attending future fairs, they are organised by Beacon Fairs, and the dates for the rest of 2011 are:
- Saturday 16th April 2011
- Sunday 19th June 2011
- Saturday 15th October 2011
I had hoped to go down to Chichester today, to do some research at the West Sussex Record Office and the public library, but it became obvious early in the week that I wasn’t going to be prepared in time, so I decided to postpone to visit (probably until next weekend).
To be honest I wasn’t really too disappointed, it was a good excuse for me to stay in bed. Many weeks of getting up early nearly every morning have taken it’s toll and I really couldn’t face another early start. Besides there were plenty of other things that I wanted to do.
Top of those lists of things to do was a visit to Shoreham Postcard Fair, at Shoreham by Sea, West Sussex. So after a lazy start to the day I took the bus to Brighton and then Shoreham, and spent some more of my hard earned money on postcards.
Shoreham Postcard Fair is a fairly small postcard fair, probably twenty or so dealers, and not all postcards, some coins, stamps and cigarette cards. There was plenty to keep me occupied for several hours, and I came away with another eleven postcards for my growing collection, including some great bargains from one dealer’s 50p box.
The great thing about Shoreham Postcard Fair is that it is pretty convenient for me to get to, just two bus rides. Unfortunately it means passing through the crowded city of Brighton. Perhaps it is just me getting older, but I am starting to get very “crowd intolerant”. I am really starting to go off buses packed full of passengers and crowded pavements (and as we get nearer to Christmas it can only get worse), so I was very pleased to get back home, put my feet up and study my new postcards.
Today I made my way to Woking, Surrey to The 2010 Autumn South of England Postcard Fair held at the Woking Leisure Centre. You may remember that I wrote about the postcard fair held at Woking earlier in the year.
To be honest there are only a few reasons why I go to Woking: for a postcard fair, family history fair or to visit the Surrey History Centre. It is not that Woking is a bad place (or so it seems to me), just that there is not much else to entice me into the town, although Brookwood Cemetery is nearby.
An added bonus is that I got to travel along one of my favourite stretches of railway line, the North Downs Line, which travels along the foot of the North Downs for part of it length. In the bright sunshine the southern slopes of North Downs looked so wonderful, with their trees starting to show the first signs of their Autumn colours.
The fair itself seemed a little quiet, there were lots of stalls with postcards, cigarette cards, ephemera and various other paper collectables, but it didn’t appear to be that busy. Personally I got off to a slow start, and despite my best efforts I struggled to find anything to spend my money on.
Eventually I got lucky and in the end I came away with six postcards and one photo. Not really what I would call a successful day, but it was quite enjoyable nevertheless. I am sure you will be seeing some of these cards in the future, I know I always say that, but I really must get around to writing about some of them, after all that is the reason I am buying many of my postcards these days.
Today was the last day of the annual three day Picture Postcard Show at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lawrence Hall in London. I was up in London with my wife, pretending not to be tourists, so I had chance to pop in for a couple of hours and spend some money.
It was near the end of the third and final day when I visited, so I wasn’t too surprised to find it was pretty quiet. To be honest this made things easier for me, I was able to move from stand to stand without too much trouble, and perhaps after three day the dealers were glad to be able to wind down a bit.
The theme for this year’s displays was "London; A Capital City", but because I was pushed for time I didn’t really have time to study them closely, but there were lots of displays and many of the stands were decorated with examples of postcard artwork.
Despite my limited time I was able to come away with seven cards for my collection. Two were free souvenirs, one upon entry and one for buying something from Reflections of a Bygone Age, this second one was an excellent multi-view of the Elephant Parade.
Of the remaining five, one was relatively modern (probably 30 or 40 years old) just bought for the personal connection with my new job, the other four were much older, with family connections in one way or another and once I have scanned them they will probably be appearing on this blog. I say probably because I now have far too many postcards to blog about.
Although I was never likely to come away with any truly outstanding cards for my collection, there is after all a large percentage of national and international dealers (who will probably never have heard of the small Sussex villages I am interested in), I am nevertheless happy with what I did find and could easily have spent all day there soaking up the atmosphere and just looking at cards.