Glossary - Used Terms

Postcard collecting is a fascinating hobby with its own unique terminology and jargon. To help you understand the language of postcard collecting, here is a glossary of terms commonly used in the field.

In this glossary, you'll find definitions for most used terms by collectors. Whether you're a seasoned collector or just starting out, understanding these terms will help you navigate the world of postcard collecting with confidence.

So dive in and explore the glossary, and don't hesitate to reference it whenever you come across a term you're unfamiliar with. With time, these terms will become second nature, and you'll be able to fully immerse yourself in the wonderful world of postcard collecting!

Air labels: Air labels, or etiquettes, are used by Universal Postal Union member nations to denote airmail carriage. They are inscribed “Par Avion’’ (French for “By Airmail’’). The text usually includes the same message in the language of the country of origin. Air labels also are adhesives issued by private organizations for specific, unofficial flights.

Airmail: The carriage of mail by air. The first regular airmail service began in 1870, when mail was carried from Paris-then besieged by German forces-over enemy lines by balloon. Many countries have issued postage stamps, stamped envelopes, postal cards and aerograms specially designated for airmail use. The first airmail stamp was issued by Italy in 1917.

Back of Card - For most postcard collectors this will mean the address side of the postcard although some philatelic (stamp) collectors consider the back the picture side.

CCUN - Chinese Characters United Nations - a series of postcard with 5 words translated from Local Language to Chinese - showing something famous from the specific country

Deltiology is the study and collection of postcards. It is a popular hobby similar to philately, but focuses specifically on postcards rather than stamps. Deltiologists collect postcards for their historical and cultural significance, as well as for their artistic and aesthetic value.

Like philately, deltiology is a hobby enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life. Collectors may focus on a particular theme, such as vintage holiday postcards, or postcards from a specific location or time period. They also enjoy learning about the history behind each postcard and may participate in postcard exhibitions and swaps to expand their collections.

Overall, deltiology is a fun and educational hobby that provides an opportunity to explore the history and culture of different countries and periods, and to appreciate the beauty and artistry of postcard design.

Embossed - Postcards that have designs slightly raised above the card's surface. Heavily embossed postcards have almost a papier-mâché look that stands greatly above the surface. Mainly used in greeting type cards.

Embroidered - Postcards which embroidery is added.

FOTW - Flags of the world series, made by postcardsmarket

Greeting Cards - Most collectors refer to this term when describing birthday and holiday type postcards.

Greetings from series - public info over a backround specific to the country. Sold by Postal Love

HPC - Papersisters (a german online shop) make several series of cards. HPC is Happy Postcrossing from your country.

Icons of a series of postcard showing iconic symbols of a country, made by an online shop from Singapore.

Lenticular (or 3D card) - This type of post card shows one scene than another when viewed at a different angle or moved.

Logo - Decorative initials or drawings which is the trademark for the publisher.

LOU paper postcards are a type of postcard that were popular in the early 20th century. The term "LOU" is short for the French word "Lettre d'Ouverture Universelle," which translates to "universal letter opening." LOU paper postcards were unique in that they had a fold-out flap on the back, allowing the sender to write a longer message than would fit on a traditional postcard. This feature made them particularly popular for sending messages to friends and family. The LOU paper postcards were often printed on high-quality paper with intricate designs and images, making them highly collectible today. Many collectors focus on acquiring LOU paper postcards from specific countries or regions, or those that feature specific themes, such as holidays or landmarks. If you're interested in collecting Lou paper postcards, it's a good idea to do your research and familiarize yourself with the different types and styles of postcards that are available. You can also join postcard collecting clubs and attend postcard shows to meet other collectors and learn more about the hobby. With time and experience, you'll be able to build a collection that reflects your interests and showcases your passion for postcard collecting.

Meet-up Postcards (Postcrossing Meting postcards) When Postcrossers get together one or more people will have cards printed up to celebrate the event. On the front will be the date and location of the meeting and a photo or drawing to commemorate the meeting. On the front of the postcard may be or not the logo of Postcrossing site. More details here:

MOTW - Maps of the World Series - a series of cards designed by a Swiss Designer containting map of teh country and public info and symbols of that country

MPCS - Map Cover on Postcard-Series - designed in Bangladesh

NS - National Symbols of the country - Postcards with The National Animal, Flower or Bird of that specific country.

Philately is the study and collection of postage stamps and other related materials, such as envelopes, postcards, and covers. It is a popular hobby enjoyed by people all over the world, who collect stamps based on a variety of themes, including countries of origin, specific historical events, or unique designs.

Philatelists appreciate the cultural, historical, and artistic aspects of stamps, and often engage in research and historical analysis to better understand the stories behind each stamp. They also often enjoy cataloging and organizing their collections, and may participate in stamp exhibitions and auctions to trade and acquire new additions to their collections.

Overall, philately is a diverse and fascinating hobby that brings together people from all walks of life and provides opportunities for learning, research, and discovery.

Postally Used (or w&s - written and stamped- A postcard showing a cancellation mark, sent via postal system.

PWE - Postcard World Explorer a series with the map of the country and the name of their anthem, printed with a special printing techinque -selective laquer. On the backside of the card is a QR code - when scanning that - the national anthem will play, interpreted by 

Series - Groups of postcards that belong together in a collection. The individual cards may or may not have been printed at the same time. More than just a common topic, a series has a common artist and publisher.

Size of Postcards:

  • Standard Size - Approximately 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches
  • Court Size - Usually a Foreign postcard and approximately 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches
  • Continental Size - Approximately 4 x 6 inches, common size for modern cards.
  • Jumbo or Over Sized - Larger than Continental
  • Bookmark Cards - Long and narrow approximately 2 1/2 x 5 or 6 inches.
  • Miniature Size - Approximately 1/2 size of Standard.

Topics or Topicals - Themes and subjects such as Dogs, Airplanes and Flowers. Not scenes or views.

UPU: Universal Postal Union. An international organization formed in Bern, Switzerland, in 1874, to regulate and standardize postal usage and to facilitate the movement of mail between member nations. Today, most nations belong to the UPU.

 WT - World Travel - postcard series made in Taiwan