5 Tips for Using Vintage Postage

5 Tips for Using Vintage Postage

We love using vintage postage and a lot of thought and careful planning goes into the mail we send. We've jotted down a few things to keep in mind when curating postage for your own mail that any recipient will be sure to treasure. 

Here are our top 5 tips for using vintage postage:

Tip #1: Coordinate your postage by color or theme. Over the years, the United States Post Office has put out a variety of postage stamps in a large variety of styles, designs and themes so there is something to fit just about every occasion. 

Tip #2: Arrange your stamps before addressing. We offer this tip for two reasons: (1) the face of your envelope may get very crowded if you are using several stamps. You don't want to be in a position of arranging the stamps around your handwriting or being forced to place a stamp over an area of your text because you didn't leave enough room (trust us on this one!); and (2) it's best to play around with the stamps to figure out their best placement on the envelope. The picture below provides two examples showing the same stamps in a different arrangement. The example on the left  provides a much better arrangement visually than the one on the right. In the photo on the left, the top row of stamps extend from edge to edge making for a more aesthetically pleasing layout. 

Tip #3: Don't lick the stamps.  This one shouldn't require an explanation but remember if you are buying vintage, chances are that your vintage stamps have passed several hands so licking them is not the most hygienic. Instead, use a damp sponge or a glue stick. Enough said.

Tip # 4: Hand cancel your envelopes. Your mail will be run through a mechanical office sorting machine unless you request your local post office to "hand cancel" your letters. When the USPS processes your mail, a mark is placed on the postage that defaces it so the postage cannot be reused. Hand canceling is an alternative to machine canceling since the cancellation is manually applied by a postal employee rather than a machine.  This tip is purely for aesthetic purposes but if you are also including a wax seal on your envelope than you'll also want to read this post.

Tip #5: Plan for extra postage if needed. The post office charges extra to hand cancel an envelope so take this into account when planning your envelope design and budget. The current cost for hand canceling is an extra 21¢ for a standard envelope, although this is not uniformly enforced.  Be sure to check the requirements with your local post office. 

An envelope can really help set the tone for what is waiting inside for the recipient to discover. Vintage postage provides an artistic approach and a thoughtful touch. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to capture the mood of the enclosed message you are sending.  By following a few simple tips, your piece of mail will be something the recipient will be happy to retrieve from their mailbox.