ONE of Britain’s oldest hobbies is fighting back after suffering major blows since the COVID-19 pandemic, as Woking hosts a two-day postcard fair this week.

Some 69 dealers from England, Wales, Scotland, Germany and the USA will attend the event, which is a sell-out for stallholders. Organisers are hoping to attract a healthy attendance of collectors too.

The fair, organised by the Postcard Traders Association (PTA), has been held every spring and autumn at Woking Leisure Centre for some time – but this is the first time for years that it has been a full house as the hobby was hit by declining show attendances pre-pandemic, and been slow to bounce back.

PTA chairman David Davis said: “Before World War One, collecting postcards was one of the biggest hobbies in the country.

“Many corner shops up and down the land had large supplies of cards in the windows that people bought to send to each other at a time when the mail service did six deliveries a day and for just a halfpenny stamp you could send someone a message on a postcard confident it would be delivered the same day.

“There was a vast appetite for cards, with millions sold worldwide every year. The hobby can also form a secondary collection for people who collect other things because postcards also tell a story about their hobbies.

“Topographical cards have always been popular, but people collect so many different themes which are all represented on postcards – be it transport, art, military, aviation, sport, shipping down to the seaside comic card. The list of subject cards is almost endless.

“Postcards are a fantastic resource for historians – you only have to look at the World War One centenary commemorations, which relied heavily on the use of postcard images – and today the family historian often turns to old postcards, which still exist in enormous numbers.

“The hobby has experienced many ups and downs, and it is fair to say that most collectors who attend fairs are not young people.

“Unfortunately, like all walks of life, Covid robbed us of many friends. The pandemic claimed both dealers and collectors, and I think some buyers, especially those with underlying health conditions, have been reluctant to return to public events”

PTA fair organiser Clive Baker said: “We are thrilled that Woking is a sell-out for dealers, and we hope we can attract a good attendance to match.

“If nothing else, it shows that there is still life in the old hobby.”

The postcard fair is at Woking Leisure Centre in Kingfield Road this Friday from 10am-5pm, and Saturday from 10am-4pm.