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Postcrossing: How to Select Which Postcard to Send

Canada Post postcard - Canadian Flag

Canada Post postcard - Canadian Flag

If You Have Options

If you choose what card to send and you have options, consider:

  1. Country of origin
  2. Preferences stated in a profile
  3. All types of cards a recipient doesn't want
  4. How many cards from your country a recipient has already received
  5. Their favourite images


Rare Countries

Before you consider any requests a recipient has indicated in their profile, take into account where you send your card from. It may be your own country or a country you travel to. In order to find out where the country stands: on the postcrossing website go to EXPLORE and choose Countries.

All countries are listed with the name, code, number of members, number of cards sent and the approximate population. The rank of the country is determined by the number of sent postcards. Sort it from largest to smallest. So, where does your country stand?

The lower the number of cards sent is, the rarer is the country.

The best card from a rare place will be a card that represents the country architecture, landscape, animals, arts, crafts, people, traditions and it would be even better if a card has the name of the place/city/country on it.

Some users specifically ask not to send them tourist cards. I'm sure that it applies to countries where most postcards come from - Germany, Russia, U.S.A. and others that are at the very top of the list. It’s a loss to have one chance to receive a card from Zimbabwe and get a generic card or as I call them a Teddy Bear card.

However, many postcrossers from rare countries do just that - send Teddy Bear cards or views of Paris or London. I find it upsetting.

But nobody can make any demands. You can send whatever you like and whatever you can.

Mexican Aztec Dancers

As of November 7th, 2019, Mexico ranked #52 with 42,220 cards sent

As of November 7th, 2019, Mexico ranked #52 with 42,220 cards sent

Traveling

If you travel to another rare postcrossing-wise country, consider saving some postcards, in other words, leave room for sending cards from the country of your destination. If you have only five cards and all of them are tied up, there is nothing you can do. But if you have twenty, sending even five from Maldives or Mongolia would bring so much joy to lucky postcrossers!

Sometimes it may be difficult to send from a country that is not your own. You have to be able to find the place where to buy cards and stamps and where to mail them from. If you can, do your best, if you can't, at least you tried.

R-I-F Method

Received - Images - Favourites

For Example, for Canada

When I draw an address, the first thing I check is how many cards from Canada a recipient already has. Canada is on the 15th place which makes it neither common nor rare. Most postcrossers don't have too many cards to begin with (usually under one hundred); therefore not many cards from Canada.

1. Received (R): I check statistics to see exactly how many cards a recipient already has.

2. Images (I): I check the wall of received images. If all of them are uploaded, I check Canada and see what cards they already received in order to avoid sending a duplicate.

3. Favourites (F): I check the favourites section - those images give a very good idea what a recipient really likes. I check Canada section again and see if I have any cards a recipient may want to receive.


That's what I call R - I - F method.

Then I check what a person sends which also refines my choices. Senders tend to pick images that they personally like.

Favourites section is tricky:

Some postcrossers favourite only cards they did not receive, some favourite both, the ones they received and the ones they would like to receive.

Do Not Send Duplicates

You may avoid sending duplicates if the recipient has all images uploaded. Then you can check the received postcards on their wall and check whether the card you are going to send is already there.

However, sometimes two users from the same country send cards almost simultaneously and, believe it or not, these cards are identical. But, in most scenarios, identical cards are sent because a sender did not check the wall.

"Before you will be able to send me a postcard, please select your Country in my Wall of Postcards, than you can see if I have already received the same Card. I would be glad if I didn't receive the same Card more than once."

— user lorrier (from Netherlands)

Checking the Wall Is an Order Too Tall

DearFish (user from China)

It won't take much time to check the wall.

— user DearFish (from China)

Checking the Wall

"It won't take much time to check the wall". Well, it's not always the case. It depends on the size of that wall. If you are from Germany, Russia or U.S.A. and the recipient has already received thousands of postcards, going through that wall may be a tall order. Go to the wall, select "Received", select your country and go through five pages. Each page has sixty images, so you'll end up checking three hundred images, which I consider a considerable enough effort.

But most postcrossers don't have many cards, so checking the wall is relatively easy, especially if you are sending from a country that is not it the top five.

If Not All Images Uploaded

If not all images are uploaded you risk sending a duplicate. But there is such risk even if all images are uploaded. Some postcrossers have over ten thousand cards which could be sent from different countries, but from the sets bought on the Internet. If you are a considerate person, do your best. I only check Canadian cards.

Favourites

Favourites Section is tricky because every postcrosser treats this section differently. Some people provide explanations, but most don't.

Examples of How People Use Their Favourites Wall


1. No favourites - sometimes people want to show that all cards are welcome, all cards are special and that differentiating only hurts feelings of those whose cards are not favourited.


2. All received cards are favourites. It has the same meaning as "No favourites", only it may make senders feel better.


3. Favourites are only the cards a person wants to receive but doesn't have yet.

This approach makes it easier for senders to check what cards a recipient wants and are safe to send without risking to mail a duplicate. As soon as the recipient gets your card, it will be removed from the Favourites section.


4. Favourites are all over the place. A person clicks on every card they like. These Favourites walls have thousands of cards.

On the one hand, it's easier to see how many options you have - of all the cards selected, you'll surely have something similar. These recipients tend to be the ones who welcome all cards.

On the other hand, if the recipient has thousands of received cards, you risk sending a duplicate. But once again, people who favourite a lot of cards, are the good-natured ones.


5. Favourites Are Country-Specific. A user favourites cards that can be received from that country only. Surely, a Teddy Bear on a Rooftop may be cute, but if I have a slim chance of getting one card from Mongolia and even slimmer chance that a sender can mail something similar to my preferences, a Teddy Bear is the worst choice.

Don't ruin your chances. Do your homework: go through the countries you'd love to receive a card and select what you want. You may be lucky.

I went through all possible countries and territories. You never know cards from which rare country you will receive and you have only one chance. Unless, of course, you plan on sending thousands of cards. Then you might receive two or three.


Homework Pays Off

It took quite some time and effort to select favourites from all listed countries and territories, but my homework paid off: on my first anniversary on Postcrossing I received this card from Ghana. It was exactly what I wanted. For me, chances of getting another card from Ghana are practically zero.

A Postcard from Ghana

As of November 12, 2020, Ghana ranked 88th with  3,065 cards sent

As of November 12, 2020, Ghana ranked 88th with 3,065 cards sent

IF-s, BUT-s and THEN-s

There are no IF-s, BUT-s and THEN-s.

You cannot make any demands.

All You Have to Do - Mail a Postcard

All you have to do is to mail a postcard, bought or self-made (homemade), as long as it’s new. However, homemade postcards are one of the most unwelcome types of cards. Most users don’t consider them Real Postcards. These cards will disappoint and upset people and they will consider you a cheap cheater. What’s worse, bad memories stick longer and you will always be remembered as “that person who sent me the worst card”!

The rules of postcrossing do not allow making demands as to which postcard you want to receive and expect compliance, but to be on a safe side, mail a regular real legitimate new postcard.

However, if a recipient explicitly mentions that homemade cards are welcome, then go ahead and mail your creation.


Please, no handmade cards ... I know it's lovely to send something you have personally created ... but this will only unleash the creative daemons in my rattlings.

— User flyingrat (from UK)

HK-451358

User DreamsChiu's own painting made into a self-printed postcard. I think it's a rare postcard.

User DreamsChiu's own painting made into a self-printed postcard. I think it's a rare postcard.

Least Favourite Cards

As much as people dislike advertisement (ad/free) cards, there is no worse offender than folded cards, because, strictly speaking, they are not postcards. In Russian, even the word postcard means an open card. Mail folded cards only if a postcrosser explicitly states that they are welcome.

A Postcard from Estonia

As of November 12, 2020, Estonia ranked #32 with 255,924 cards sent

As of November 12, 2020, Estonia ranked #32 with 255,924 cards sent

  • I love all postcards
  • Can't wait to receive your postcards. I have no preferences.
  • I am not picky, and anything but advertisement is great from u
  • No problem if you don't have such cards, just send what YOU like.
  • I'm very happy for every card. Will be nice to meet you in my mail box!
  • Thank you for all wonderful postcards! I looooooooooooooooooooove postcards!

My only request is that you have fun while choosing and sending me your postcard. Make me discover the universe you live in!

— user Criquette from Canada

Size

Some users ask for the standard (normal or as God intended it to be) size.

Normal size is 4" x 6" (10 cm x 15 cm) is a size of a standard photograph.

There are a couple of reasons for this request:

  1. It's easier to keep all cards in a neat pile or a box.
  2. People make photo albums and the only size that neatly fits in a photo album is a standard photograph size.

Most postcards are 4" x 6" - ish, but not precisely. If a postcard is somewhat smaller, it's fine, but if it doesn't fit into a photo album then it could be upsetting for the recipient. The majority of cards I send do not fit in a photo album.

But as you remember

No one can make any demands.

Canada Post postcards are larger (12 cm x 17 cm), but they are also considered to be of a standard size.

If it's not problem for you, it would be nice to send what a recipient wants. But if you cannot, there is no need to feel guilty. For me, finding postcards of the standard size is the biggest challenge. I bought a few and now I keep them only for those people who specifically ask for the size.

Postcard Size Guide

  • Postcard Size Guide
    This postcard size guide covers the standard postcard size, optional larger postcard sizes, paper weight for postcard thickness and mailing costs and regulations.
Canada Post issues special stamps for each  New Lunar Year. 2018 is the year of the dog.

Canada Post issues special stamps for each New Lunar Year. 2018 is the year of the dog.

Stamps

The choice of stamps is the most controversial and, in my opinion, unreasonable request. Some people are collectors and prefer that you use a few or as many as possible stamps. Some people don't collect, but like postcards with many stamps. I don't collect, but I love seeing as many as possible stamps because it makes a postcard more interesting. However, I understand that it could be very difficult to buy them. With time, I found a way to differentiate between recipients. I have some stamps and depending on the preferences, I can use one or a few stamps, but I don't feel that I have to make a special effort. Nor do I expect it from others.

Stamps: Do Not Use

Some people have a special request:


  • No self-adhesive stamps.
  • No postage prepaid postcards


Do Not Send

Restrictions: Common and Specific

Common Restrictions

  1. No Ad cards
  2. No Free cards
  3. No Envelopes
  4. No Folded cards
  5. No Self-made cards
  6. No Homemade cards
  7. No Self-published cards
  8. No Computer printouts
  9. No Multi-view cards
  10. No Split-images cards

Specific Restrictions

  1. No Sepia Cards
  2. No Vintage Cards
  3. No Recycled paper
  4. No Black and White Cards
  5. No Menus
  6. No Calendars
  7. No Court Subpoenas
  8. No Odd-Shaped Cards
  9. No Medical Appointment Slips
  10. No 3D cards and cards with moving images
  11. No Magazine cuttings badly stuck on cardboard

Your Family Is Not My Family

Do not send photos of your family

Do not send photos of your family

No Photos

  1. No Photos
  2. No Old Photos
  3. No Printed photos on thin paper
  4. No Photos of yourself (your kids, cats or neighbours)
  5. No Photos of any kind

Do Not Send

Restrictions by Subject Matter

  1. No Aerial Views
  2. No Skyscrapers
  3. No Night Scenes
  4. No Military cards
  5. No political cards
  6. No Seasonal greetings
  7. No Alcohol related cards
  8. No Cards with places with no name

Vintage Humourous Postcard

The oldest fishermen tale (Image source: Up North Memories / Flickr)

The oldest fishermen tale (Image source: Up North Memories / Flickr)

Don't Send

  1. No Fish
  2. No Feet
  3. No Eyes
  4. No Tanks
  5. No Skulls
  6. No Nudes
  7. No Flowers
  8. No Peacocks
  9. No Cringy cards
  10. No Dressed Animals
  11. No Babies – Children
  12. No Bible (religious) cards
  13. No "Oh, so adorable bugs!"
  14. No Cats – Dogs – You Name It – Cute Animals

Registered Mail

But, please: DO NOT send me anything by registered letter!!! Usually I am not here when the postman delivers the mail, so I have to drive through half of the town to the main post office to pick it up - always a journey of 1,5 to two hours! A huge loss of time!!!

— -user - Klausdiemaus from Germany

postcrossing-how-to-select-which-card-to-send

Please Send

Cards in a Envelope Together With

  1. Sand
  2. Coins
  3. Stamps
  4. A Magnet
  5. A Tea Bag
  6. A Metropass
  7. A Traffic ticket
  8. A Metro token
  9. A Cinema ticket
  10. A Concert ticket
  11. Herbs and spices
  12. Dried Maple leaves
  13. A Subway/Bus ticket from your country
  14. Gum wrappers from the stick gum only
  15. Anything you can think of - a material proof of your country's existence!

I´m sorry but I send you only postcards, not any stamps, tickets, books, magnets or coins. I hope that you send me a postcard. I think that just a letter is not a postcard.

— user - MillaMagia (from Finland)

Unusual and Rare Requests

Postcards made out of Cereal Boxes

Postcards made out of Cereal Boxes

Tastes Differ. Literally

It depends on your taste, of course, but I think, it is an interesting idea. Don't knock it down before you received one of those.

Send me a card cut out of a cardboard food-productbox from your country. Tell me something about the product what was inside. This would be very nice and not expensive :) I like OREO ;-)

— User - Blauwvinger2010 (from Netherlands)

Exceptional Postcrossers

Some people welcome anything and everything

A Card Made from a Folded One

postcrossing-how-to-select-which-card-to-send

You can send [...] everything what is possible to put in a Mailbox and where you can stuck a stamp on ;-) I can´t understand why some people say a folded Postcard isn't´t a *real* Postcard ?!

— User: Antje321 (from Germany)

Send Your Undesirables

Odd Requests

Some people will ask you for the ugly cards, or the cards that you keep passing because nobody wants them. Some will ask an explanation why you hate the card you are sending, some won't.


Send me something YOU love or a card you HATE! Send me that card that you can't get rid of (but let me know if it is one you love or one you hate!)

Please don't worry about duplicates. You aren't a duplicate! I have received a lot of cards and I love them all. Each one is different in its own way."

— - user - Shelleh from the United States


When I first came across such odd requests, I felt uncomfortable sending my least favourite cards. As time passes, my pile of "no-go" cards grows. I don't necessarily hate them, but there is hardly anyone I can send them to. Yes, of course, no one can make any demands, but faced with options, I choose a better match to send.

Next time I will better appreciate postcrossers who are welcoming other people's rejects.

I Applaud the Tolerance

I didn't think it was a Real postcard, but it was. I know I cannot make any demands, but I hope that I will never receive the Russet Orange.

A Pantone Russet Orange Postcard

A Pantone Postcard - some people like them, but most don't

A Pantone Postcard - some people like them, but most don't

REMEMBER

You cannot make demands

I like【illustration】【illustration】【illustration】

The important thing need to be said for 3 times.

— user - DearFish from China

Once again. No one can make any demands

and if an important things should be said three times:


  1. No one can make any demands.
  2. No one can make any demands.
  3. No one can make any demands.


Shopping or wish lists that people have

are there to help you choose a card when you have choices.


By Subject Matter

Common

  1. Cats
  2. Maps
  3. Flags
  4. Culture
  5. Food/Recipes
  6. Tourist (view) cards
  7. Traditional costume
  8. National arts and crafts
  9. UNESCO'S World Heritage Sites

Less Common

  1. Surprise me
  2. Post Boxes
  3. Lighthouses
  4. Roller coasters
  5. Bunny Suicides
  6. Gay related cards
  7. Nudes (men only)
  8. Art by specific artists
  9. Cards of Unusual Size or Shape
  10. Russian fairy tales & Soyuzmultfilm

Stated in an Interesting Way

【PROVIDE】

●●Photographic works by myself

●●China World Heritage List

【REFUSE】

Kraft paper CARD.Famous people CARD.Any about cat.Special-shaped Card.

— User - Ah-Chai from China

By Country (Country Specific)

Japan Gotochi (Aichi) Postcard - Inuyama Castle

Japan Gotochi (Aichi) Postcard - Inuyama Castle

For Example

  1. Belarus: Fauna of Belarus
  2. Canada: Justin Trudeau
  3. Czechia: Krtek
  4. Estonia: Folk costume
  5. Germany: Chronikkarten
  6. Japan: Gotochi cards, Shinto Shrines
  7. The Netherlands: Tulips, Windmills, Bicycles, Tall People
  8. New Zealand: cards from Pikitia
  9. Russia: Sochi Olympic Games, Lake Baikal, Soviet Era postcards, Soyuzmultfilm
  10. Taiwan: Milu Design shape cards, Taroko National Park, Sun Moon Lake, Lungshan Temple
  11. U.S.A.: Navaho Sand Paintings
  12. U.K.: Changeringing

By Preferred Artist

For Example

List of artists from Finland, Russia and U.S.A. that may be in demand on Postcrossing

FinlandRussiaU.S.A.

Inge Löök

Alexei Dolotov

Anne Taintor

Kaj Stenvall

Inga Paltser

Carl Barks

Katja Saario

Irina Garmashova

Don Rosa

Mauri Kunnas

Irina Zeniuk

Edward Gory

Minna Immonen

Lia Selina

Edward Hopper

Virpi Pekkala

Victor Chizhikov

Joseph Cornell

 

Victoria Kirdiy

Mark Ryden

 

Yuri Norstein

Norman Rockwell

 

 

Ruth Sanderston

 

 

Tasha Tudor

 

 

Thomas Kinkade

All Sorts of Characters

For Example

BelgiumEnglandJapan

Boute et Bill

Paddington Bear

Hello Kitty

Lucky Luke

Peter Rabbit

Hakuoki

The Smurfs

Shaun the Sheep

Kumamon

Tintin

 

Rilakumma

 

 

Sanrio

Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom

CATS - by Various Artists

Very Popular Blue Cats by Irina Zenyuk

Blue cats by Irina Zenyuk

Blue cats by Irina Zenyuk


  1. Amylyn Bihrle
  2. Anna Hollerer
  3. Anna Wischin
  4. Anne Mortimer
  5. Debbie Cook
  6. Irina Garmashova
  7. Irina Zeniuk
  8. Lesley Anne Ivory
  9. Makoto Muramatsu
  10. Nadezhda Sokolova
  11. Oxana Zaika
  12. Persis Clayton Weirs
  13. Renate Koblinger
  14. Victoria Kirdiy
  15. Vladimir Rumyantsev


By Publishing House

Spain - Escudo de Oro publisher postcards

Spain - Escudo de Oro publisher postcards

User toucans (from Great Britain)

  • Belgium - Thill-Nels
  • Denmark - Trojaborg
  • Eire/Ireland - John Hinde
  • France - Valoire-Estel/Productions Leconte, Guy
  • Germany - Schöning Verlag, Hans Huber
  • Iceland - Sólarfilma
  • Israel - Palphot
  • Japan - NBC
  • Luxembourg - Thill-Nels
  • Netherlands - van der Meulen Sneek
  • New Zealand - Colourview/Fotocentre, New Zealand Souvenir Co/Pictorial Publications
  • Norway - Aune
  • Poland - DDK
  • Portugal - Guia Turístico do Norte/Forways, Michael Howard, Vistal
  • Scotland - Whiteholme
  • South Africa - Art Publishers
  • Spain - Escudo de Oro
  • Switzerland - Photoglob
  • Turkey - Keskin
  • Ukraine - Балтія-Друк (Baltia Druk)
  • United Arab Emirates - Awni
  • United Kingdom - Judges, J Salmon, John Hinde
  • United States of America - John Hinde Curteich, Smith-Southwestern

By Sets, Series and Numbers

Some users will ask you for cards from a particular series. But instead of asking for cards they need, they will display cards they already have in the most inconvenient way.

Design Inge Look

Design Inge Look:1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/20/
21/22/23/24/25/26/27/28/29/30/31/32/33/34/35/36/37/38/40/41/42/43/
44/45/46/47/48/49/50/52/101/103/104/105/106/109/110/111/112/113/114/117//120/121/219/

More Compact Version

Have:

  1. # 1 - 38
  2. # 40 - 52
  3. # 103 - 106
  4. # 110 - 114

Need:

  1. # 39
  2. # 53 - 100
  3. # 102, # 107 - 108

Postcard Books

  • Guess How Much I Love You
  • The Medici Society
  • Where's Waldo
  • Strawberry Moshi Rabbit
  • Green Banana Cards
  • Jip en Janneke

A Shaped Postcard from Croatia

As of November 12, 2020, Croatia ranked #46 with 81,881 cards sent

As of November 12, 2020, Croatia ranked #46 with 81,881 cards sent

By Temporal Themes

Sometimes users who already have thousands of cards like to use a theme for each month. They will display how many cards they received for that theme.

Month20152017

January

Sea

Keep Calm

February

Birds

Nouvelle Images

March

Foxes

Postallove

April

Quotes

Famous People

May

Butterflies

Theater

June

Turtles

Dance

July

Castles

Vintage

August

Trains

Pinup Girls

September

Cakes

Autumn

October

Illustrations

Harvest

November

Brands

Forest

December

Christmas

Glass

A Postcard from Germany

My 200th card came from Germany. It says "even though it takes a long time, it finally arrives".

My 200th card came from Germany. It says "even though it takes a long time, it finally arrives".

Thanks to every postcrosser (the majority I am happy to say!) who has made [...] an effort to send me a card fitting more or less into my preferences. For me, I enjoy at least as much choosing a card for a person whose profile I have just read as receiving a card, and maybe even more as I feel that the recipient will be happy and smile when getting a card he/ she likes!

— user - maroussia from China

Feedback Is Welcome

Was this information useful?

What questions or suggestions do you have?

Let me know in the comments section.

Happy Postcrossing!


Postcards and Culture

Postcards and Culture

© 2018 kallini2010

Comments

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on February 21, 2018:

Hello, Flourish. Thank you for your comment! Yes, the blue cats are adorable (you can check the images on the web "blue cats by Irina Zenyuk").

Most people are not too demanding, the shopping lists help choosing a card and the longer it is, the more likely it is that you might have something close or of similar type.

I just try navigating through "don't". Most people are nice, some are very thoughtful and a few send "whatever or it'll do" cards. And I like those too. It makes me wonder - what on earth did this person think?

The trick of getting cards you want is a carefully written shopping list. I fine tune mine often.

Since it is hard to write to a stranger, most users say - you can write this or you can write that. (One person was asking to specify the time of dispatch. It certainly stood out).

I ask for a message with a question. Most people ignore it, but sometimes it is so lovely to get something completely unpredictable.

The best question I received - a postcard with the word "question" (look up on google this string "Harald Geisler keyboard 2000 postcard"). It still makes me smile.

I don't complain about my cards. I love them all.

But!

I chose my favourite and put them in a desktop background rotation. Every thirty minutes, it's another postcard. So nice!

By the way, did you make a playlist about mail, letters and postcards?

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 21, 2018:

People are so high maintenance with their requests. My favorite out of all the postcards here was the blue cats postcard. But I wouldn’t go down talking someone’s thoughtfully selected card on any topic. Enjoyed this!