Postcard terms N-Z



This is an extremely broad category that includes a myriad of different postcard types. Here are a few examples of popular novelty types:

  • Die cut postcards (post cards of an unusual shape)
  • Postcards with holes in them in which the receiver is supposed to insert their fingers
  • Mechanical postcards (postcards with moving parts)
  • Postcards to which an item is attached, such as a paper applique, a coin, a spice bag, a salt bag, or even real hair



The term oilette was used by Raphael Tuck and Sons of England to refer to a particular style of postcards where the image resembled an oil painting with noticeable brush strokes.

Over Sized

A postcard larger than the standard size.

In the Golden Age of postcards, a standard postcard was 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches in the United States, and anything larger was considered oversized. Today, the standard U.S. size has grown to 4 by 6 inches.



On May 19, 1898, the U.S. Congress passed an act allowing private printing companies to produce postcards with the statement “Private Mailing Card, Authorized by Act of Congress of May 19, 1898.”

Postcards issued for the U.S. market before this date are referred to as pioneers. They typically carry written instructions on the back, letting the user know where to write the address and message.

Private Postal

Postcards produced by someone else than the government or governmental agencies.

Puzzle cards

Postcards with a hidden picture, jigsaw puzzles, rebuses, or any other puzzle for the recipient to solve.

In North America, these postcards are known as instalments.



Postcards produced by Paul Finkenrath in Berlin (PFB) with decorative highlights created using metallic paint (typically copper coloured).



Postcards made with silk. The image can be printed on silk fabric or silk fabric can have been applied to the design in some other way.



Advertising cards issued before 1900. Back then, storekeepers would give these cards away to customers, typically with the purchase of a product. The tradecards became a popular among collectors and were often glued into scrapbooks.


A type of Hold to Light postcard where the transformation is made possible by several layers of very thin paper.


Undivided Back

A postcard without a dividing line on the back to separate the message area from the address area.

The opposite of Undivided Back is Divided Back. Cards of the Divided Back style did not emerge until the early 20th century; before that Undivided Back was the norm.


View Cards

The cathegory View Cards is comprised of postcards that show cities or places within cities. Examples of popular imagery are bridges, the main street, parks and store fronts.



Woven in Silk

Woven in Silk postcards feature a design that has been woven into a silk fabric.

The English postcard producer T. Stevens in Coventry is especially famous for postcards of this type.