Dating postcards stamps
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In 1895 the law was changed to allow a normal stamp to be affixed to a card, but the breakthrough was in 1899 when the standard sized card 5 by 3 inches was introduced, but it was still not possible to have the picture, or the message, on the address side of the card.
The earliest picture postcards were therefore published with blank space on the picture side - so that a message could be written next to the picture.
These were plain, sold at a d each - with the stamp already embossed on the address side, leaving the other side blank for a message.
Commercial firms could buy in bulk and print their own information on the blank side, but there were no picture post cards as we know them.
Valentine Ltd was one of the earliest picture postcard publishers.