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Once in a while, Nancy Giles will...

Once in a while, Nancy Giles will send a postcard to a friend, but “most of the time I don’t want to give them up,” she said, “so I write a letter instead.”

That helps explain why she has about 40,000 postcards.

Doris Greene has also collected 40,000 postcards over 35 years, but she doesn’t mind sending them because, at the mailing cost of 19 cents, they are “still cheaper than a letter.”

Postcards have the edge--just ask members of the Torrance-South Bay Postcard Collectors Club.

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Today at 2 p.m., members of the club will meet to share their favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas postcards at the Home Federal Bank in Redondo Beach. The public is welcome, and there is no charge to attend.

“The meetings are social events,” said Giles, president of the club. “There’s great camaraderie among collectors.”

The club was established in 1983 and has about 50 members. “All kinds of people collect cards, and you’ll find as many men interested in collecting as women,” said Greene, the club’s secretary.

The federal government authorized the printing of postal cards in 1873, four years after they were introduced in Austria. Within five months, the U.S. government had issued more than 64 million cards bearing an imprinted one-cent stamp.

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Private mailing cards, the original term for postcards, differ from the government-issued postal cards in that they are printed privately and require the user to supply the stamp. The government authorized privately printed postcards in 1898.

Picture postcards became popular in the early 1900s, and many families displayed their cards in albums in their parlor, Greene said.

Now, she added, there are postcards “on any subject you can think of: holidays, cities, girls, ships, outhouses, wars, Garfield and Felix the Cat before him.”

Early California cards with scenes of Redondo Beach, Catalina Island and San Pedro are popular with South Bay club members, she said. Greene has also painted cards of her own that have appeared in publications commemorating National Postcard Week, the first week of May each year.

Some of the members even have pen pals in other countries with whom they trade postcards from around the world, Giles said.

The Home Federal Bank in Redondo is at 1670 Pacific Coast Highway. Anyone attending the meeting should park in the bank’s lot and use the rear entrance to the bank’s recreation room. For more information, call Doris Greene at (310) 328-8989.


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