In the modern age, email, texting, Facebook and Twitter have become the norm for forms of communication. Telegrams and rotary telephones have all but become relics of an age gone by. When was the last time you received a letter from a friend or family member? When was the last time you received a hand-written letter from anyone?

How about a postcard?

The earliest known picture postcard was a hand-painted design, sent to the writer Theodore Hook in 1840. Hook likely created and mailed the card to himself as a practical joke on the postal service, since the image is a caricature of workers in the post office.

In 1871 the first known souvenir picture postcard was sent from Vienna, Austria. The first advertising card appeared the following year in Great Britain and the first German card appeared in 1874. Cards showing images increased in number during the 1880s. Images of the newly built Eiffel Tower in 1889-1890 helped popularize the postcard, leading to the so-called "golden age" of the picture postcard in years following the mid-1890s.

The first American postcard was developed in 1873 by the Morgan Envelope Factory of Springfield, Massachusetts. Later in 1873, the first pre-stamped "penny postcards" were introduced. These first postcards depicted the Interstate Industrial Exposition that took place in Chicago. The main impetus for postcards was that people were looking for an easier way to send quick notes. The first postcard to be printed as a souvenir in the United States was created in 1893 to advertise the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

In Hake’s Americana & Collectibles current auction (online now), we are offering many examples of great holiday-related postcards. Holidays include St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Halloween and Christmas, with several classic Santa Claus postcards. Another highlight includes a vintage postcard display rack filled with 1,500 postcards from all 48 states.

Hake’s auction is now open online and closes March 19-21, 2013. For more information on these items or to see the other 3,000+ items up for bid, visit Hake’s website at www.hakes.com.

And be sure to check out Hake’s Facebook page, which features various sneak peeks and items available for purchase.