Wish you were here!

IF David Whiting set out his postcard collection end-to-end, the colourful pictures would stretch from his home in Trimley St Martin all the way to Ipswich.


Felixstowe editor


IF David Whiting set out his postcard collection end-to-end, the colourful pictures would stretch from his home in Trimley St Martin all the way to Ipswich.

For David has an incredible 86,000 postcards, collected from all over the world over the past 40 years.

If they had all been sent at today's first class price, the postage alone would amount to nearly £30,000.

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At least one a day arrives at his home in Sandy Close and the postman is so used to delivering them that a recent one from a friend in Bad Godesberg near Bonn, Germany, addressed just “Postman: Guess Who” with his postcode made it with ease.

Mr Whiting, 53, a member of Mensa, keeps his postcards in crates and indexes them with a card system.

“I do get them all out from time to time and look at them - I just find them fascinating,” he said.

“I only collect modern postcards and I just think they are attractive and educational, and I love travel and languages and they just help me to combine these two loves.

“The hobby has also made me many friends around the world, especially among people who regularly send each other cards.”

Mr Whiting, who lives with his wife Jeannette , began collecting cards as a teenager to keep a record of places he visited - both for the excellent photographs and the information many cards have on the back.

“I like places of interest such as castles, churches, historic places, ruins, but other collectors specialise in different things. One collector I know only collects UNESCO world heritage sites, others prefer landscapes or whatever,” he said.

“As well as linking up with people around the world, I go to charity shops and other places and I might pay £10 or £20 for postcards if they are ones I really want.”

Although there are thousands of postcards charting the history of the Felixstowe area from Victorian times, Mr Whiting is not particularly interested in these.

“I prefer modern cards. Since I joined the postcrossing.com website I have managed to collect many from around the world, especially small countries which do not have a tradition of postcard sending and do not produce as many each year,” he said.

“It's not a collection which can ever be completed because there are so many producers bringing out new cards each year.”

He is fluent in many languages, including Japanese, Portuguese, French, German, Spanish, Danish, Dutch and Swedish, and translating the cards is part of the fun.

Do you have an unusual hobby? Contact the Evening Star Newsdesk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Postcard collecting

Deltiology is the hobby of collecting postcards - the third largest collectable hobby in the world after coin and stamp collecting.

The first postcard was sent in Austria in 1869 by Dr Emanuel Herrmann - a plain white card simply providing a cheap means for brief communications, being lighter and more easily handled than letters.

Sending postcards in Britain began in 1870 but it was not until 1894 when the Post Office gave the green light to their private publication for use through the mail that picture postcards started to became more common - usually seaside and city views.

By 1902, cards had been published featuring the Boer War and royal events, and in that year, the Post Office allowed both address and message to be written on one side of the card, freeing up the whole of the other for the picture.

From then on, postcards exploded in popularity - people bought them to keep as souvenirs as well as to send to friends, and postcards had their first golden era as collectables.

A magazine was published from 1900-07 to cater for the craze, and postcards were issued on every conceivable subject. Millions went through the postal system every week, and a high proportion finished up in someone's album.

After a period of decline, the postcard began to be regain popularity in the 1970s as an advertising and art item, and today has a high profile again in High Street shops, lifestyle bars and cafes, and entertainment venues.