One of the most collectable of postcards is the c.1910 ‘London Life Picture Postcard’ series with 90 images of people going about their working lives. This photograph from fair organiser David Smith’s collection is catalogued as a fortune teller in London. Images from this series do turn up at David’s monthly fair and cost around £25, he says.

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The next fair at the Royal National Hotel, Woburn Place is this Sunday, November 25, where there will be 90 stalls packed with postcards, cigarette cards, autographs and ephemera.

The son of the late Cyril Smith, founder of the fair, who began publishing the annual Picture Postcard Values  in 1976, David is himself a keen collector of local history cards.

He is the owner of the Memories Picture Library in Hendon, North London, which specialises in social history and themed photographs.

He believes that interest in genealogy, fanned by television programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are?, the work of the Ephemera Society and efforts by the National Archives to publicise historical research, have all led to an increase in the formation of local and family history groups, with the knock-on effect of more collectors in this niche market.

He adds: "The internet has had a good effect in one sense, in that there are more buyers at the fairs, particularly a younger crowd looking to sell on eBay - cards are easy to scan and sell. But we don't have as many younger dealers standing at our fairs - it seems to be older folk."

Tel: 020 8203 1500.