NORMAL - Mary Lynn Edwards held the Valentine's postcard toward a light, and it took on a bright new look. Cupid, with doves on each arm, was surrounded by red and gold colors and bright flowers.
"Valentine's postcards are usually pretty colorful," Edwards said.
She should know. She has collected about 30,000 postcards since 1980.
About 300 are Valentine's Day postcards. She has a bigger collection of St. Patrick's Day postcards and postcards reflecting other holidays.
Edwards said the postcard was sent about 1912 to a Chicagoan using a one-cent stamp.
She can't remember where she got the postcard, but suspects it was at an antique shop.
It's worth about $45 nowadays to a collector, but she probably didn't pay more than $4 for it.
The postcard has a divided back, half for the address and half for the message.
Dividing the space this way began in 1907. Before that, the back was reserved only for the address, Edwards said.
As much as Edwards enjoys postcards, don't expect her to send any Tuesday.
"I mostly send postcards on vacation. They are cheaper than letters, and you don't have to write as much," she said.
Plus, she believes people like postcards because of the pictures.
Edwards, 65, of Normal, got into collecting postcards almost by accident.
Husband Philip Edwards is a stamp collector and as she accompanied him to stamp shows, she began noticing postcards.
The rest is history and Edwards now is president of the Corn Belt Philatelic Society.
The society, which has stamp and postcard divisions, is devoted to the collection and study of postage stamps and postcards. The group typically meets monthly.
"We have programs and about 100 members," Edwards said.
Postcards, which appeared in the United States about 1893, continue to be popular today, Edwards said.
Those buying postcards likely consider them a colorful way to tell friends where they've been, Edwards said, adding postcards "have a picture memory."