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Postcard collecting appeals to enthusiasts of history, architecture, art and social history.
31st May, 2022

Photographic picture postcards tend to command the highest prices at auction, particularly those from the Victorian era to the start of the Second World War. Subject, publisher, photographer or artist, country of origin and the postmark are key factors in determining value. Foreign cards are also popular with collectors, notably those by Art Nouveau and Art Deco artists. A humorous card showing a drawing of postal clerks seated around a large inkwell sold at auction for £31,759 in 2002. The hand-coloured card dating from 1840 is believed to be the world's oldest postcard and boasts a Penny Black stamp.

Established in 1991 ILS World's private client team is experienced at working with collectors who include collectibles as part of their investment portfolios. The team assists with trust and specialist company formation which are used as tools to safeguard collections for owners and future successors. The growing number of online auctions in recent years has also boosted the appeal of passion assets particularly deltiology, which is the study of postcards. Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Andy Warhol were all keen postcard authors.

Historical societies, libraries and researchers enthusiastically amass postcards as they portray a particular moment in time or mark specific occasions. A meticulously catalogued archive relating to Cumbria and the Lake District sold at auction for £5,500 last year.

The first postcards had no pictures allowing a person to write the address on one side and a message on the back. Their introduction was particularly popular with businesses as it was a cheaper and quicker way to communicate.

In 1894, the Royal Mail granted permission to publishers to sell picture postcards in the UK - it coincided with the growing popularity of day trips to British seaside resorts. Publishers spotted an opportunity and were soon producing cards with images of much-visited destinations.

In 1902 the Post Office allowed both the address and message to be written on one side of a postcard, and publishers quickly responded by producing cards with the now familiar dividing line down the back, allowing the message and address on one side and a full picture on the other. Donald McGill, dubbed the king of the seaside postcard, designed saucy material from 1904 until 1962 featuring fat old ladies, drunken middle-aged men, honeymooning couples and prudish vicars. He produced 12,000 designs during his prolific career and more than 200 million of his cards were sold. But in 1954, during a morality campaign, he was found guilty of publishing obscene images and some of his cards were banned.

The ILS World private client team has a great deal of experience supporting many passionate collectors and collaborate with acknowledged industry professionals such as storage experts who know how postcards should be stored. Boxes with themed subsections were widely used because they were compact and reasonably priced, but cards deteriorate from constant handling and cardboard albums with the corners of a postcard threaded into slots replaced them. More recently a version with plastic pockets has grown in appeal.

The ILS World team is made up of highly trained and experienced professionals assisting clients with:

• Multi-jurisdictional company incorporation
• Establishing and administering a trust
• VAT and Customs compliance
• Comprehensive administration of the ownership structure
• Management and financial reporting
• VAT and accounting services
• Provision of directors, registered offices and registered agreement/company secretary
• Acting as a trustee
• Import and export services
• Acquisition
• Sale
• Storage
• Maintenance and upkeep
• Valuations
• Inventories.

ILS World is a global provider of independent fiduciary services who successfully assist private clients including individuals, trustees and family offices on asset protection, wealth management and succession and estate planning.

We act in the long-term interest of our clients and pay careful attention to the quality and personal service we deliver.

Our private client team works hard to create long-term relationships and provide the highest level of service. We do this by being approachable, flexible and pragmatic. We offer regular face-to-face meetings as required and provide direct contact with a senior member of the team. Staff have diverse backgrounds, skills and interests and their professional experience together with their "can-do" attitude means they understand that wealth and business are inextricably linked.

Our private clients often require an international strategy and as a global business with offices in several key jurisdictions we are well-placed to provide a cohesive service. Our network includes offices in:

• British Virgin Islands
• Hong Kong
• Isle of Man
• London
• Portugal.

For further information please email privateclient@ils-world.com

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Please note: ILS World does not offer tax advice and would therefore recommend you obtain your own tax advice. If you require an introduction to a tax adviser, we would be happy to assist.

• An Isle of Man based postcard collector has kindly shared with us a selection of cards issued to mark Queen Elizabeth II's coronation on June 2 1953.