I started collecting suffragette postcards a few years ago and I now have a small collection of about fifty original postcards. The price of any memorabilia related to the suffrage movement has soared in the last decade as more and more people are discovering the rich history of this period but anyone can buy an original postcard for a relatively small amount of money.
The best place to start buying for the beginner is EBay and if you buy carefully, an original suffragette postcard can be yours for between ten and twenty pounds. However, many of the rarer postcards can fetch many times that price and only a few weeks ago (March 2015) a suffragette postcard sold for over £400! Watching what different designs are worth can become quite addictive.
It is advisable to watch the listings for a few weeks to get a feel for prices and the ones that you like. You will discover that while the vast majority of the postcards are anti-suffragette in some way, just because there were more anti-suffrage postcards produced than pro-suffrage cards. Many of the postcards are funny, some are cute, and some are downright offensive. I have never been able to bring myself to bid on any of the postcards that show women having their tongues nailed to a table or wearing a scold’s bridle but all of them are fascinating in their own way.
Just a note of caution for buying postcards on the internet; some sellers use the term suffragette very loosely relating to anything that might look like a bossy woman and a hen-pecked man! Some sellers also describe women performing work during WWI as suffragette, even though many thousands of women worked during WWI and were not suffragettes.
Another good source of suffragette postcards are postcard fairs and Auction houses, both of which can be easily found on the internet. The Postcards Traders Association (PTA) has their own website listing upcoming fairs around the country. You will find that not all traders use EBay and there are discoveries to be made. Many auction houses also now list their catalogues online and theSaleroom website allows you to search auction houses across the country and bid online.
Finally, there are two very reputable dealers in Suffragette books and memorabilia and they both have websites where you can see full descriptions of exactly what they have on offer.
Elizabeth Crawford is a London based dealer who has written many books on the Suffrage movement and is very well respected in her field. Find her website here
Naomi Symes is a Cheshire based book dealer specialising in women’s history but she also sells postcards.