Postcard Gallery

The World of, "The Aviation Postcard Man"

Article two;  "Collecting Aviation Postcards" - written by Roger May
Click here to read article
added: 6th April 2013

Welcome to my website - source of information for anyone with an interest in aviation.

Having been an Aviation postcard collector for well over 30 years and in that time amassed one of the largest collections in the World, I thought it would be of interest not just to Aviation, but to postcard collectors of all kinds to offer:

  • Help, hints, tips, ideas and advice on  looking after and protecting ones collection
  • Where to go for Aviation and postcard  related events for trading swapping  buying and selling
  • Organisations, collectors and dealers contact information and web-sites

I also hope in the future to produce my own unique limited edition postcards.

The site includes a portfolio of examples from my collection of historical and current postcards from around the world.

The postcard collection covers all areas of aviation:

  • Airline Issued Postcards
  • Airport Postcards
  • Airliner specialist postcards

The website content will be updated periodically to include new issues of interest – watch this space.

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About Roger May

  • Aviation enthusiast for over 40 years
  • Aviation professional for 35 years
  • Postcard collector over 30 years
  • Award winning aviation photographer

My interest in Aviation was started by my father in the early 1960’s, although I was a little young at the time, the Farnborough air shows we attended had a lasting effect on me.

Having lived around the area of ”London Heathrow Airport” (LHR), all my life, both directly under the runway approach’s and further away, the constant movement and noise was part of my growing-up process.

Inevitably after leaving school and many years watching the aircraft from the Queens Building “Roof Gardens” I took a job at “Heathrow”, collecting the baggage trolleys that passengers used and returning them to the collection points. 

After promotion I trained as an aircraft Marshaller “bat man”, subsequently also incorporating,
Follow Me, Health & Safety, Runway Inspections, Bird Scaring, and Emergency duties.

Although I had collected the odd aviation postcard before working at LHR, (School projects etc.), my
Real passion started in the second half of the 1970s, trading cards with my work colleagues and many other Airport & Airline personnel.

Over the years, starting with Airlines & Airliners, my collection has taken in Airports, Airfields, Airbases and Museums, Small private Aircraft, Helicopters, Gliders, Micro lights, Balloons & Airships
Military Transports, Trainers and Fast jets, Aviation advertising and lastly the Early Aviation Pioneers!

I believe this to be a unique collection, among the aviation community, totaling in access of 50,000
cards, although I have no-doubt that there are fellow collectors in the World who would match their personal collections to mine.

Having amassed many thousands of doubles etc., which I  trade with my fellow collectors, and taken early retirement from “LHR” in 2009, I decided to set myself up as ;  “The Aviation Postcard Man”.

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About Aviation Postcard collecting

There are several groups of collectors who concentrate on one particular aspect or field of the aviation subject, or like myself have a broad range of interests across the entire range.

The top 6, (not in particular order), are probably:

  • Airline or Company issues, Worldwide or a specific Country or Airline.
  • Airports and Airfields etc., Worldwide or a specific Country or Airport.
  • A specific type or types of  Aircraft , such as “Concorde”, Helicopters or Airships,
  • Specific periods of aviation, such as The Early Pioneers or between the wars for example.
  • A particular printer or publisher, such as “Real Photographs” (UK), or “Editions PI” (France), to name but 2, (There are of-course many hundreds of others).
  • Military collectors, concentrating on a particular conflict or war, involving aircraft and aviation.

Not forgetting the collectors of Hovercraft, Space flight and astronauts, subjects which have produced many postcards over the years and have a significant following.

All of these subjects will have many various off-shoots and cross-over’s including, with or without Stamps, or certain postmarks, Aviation events or Air shows, Route maps, Menu’s, Advertising, and
Aircraft cockpits flight decks and interiors to name a few.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of the broad subject of the World of Aviation Postcard collecting.

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Forthcoming Postcard Shows

Watch this space.....

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Postcards Gallery

Enjoy browsing a selection from my eclectic mix of cards from across the world of aviation postcard collecting. Click on the thumbnails to view more details.

The Aviation Postcard Man
The Aviation Postcard Man
The Aviation Postcard Man
The Aviation Postcard Man
The Aviation Postcard Man
The Aviation Postcard Man
The Aviation Postcard Man
Images of the Leisure Suite

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The World of, "The Aviation Postcard Man"

Article Two (Part 1) "Collecting Aviation Postcards"

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Firstly, let me say thank you for the positive feedback I have received since the launch of my website in August 2012, it is good to receive good comments from fellow aviation postcard collectors, aviation enthusiasts,  and professionals, also not forgetting postcard collectors and dealers outside the world of aviation. 

With the help of the talented people who host the site for me, I hope to include more information / help and ideas as we improve and expand the website, I shall continue for now with updated information for 2013 and my second article in the series of;

Having covered "The Basics" in my first article, I thought I would move on to the collecting of aviation postcards, "where to go" and "where to look" etc. from the point of view of collecting aviation postcards, parallels can of course be drawn to all forms of postcard collecting whether subjects or topographical.

So in alphabetical order;

Aircraft manufacturers, Airlines, Airports, Airshows/Fly-In's, Auctions, Conventions, Fairs, Family, Friends, Markets, Meetings, Museums, On-line and Shops;
(you will probably think of some more) ?

1: Aircraft manufacturers:

All the main aircraft manufacturers produce publicity material for their products, including postcards or data cards, (Data cards include information on the reverse of the card instead of the usual postcard back).

They are all contactable by mail, (fast and slow), the 2 biggest "Airbus" and "Boeing" have their own visitor centres with shops, where postcards can be purchased, for example, there are currently 20 different cards for sale at the "Airbus visitor centre" Toulouse, France.

All of the major manufacturers appear at the various major trade airshows around the World of course, but they do not carry all of their publicity material with them, so finding any postcards at these shows is more by luck than judgement.

2: Airlines:

Airlines and smaller aviation company's, have over the years produced large amounts of publicity material and information, all, for the most part including postcards, however in recent years less and less postcards have been produced.

With little exception most airlines are now using many other different forms of advertising, relegating the once prolific postcard to "one-off''s" or "in-house" cards, not produced by the company's main publicity machine, but by the various smaller departments and office's, although on the plus side nearly all of the major carrier's, have their own shops both
for staff and public to use and buy, some even have their own museums where postcards can be bought, all this information is available on-line.

There are still many postcards available from airlines and aviation company's, I will not attempt to list all of these, instead I will draw your attention to a great set of articles in the "Aviation Postcard Club, On-line newsletter", edited by my good friend Doug Bastin, entitled, "Airline issues in the 21st Century". the "aviapc" web address is listed on this website below.   

3: Airports:

Airports were a great source of aviation postcards, not just of the airport itself but of aircraft also, one has only to see the old inside views of Croydon Airport to see racks of postcards in the background, also Heathrow from it's early tented days had many postcards produced through the years with great and well known publishers such as "Tuck", "Bridge House", "AV Fry" and "Valentine's", right up until the late 80s early 90s with Charles Skilton, Fisa and Pamlin Prints.

In Europe, French, German and Swiss Airports had superb images of their Airports, also in the USA, there were some wonderful cards produced, you will, I am sure have noticed, that I am using the past-tense, as nowadays most Airports do not have the stocks of cards they once did, most images now are of famous Buildings, land-mark's or People.

I will attempt to try and explain at least 3 of the reasons behind this situation; reason one has to be that the postcard has become unfashionable, with instant communication all over the World seemingly available to everyone, this trend will surly continue, thus relegating the postcard to even more of a novelty.

Secondly the pace of change at many international airports has meant that any cards published are out-of-date very quickly, with very image conscious Airport company's,
Authority's and Governments, not going to like "Yesterdays views", this of course crosses over to the airlines and company's that use the airport themselves, so any images produced have to tread a fine line with what is considered good and bad publicity.

Thirdly the one word that has become synonymous with anything associated with airports, "Security", I will not dwell on this subject as much has been written and will continue to
be written, but there were many rumours that after threats and attacks at various airports around the world that all airport postcards at those airports were withdrawn and destroyed ! the truth I suspect is somewhere in between.

Despite the above, airport postcards are still produced today, with long range aerial or multi views of the airport preferred, mostly in the larger size modern format, these are available at bookstalls and news stands at some International and National Airports, a few have their own aviation or pilot shops which stock postcards, there is also a trend to privately produced limited edition airport postcards, although these are usually only available at aviation fairs and postcard events.

As with all postcard collecting there is no guarantee you will find anything, but the reason why we do it, is, "The thrill of the chase", you just never know what you will find, it is easy to find postcards at an aviation or postcard fair but with aircraft makers, airlines and airports, what I would call; "Front line collecting", many things have changed in the last 35 to 40 years, many doors have closed but also many alternative doors have opened.

That concludes article 2 (Part 1).

Added: 6th April 2013

The World of, "The Aviation Postcard Man"

Article one;  "The Basics"

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome.

Postcard collecting of any kind since the dawn of the postcard era has always been a mixture of emotions; anticipation, excitement,
happiness, and even sadness, they can all revolve around the sending or receiving of postcards, and then after a while, the decision to keep, throw-away, give, bequeath or sell; most, I suspect, keep for a while, and either leave on the mantle piece, (remember them ?), throw in a draw, or for the more personal keepsakes, put in a scrap-book, postcard or photograph album.

I believe for most people, the arrival of a postcard through the letterbox is still looked at with joy and wonderment, far more so than the many e-mails we receive on a regular basis, whatever you choose to do with your postcards, here are few things you should and should not do.

Do not stick or glue into or onto anything; do not trim or cut cards; try and keep as dry and flat as possible, and do not leave in direct sun light; to this, collectors and dealers will add, do not throw away, burn or re-cycle, (unless they have hundreds of them already of course) !

If you keep away from the above, (some would say including collectors and dealers !), then what to do ?.... there are many solutions, but the old reliable, in-expensive guru of any postcard collection is; 'the shoe box', it will probably never be replaced, they are freely available, come in all sizes, and it, "packs, stacks and racks", as somebody once said ! 

Having waxed lyrical about the shoe box there is of course one big problem, it does not score any points for presentation, so if you want to impress anybody with your unique postcard collection, pulling out an old battered size 10 box, (even if you do paint the underneath red), is not going to cut-the-mustard !

Postcard and photograph albums are available from most good high street stationary retailers, or for the more serious collector, from
specialist postcard, stamp and colle
ctibles, retailers and dealers; most, if not all, are available on the World Wide Web, two of the most well known specialist retailers are, "Rob Roy Albums" or, Vera Trinder Ltd,

Note's of caution would be, to avoid, stick-in photo albums, as over a period of time they do effect the reverse of the postcard, and any messages they contain may become eligible, also many older or very cheap albums that use clear plastic pages or leaves, can have a chemical reaction with the more modern, glazed picture postcards, nearly all modern postcard pages now use a "Polyprotec", or similar manufacturing process, so there is little or no chemical reaction, the pages are able to contain all sizes of postcards up to A4, and the album covers themselves come in many colours and sizes.

For the more adventurous collector and those with larger collections there are postcard boxes and cases available from specialist postcard retailers, and for those who's collections have become behemoths and are having to build house extensions, or move into the shed, I cannot help !

Hopefully you will find the information useful in this article as well as perhaps bringing a little, "tongue-in-cheek" smile to those of you who collect or already deal in postcards, most of the information, if not all, has been highlighted or talked about before in one form or another, but whatever you do with your postcards, please look after them and above all, enjoy !

Added: 11th August 2012

Contact Details and Related Links

Roger May  - The Aviation Postcard Man



Mike Charltons - - Airline Postcard Database

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