With e-mail and texting now the preferred forms of communication for most people, pensioners account for almost 98% of all postcards sent to and from UK addresses. Of these, 67% are from holidaymakers, 26% are entries to competitions of various kinds and 4% are ransom demands.
Holiday postcards generally feature views of the location being visited, although those from Dungeness, Hinkley Point and Sellafield tend to feature a photograph of the Eden project rather than a nuclear reactor.
The average word count on the reverse of such postcards is 37 – or 16 if all references to the weather are excluded, 11 if road numbers are also ignored and four if the address is discounted as well.
The study and collecting of postcards is known as deltiology (from the Greek deltos, meaning ‘sad’) and rare examples of the genre – such as those depicting jellyfish attacking Edwardian bathing machines, Andrew Mitchell riding a tandem with a policeman or working steel mills in Redcar – can command two-figure prices if in mint condition.