Evergreen Postage

[Alyson Kuhn] Many of my mailing friends are surprised at the abundance of {and my abandon with!} fabulous old US stamps on my envelopes. Happily, US stamps are valid for their class of service until they have been used. Exquisitely engraved stamps from decades past can grace your mail too. Where, o where, can you find these mini-masterpieces?

I always buy my vintage postage from dealers, who sell most of their stock at “catalog value.” And when I need a few stamps on a particular theme, I don’t balk at paying catalog prices. A gorgeous 3¢ stamp from the 1940s for 20¢ or 25¢ is a decorative bargain – far less than the cost of a glossy sticker. But when I’m hunting for a lot of stamps, the ideal is to find them at “face value,” meaning the price printed on the stamp. {How dealers can afford to sell certain stamps at face value is a story for another day.}

Search for member dealers in your state on the American Association of Stamp Dealers site. Fewer and fewer dealers have retail premises, though, so check before you trek. The site also maintains a calendar of upcoming stamp shows. Shows can be a splendid source of vintage postage by the sheet, as well as mini-collections of stamps on popular topics.

Serious stamp people {in the US} reference stamps by their Scott Catalog numbers. It’s a good idea to know these numbers if you want to buy specific stamps that are no longer sold by the Postal Service. The perfect reference tool for this job is The Postal Service Guide to US Stamps. The Guide includes a full-color photo, plus the Scott Catalog number, for every US stamp ever issued. You can buy the newest Guide at The Postal Store. While you’re at it, if you don’t already receive USA Philatelic, sign up. It’s free, and full of larger-than-life photos of current stamps that you didn’t know existed.

Goody: The first five readers to leave a comment will receive a packet o’ vintage postage pronto {enticingly shown at left}. Umpteen shades of green, so timely for St. Patrick’s Day or the Vernal Equinox. Write us right now… or be green with envy.

Photo credits: 1-3 © 2009 Felt & Wire, 4 © 2008 USPS

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Comments (8)

  1. Posted by Antonio on 03.10.09 at 2:29 pm

    Although visiting a stamp show may seem like a “dork/nerd” thing to do, it’s a great afternoon spent looking at beautiful little design treasures. Plus, you can leave with a handful of gorgeous souvenirs for under five bucks! Good suggestion.

  2. Posted by elisayork on 03.10.09 at 2:44 pm

    Love your new blog!…sure to be a wonderful & fun resource to check back on. Also, thank you for the tips on stamps. I’m looking forward to attending my first stamp show…so happy there are a few within driving distance from where I live.

  3. Posted by DJUNA on 03.10.09 at 2:58 pm

    What a beautiful idea. Not only visually, but to also create something that is unique and personal, while at the same time re-using already produced materials.

  4. Posted by Marin on 03.10.09 at 3:18 pm

    Hmmm… I have some Elvis stamps I’d been hoarding, but this makes me want to send them away.

  5. Posted by mickhodgson on 03.10.09 at 11:27 pm

    I love sending envelopes covered with stamps, and once had a travel agent (back when we still had travel agents who would always mail me my tickets (pre e tickets) in envelopes covered with old stamps. I never knew where she got them until now. Thanks Alison. Nice to read you again Mick.

  6. Posted by millie on 03.11.09 at 12:51 pm

    I’m sad I missed your postage giveaway, but I’m so glad I discovered your great site!

  7. Posted by Mick’s Spacemats flashback! « Felt & Wire on 04.24.13 at 3:27 pm

    […] course I know and love Felt and Wire. And I love to get old stamps. And I love Jayme, of whom there is only one, because Jamie O {for Oliver} spells his name […]

  8. Posted by heroes aren't hard to find convention on 12.24.13 at 3:50 pm

    (1) (This becomes important as we discuss the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in a later article).

    When we eat a candy bar (or cookie, cake, pie, chocolate), the
    glucose (one of many sugars) level rises quickly in the blood.
    Barbara’s Father, Dick Matthews, died suddenly last week.

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