Collecting Lighthouse Postcards

Love lighthouses? Collect them! Wait, how is that possible?

Deltiology might be the answer—collecting postcards! Perfectly portable and easily stored, postcards are an ideal collectible, and like lighthouses, they have a fascinating history.

Gulf Coast postcards

The Gulf Coast Lighthouses stamps looked just wonderful as stamped cards. See below for a chance to win a set of cards for yourself.

The United States Post Office Department (USPOD) issued America’s first official postal card—at a cost of one penny—in 1873. Another 15 years passed before Congress allowed privately printed cards to be mailed at the same one-cent rate. Only the address could appear on the stamp side of the card, however. The message had to be written on the picture side until 1907 when divided backs—for address and message—left the fronts free for illustrations.

Picture postcards gained popularity, and hundreds of millions were mailed in 1908 alone as Americans caught “postcard fever.” The craze for picture postcards lasted until the advent of World War I, and those early 20th-century cards are now highly collectible.

Lighthouses were popular subjects for picture postcards, and today’s collectors find them equally fascinating. Not only do the old images provide a visual record of the history of lighthouses, they also evoke that aura of mystery and elegance that draw people to lighthouses still.

Easy to find on sites like eBay and Etsy, vintage postcards are many times sold at flea markets and antique stores. You can collect postcards with pictures of regional or state lighthouses; some collectors concentrate on the lighthouses of other countries. If you search, you might even find pictures of lighthouses that no longer exist.

Want to win some not-so-vintage lighthouse postcards for yourself? We’ve got one set of 20 premium Gulf Coast Lighthouses stamped cards to give away (see picture above). All you have to do is answer one question: The Gulf Coast Lighthouses stamps feature Matagorda Island, Sabine Pass, Biloxi, Sand Island, and Fort Jefferson. Which of the five lighthouses is now completely surrounded by water?

To enter, send your answer, along with your name and address, to: USPS Stamps, 1300 Mercantile Ln, Ste 139C, Largo MD 20774.

Of those who answer correctly, one person will be randomly chosen to receive the Gulf Coast Lighthouses stamped cards set. One runner-up will receive a set of Gulf Coast Lighthouses premium stamped stationery, which includes 10 self-mailers of 5 different designs. Entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, July 17. Good luck!

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About USPS Stamps

The Postal Service™ is proud of its role in portraying the American experience to a world audience through the issuance of postage stamps and postal stationery. Each year the Postal Service issues commemorative stamps reflecting subjects of national significance and appeal. More than 160 years of stamp development has yielded an incredible archive of imagery and commentary reflecting American culture and society. Even in this fast-changing world, stamps are still a versatile and convenient method of postage. And stamp collecting is a lifetime hobby that is fun and educational for all ages. Stamp collecting is easy to start without a big investment. It is also a great way to learn about the world and its many wonders, opening the door to an exciting universe of history, science, geography, the arts, technology, and sports. Our mission is to provide universal service that is prompt, reliable, efficient, affordable, and self-sustaining. Throughout its history the Postal Service has grown with the nation, binding it together by ensuring that everyone, everywhere, has the same ability to communicate regardless of technological change.