Postcard Codes, Abbreviations & Definitions

The below listed code definitions are used by: Most Postcard collectors. It is suggested that you copy/save this list for reference.

Abbreviations Used for indicating CONDITION

CODE DEFINITION CLARIFICATION mt/MT Mint Card has no flaws what-so-ever, same condition as was issued. Usually never used in any way. If postally used, MUST be noted-PMKD. ex/EX Excellent Card may have very slight/faint edge,and corner wear, no face, or back damage at all. No Creases, can be postally used. Canceled on front-allways noted-COF. No Writing on front-allways noted-WOF. vg/VG Very Good Card may have noticeable edge wear and corner damage, face/back have no noticeable damage. Creases are allways noted. Can be postally used. Sometimes Canceled on Front. Could have light writing on front, ususally around edge, or where appropriate to write. gd/GD Good Card can have more noticeable edge wear and corner damage/creases, face/back may have minor damage. Usually postally used. Can have writing on front, edges and/or where appropriate for writiing. fr/FR Fair Card can have very noticeable edge wear and corner damage/creases, face/back can have damage. Creases will be obvious. pr/PR Poor Card has heavy damage in all respects. Usually only kept until a better card is found. Use as a space filler.

NOTE: A (+), or (-) may be used to distinguish between the above values.
Abbreviations Used Within Descriptions

CODE........WORD..............EXAMPLE ( ) Special info To describe card/view, etc. (___) Used for Inventory [ ] Added notes (?) Question -a, -b, -c, -d Variations of same number 19th 19th Century 20th 20th Century 21st 21st Century a/s Artist signed aab Album adherence's on back aaf Album adherence's on front AB Abbreviations abm/ABM Album add Added ado Add-on Ex: ado-feathers adv/ADV Advertising ai Airline issue Ex: (ai) AI as is (not returnable) aic Album impressions at corners airb Airbrush albm/AM Album marks Ex: lt-albm-cnrs-frt/bk alm Aluminum alr Address label removed amb Album marks on back ambro Ambrotype amf Album marks on face AN Another Number AO Add-on attached to Card aob/AOB Advertising on back aof/AOF Advertising on front ap/AP Another Publisher APO Army Post Office arch Architectural ASI As IS (Not returnable) att Attached av/AV/avg Average AWOB All writing on back AWOF All writing on front B born BAS Bas-relief bb Bamboo BB Blue-Black b/w,B/W Black and White bc Bent corner/s bdr/BDR Border Ex: yl-bdr bk/BK Back Ex: bk-dmg bkc/BKC Booklet card bkgd/bgd Background bkt/BKT Booklet bl/BL Blue lettering blk/BLK Black BM Bottom bp Browning or brownish paper bra Brass brc Business reply card bre Business reply envelope brn/BN Brown/browning bs Blue-sky bt/BT Black title/words btm Bottom cap/CAP Capitol Ex: cap-letters calos Calotypes cb Citizen's band(radio) cc Corner crease cds Circular date stamp CDV Carte de Visite cew Corner & edge wear cf/CF Cyanide Finish(bluish tone finish) chr/chrm Chrome col Color cpr Copper cm Cream cmc/CMC Comic CO Circle cof/COF Cancel on front Ex: lt-COF comm Commercial cont/CONT Continental - Usually larger cards published after 1940's cop Copper cover Envelope issue (may or may not be first day issue) cpr:/c:/cy:/c: Copyright Ex: cy: 1903, c: 1903, cpr: 1903 cr Crease Ex: lt-cr-UL-cnr crc Crushed corner crn/s Corner Ex: crn-wr c/mod Chrome or Modern cto/CTO Cancel to Order CTR Center cu/CU Close up cv Catalog Value cwr Corner wear and rounding cy/CY Cyanide Ex: Pa-CY D Died dag Daguerreotype db Different Back DE/sn Seen - Do not know Where diff Different dist/distr Distributor DN Different Negative DO Ditto - Same Words div Divided back - also D/B dk Dark Ex: dk-stn-LR-cnr dmg Damage Ex: bk-dmg-UL doc Documentary dpo/DPO Discontinued Post Office dup Duplicate dv/DV Different view dwob Description Written on back(Publisher) ec Exceptional Color ed/edg Edge Ex: ed-wr, edg-wr efo/EFO Error/freaks & oddities egst Envelope glue show through emb/EMB Embossed EMBR Embroidered error Error ew Edges worn ewb Extraneous writing on back exag/EXAG Exaggeration expo/EXPO Exposition Also "EXPO-pm" Exposition Postmark fa Fresh appearance fb/FB Full Bleed (Picture has no frame) fc Flag Cancel fdi First Day Issue - cancel ffc/FFC First Flight Cover fgb French Green Back flat Not embossed fdr/FDR Folder (Many views) FDG Foreground FO Foldout ( 2-3-4 cards connected) frme/FRME/F Frame Ex: wh-frme frt/FRT Front/frontier ft/FT Faint Ex: ft-ed-wr gb Green back (French) gl/GL/GA Glitter added glu/GLU Glue gn/GRN Green Ex: grn-frme gp/GP Government Postal gp Government-issued Postal card gpo General Postal Ofice (cancels) gr/GR grey grt/GRT grey title/words GS Gelatin Surface gt/GT/G Green title/words gtg/grt Greeting hc/HCT Hand colored or tinted hg Hinged hi High hist/HIST Historical hpo/HPO Highway Post Office hr Hing Remnants htl/HTL Hold to light htb Heavy toning on back htf Heavy toning on face hvd Heavy Damage hvy Heavy Ex: hvy-cr-LR hz/horz Horizontal ic Internal crease incl Included/includes IOB Information on back ind/IND Indian info/inf Information isb Ink smear(ed) on back isf Ink smear(ed) on front ist Inconspicuous small tear jbo Jumbo (larger than Continental-CONT) land landscape lc Long crease lcg Low contrast (grayish) lcn/LCN Location EX: LCN-red lea Leather lf Lacks freshness (dingy) LF Left lg/LG Lettering Ex: B/W-LG lge Large Ex: lge-stn-UR-ed L Light lh Lightly hinged lin/l Linen ll/LL Lower left Ex: tr-LL lls/LLS Large Letters logo/LOGO Logo (stamp, or emblem) lr/LR Lower right Ex: sm-stn-LR-cnr lt Light Ex: lt-stn-UR ltb Light toning on back ltf Light toning on face ltr/ltrs Letter/s luc/LUC City unknown lus/LUS State unknown lun/LUN Location Unknown m Monochrome(colors that vary) m2/3/,etc. Nbr/views on card Ex: m3-UR max/MAX Maximum mb Minimum bid med Medium mf/MF/FO Multi-fold - Foldout connected cards mi/MI Miscellaneous Information mil/MIL Military min/MIN Minimum misc/MSC Miscellaneous ml/ML Moonlight mnh/MNH Mint never hinged mo Much oxidation(photos) mp/MP Misprint ms/MS Misspelling monc Monochrome(color) mono Monotone ML Moonlight mt/MT Margin tear mv/MV() Multi-view EX: mv(2) mvc/MVC() Multi-view (card connected in strip) mw/MW/MVN More words - May not be shown EX: -MW MWB More Words/description on back mwob/MWOB More words on back(printed by Publisher) EX: MWOB mwof/MWOF More words on front(Printed by Publisher) mxb/MXB Mixed back EX: E H Mitchell's MXB-S4A/S5A NE No Emblem neg Negative nh Never hinged nm/NM Near Mint nn No Number no/nbr/# Number Ex: nbr-1234, no 12, #12 NOF Number on front NNS Publisher not Shown nonp Non-postcard npb No Postcard back npw/NPCW Nat.Postcard Week nsp Non-sports NSB Number in Stamp Box nw/NW No Words oc Orchid ofw Off white og/OG Original gum omb (former)Owner mark on back on-/ON- Other number EX: ON-1234 onb On back Ex: adv-onb onbr/otn Other Number onf On front Ex: adv-onf or Orange Ex: or-bkgnd ov/OV/OVB Oval/border ovp/OVP Overprint ow Otherwise pa Paper pc/PC Postcard pf Perfs ph Pinhole Ex: ph-UL-ed photo/foto Photograph card Ex:photo-AZO pib Pertinent information on back pio/pion Pioneer pic Picture Ex: pic-rect pk Pink pm Postmaster pmc/PMC Private Mailing Card pmkd/pm Postmarked Ex: pmkd1911 pn Pioneer era PNA Published by Newman pnp Photo not a postcard Port Portable pb Plate Block pol Polar pos Positive pp/PP Prepaid pre Pre Ex: pre-1905 prelin/pl Prelinen pmof/PMOF Postmarked on front pstb Paper stuck to back(removed from old album) pstlc Postal card ptr Printer pu/PU Post-ally used pub/PUB Publisher Ex: pub-COLO pur/PS Purple/stamped qsl/QSL Ham radio cards PW Pictorial Wonderland R/r Replace ROATW Road of a Thousand Wonders rci Rounded corners as issued rect Rectangle ref Reference ret/RET Retouched rd/R Red repro/repr Reproductions rfd Rural Federal (Free) Delivery rfoa Removed from old album RGT Right rl/RL Red Lettering rlf Relief Ex: high-rlf rp/RP Real Photo rpo/RPO Railroad Post Office rppc/RPPC Real Photo Postcard rr Rod&Rose (Logo on divided back) rt/RT Red title sar stuck album remnants SAS/sas Same as other numbers sb/SB Stampbox Ex: sb-DOPS sc Slogan cancel scc Small corner crease sd Stamp damage seb Serrated edge/s from booklet sed Serrated edge/s SEN Censored (usually by Military) sep/sepia Sepia ser/srs/sers Series sf/SF Space filler sht Sheet SIL Satin-inlay sl Slight Ex: sl-ed-wr slt Slanted s/m Stamp missing or gone sm Small Ex: sm-smg-bk smg Smudge Ex: smg-UR sn/SN Seen do not have sne Stain near edge snm/SNM Stamped-never mailed so Slight oxidation (not to a fault) sob/SOB Signed on back sof/SOF Signed on front son Sock on the nose cancel sr/SR stamp removed sq Square ss/SS/S/s Souvenir Sheet ssb Small scrape on back ssf Small scrape on front sr Stamp removed st Street ST Sepia Tone(brownish color) STP Stripe stero Stereotype/stenography stfo Stamp fell off Ex: stfo-no dmg stmr Stamp removed Ex: stmr-dmg stn Stain Ex: stn-LL sv/SV Side View T1 On the Road of Thousand Wonders. T2 On the Line of the S. P. R. R. T3 On the Line of the Southern Pacific Ry. T4 Reached Via the Salt Lake Route. T5 As Seen on Tilton's Trolley Trip, Los Angeles. T6 By Permission of Key Route. tan Tan tc Transfer clerk tiny Tiny Ex: tiny-smg-UL tm/TM Trademark Ex: tm-owl in circle tn/tt Tinted Ex: tn-gn to/TO Tear-out (from a Booklet) tr Tear Ex: tr-UR-cnr trb Tape pieces on back trf Tape pieces on front tit Title trb Tape remnant/s on back trf Tape remnant/s on front tv/TV Top view u Used ud Unusually detailed ueb Uneven edge from booklet ul/UL Upper left Ex: stn-UL-ed un/unu Unused und/ub Undivided back unident/uni Unidentified Ex: pub:uni unk/UNK Unknown Ex: pub:unk ur/UR Upper right Ex: tr-UR-cnr used Used USA/US United States America USM Unusual Subject matter vert/vt/v Vertical vig/VIG Vignette Ex: vig-wh-frme vlu Very late usage vw View (Can have nbr in front) WA Words Added wbe White border era (c.1920-1935) wd Wooden wdob Words on back wh White Ex: wh-bkgd w/b White Border WS White Strip W/O Without wob/WOB Written on Back(message by user) wof/WOF Written on Front(message by user) WOV Words without verse W/V Words with Verse wp wavy paper(will not lue flat) wr Wear Ex: ed-wr www/WWW World Wide Web, also- Wide Wide World(Tuck Cards) yb Yellowing or yellowish paper yl/yel Yellow Ex: yl-bdr, yl-pa ( ) A number within indicates lot "-" Numbered in Consecutive Order "/" Not numbered in consecutive Order "?" Question

Below are some other helpful definitions of terms that may be of some use to new Postcard collectors.

Antique Postcard: Generally any postcard published before WW I.
Arcade Card: Postcard size, but without a postcard back. Usually came from vending machines
Artist Signed: The artist's signature is reproduced with the artwork on the postcard.
Chrome Era: The term Chrome originated with Kodak's Kodachrome film. Chromes were the first color postcards produced from color film and printed with the photo mechanical process. Union oils of 1939 were the first chromes.
Chromolithograph: Sometimes called "Chromo" a reproduction process using finely grained lithographic tones from continuous-tone negatives.
Continental Size: Postcards measuring 4" by 6". Most published after 1940's. Many Foreign cards are were also published prior to 1940's.
Deltiology: The collecting and study of postcards. The words is derived from "delti" (Little picture) and "logy" theory, science, or study of.
Golden Age The period between the Spanish American War and World War I when the collecting of postcards was at it's peak.
Linen Era: Were widely printed in the U.S. in the late 1930's and early 1940's when access to quality European printing was restricted by high tariffs. Linens are typically printed in vivid colors on paper with a line-textured surface, and they tend to have a shadowless airbrushed appearance.
Pioneer Postcard: A postcard produced prior to July 1, 1898 of the Private Mailing Act of May 19, 1898.
Private Mailing Card: A card mailed between 1898 and 1902.
Standard Size: Postcard measuring 3 1/2" by 5 1/2", either vertical, or horizontal.
Real Photo: A picture postcard made directly on photographic paper with a postcard back.
SASE: Self addressed, stamped envelope. A query which does not include remittance, but where a reply is expected, should allways be accompanied by an SASE.

Abbreviations used for Common Publishers/Venders/Printers/Artists


AB Bruce, A., Hoquim, Wash. AFB A. F. Broad 48 Third St., San Francisco ALB Albertype ALC Art Litho Co. ALMZ Alfred Mainzer AND Allen News Depot ALW Art Litho Co. - For Wall Nichols Co., Ltd. ASH Ashville (linen) BA Bardol BAP Bardell Art Ptg.Co., San Francisco, California. PS: There may be a connection with Collins - McCarthy Candy Company of San Francisco in the 1911-1915 era. It will require more investigation! BBL B B London BO Bardell & On'neill, San Francisco, California. BRD Bardell Art Ptg. Co. San Francisco BP Bardell Process, San Francisco, California. CAG Gerhard, C.A. Corvallis, Oregon CB Cheney Bros., Healdsburg, California. CBS Cannons Book Store - Roseburg, Oregon CCP Pierce, C. C. & Co. CD Case & Draper CDC Cann Drug Co., Reno, Nevada CEN Nailor, C.E.& Co., Port Angeles, Washington CLA Aydelotte, C.L., Santa Cruz, Cal. CMB Bruner, C.M., Santa Rosa, Cal. COF Cawston Ostrich Farm, So. Pasadena, Cal. COLO Colourpicture CP California Postcard Co., Los Angeles, California. CRS Savage, C.R., Salt Lake, Utah CS California Sales CTA C.T.American Art CTAC C.T.ArtColortone CURT Curteich CVC Cardinal Vincent Co., San Francisco, U.S.A. CW Charles Weidner DET Detroit Publishing(Phostint) DMI Imlay, D.M., Spokane, Wash. DP Dexter Press -- chrome EAB Bardel, E.A. & Co., Norwich, Conn. EAS Evans Art Store, Bellingham Bay, Wash. ECK E C Kropp EHM E H Mitchell EMP Empire Distributor Co., Vancouver B.C. EPC/CH E.P. Charlton & Co. EP1/CH1 Ditto - San Francisco, Cal. EP2/CH2 Ditto - Portland, Oregon EP3/CH3 Ditto - Los Angeles, Cal. EP4/CH4 Ditto - Sacramento, Cal. EP5/CH5 Ditto - San Diego, Cal. EP6/CH6 Ditto - Oakland, Cal. EP7/CH7 Ditto - Fresno, Cal. EP8/CH8 Ditto - Tacoma, Wash. EP9/CH9 Ditto - Seattle, Wash. EP10/CH10 Ditto - Spokane, Wash. EP12/CH12 Ditto - Stockton, Cal. ESE E. Schwartzchild, Eugne, Oregon EVA Evans Art Store, Bellingham Bay, Wash. FC Fields & Cole Co., Santa Cruz, Cal. FDS Shaw, F.D., Hotel Spokane, Spokane, Wash. FMO Ordway, F.M. & Sons, Merced, Cal. FR Rosenthal, F., Tulare, Cal. GAG G. A. Gerard, Corvallis, Oregon GAM Gabriel Moulin, San Francisco, Cal. GDH Horton, G.T., Snohomish, Wash, GG Goeggel & Weidner GLM Minott, G.L., Gardner, Mass. GM Graham Merriam, The Co., Seattle, Wash. HD Hawes and Dusterberry, Centerville, Cal. HJJ Jones, H.J., Albany, Oregon HOF Hopf Bros, Seattle, Washington. HSC H S Crocker HTT H T Tammen HWS Simkins, H.W., Palo Alto, Cal. IMP IMPACT (Continental) JA Johnston - Ayers Co. JBC Caro, J.B., Juneau, Alaska JFE Eicherly, J.F., Juneau, Alaska JMS Schemel, J.M., Gilroy, Cal. JSP Steiner, Joseph, Port Townsend, Wash. JSS Svenson, John KOK Kokusansha, Japan KTH Keith, David, Wenatchee, Wash. LEV Levinson, Harry, Visalia, Cal. LONG Longshaw LOW Lower California Commercial Co., Inc. Lower California, Mexico LUST Lusterchrome MBS Sneded, M.B., Niles, Cal. MET Metropolitan MR Mike Roberts (chrome) MAC Mission Art & Curio Store, Monterey, Cal. MRDR/MRD M. Reider, Los Angeles, Cal. MS Smith, Mrs. M., Vallejo, Cal. MZ Maze, The, Petaluma, Cal. NHR N. H. Reed NDC Newlin Drug Co., La Grande, Oregon NPPC/NPC Newman Postcard Co. (Also see-ONC/OSK) NPW National Postcard Week OEG Goetz, O.E., Nome, Alaska OLD Owl Drug Co., Oakland, Cal. OLK Owl Drug Co., Lakeport, Cal. OLS Owl Drug Co., San Francisco, Cal. OLL Owl Drug Co., Los Angeles, cal. ONC/ON Oscar Newman OSK/OS Oscar Newman OWL Owl Drug Co. PBS Pioneer Book Store PET Bob Petley PIL Stanley A Piltz (linen) PNC Pacific Novelty PPCC Pacific Publishing Co (Vancouver B.C., Canada) PPC Portland Postcard Co. POL The Polin Brothers, Post Office News Stand, Goldfield. RND Rand Bros., Oakland, Cal. R&D/S&R/ROD Sword & Rose E H Mitchell & other Venders RHO Rhodes 10 cent Store, Seattle, Wash. RHW Warfield, R.H. & Co., Prop of California Hotel SAD Sadlers, Berkeley, Cal. SBS Sherfey's Book Store, Moscow, Idaho SF S. F. Card Co. - S. A. Pratt SH Shaw & Hodgins, Snohomish, Wash. SIN Sing Fat & Co., Publisher, San Francisco SIS Inch, S. & Son, Placerville, Cal. SMS Smith's Book Store, Dawson, Y.T. (Yukon Territory) SMB Smith Bros., Oakland, Cal. SMW Smith Western Inc., Portland, Oregon. SOU/SV/SPC Souvenir Publishing Co., San Francisco, Cal. SSW Smith South Western SVC Scenic View TIC Tichnor TK Thatcher and King, Lewiston, Idaho TUCK Raphael Tuck & Sons - England TUT Tuttle Co., The, Rutland, Vermont UO Union Oils 76 VOR Van Ornum Colorprint Co., Los Angeles VTM McCroskey, V.T., Colfax, Wash. WAB Baird, W.A., Newsdealer, Baker City, Oregon WFK Kelly, W.F. WIN Winsch, John WN Wall, Nichols Co., Ltd., Honolulu, Hawaii WP Watt's Pharmacy, Pullman, Wash.