Dating Red Star Line postcards may be done directly using :-
- Postal cancellations
- Dated correspondence
- Postal rates and mail routes
- Postcard era
Where this information is not available, timelines may be used :-
- Dates between which the liner was in RSL service
- Funnel colours
- Minor route variations
- Passenger lists and timetables
(These four headings are well covered on the web at The Ships List. This site also provides many other useful links. It is advisable to cross check any such information from other sites on the web!)
By overlapping multiple timelines a reasonably accurate date may be arrived at. Cards were rarely issued prior to launch or maiden voyage date. This gives a definite earliest possible date. Usage would stay fairly constant until either the liner or the cards were replaced. It would then tail off, with some still being used when long out of date – rather like stamps!
To identify the year of issue will often be a major achievement, given the lack of detailed information which exists. Postcards are a valuable source of social and postal history which can provide rewarding areas for research.