Postcard Codes, Abbreviations & Definitions

The Listed code definitions below are used by most postcard collectors. I tis suggested that you copy / save this list for reference.

Go to Publisher / Vendor listing

California Counties Index

Abbreviations used for Indicating Condition




Note: A (+) sign or (-) sign may be used to distinguish between values below



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.



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-always noted-COF. No Writing on front-always noted-WOF.


Very Good

Card may have noticeable edge wear and corner damage, face/back have no noticeable damage. Creases are always noted. Can be postally used. Sometimes Canceled on Front. Could have light writing on front, usually

around edge, or where appropriate to write.



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 writing.



Card can have very noticeable edge wear and corner damage/creases, face/back can have damage. Creases will be obvious.



Card has heavy damage in all respects. Usually only kept until a better card is found. Use as a space filler.

Other Helpful definiton of terms that may be of some use to new poastcard collections



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.


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.


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 earlu 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


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 within Descriptions



*           Have this card

( )         Special info – Part of Card   

(___)       Used for Inventory

[ ]         Added notes

?           Question about card

a, b, c, d  Variations of same number

19th        19th Century

20th        20th Century

a/s         Artist signed

aab         Album adherences on back

aaf         Album adherences 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 lettering

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

cb          Citizen's band(radio)

cc          Corner crease

cds         Circular date stamp

CDV         Carte de Visite

cew/cnr     Corner & edge wear

cf/CF       Cyanid Finish(bluish tone finish)

chr/chrm    Chrome

col         Color

Colos       Collotypes

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:/CR Copyright        Ex: cy-1903, c:1903, cpr-1903

cr/crs      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: Paper-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 Office (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          Hinge 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

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

NVM         Never mailed

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          Perforations

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       Postally 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/sterograph

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 remnent/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

Abbreviations used for Common Publishers/Venders/Printers/Artists

NOTE: Use the SEARCH feature to find Postcards available for sale!


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

*TM         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.