The stamp box, however, is the single most useful feature.

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It is, however, a very complicated subject and to our delight we found that someone has already done a great deal of work on this topic.

Real Photo has a very detailed compilation of postcard stamp boxes.

Here the format of the box can help to focus in on the chronology.

The mere fact that photographic prints were done with post card backs for mailing hekps to date the images.

There are some photo postcards that appeared a few years earlier. The companies involved and the printing details can be used to date these postcards, even when they were not postally used.

These indentifying marks on the back are normally found stampbox corner.

No where were the postcard photographs more common than in America.

Most of the companies listed here are American (table 1). We see quite a number of these postcards from Germany and central Europe.

Real photo postcards are actual photographs that have been developed onto photographic paper.

They are generally the same size as standard vintage postcards (3-1/2" x 5-1/2").

The scan at the top of this page is a real photo postcard; click on it to view a larger image.