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Hungary caterpillar stamps. Had 2 small holes in them. Beautiful.
Having once been a stamp collector in my recent past, I learned about the practice of using older stamps as regular postage on today's mail. Since then, nearly 80% of the mail that I send out I do so with stamps that are even older than I. I'll try to explain:
For the most part, US Stamps and stamp collecting has not been an "investment" vehicle since they fell out of favor in the 70s and early 80s. The collector value of most stamps just has remained pretty stagnant, and maybe even has decreased a bit because of lack of demand for various reasons. As a result, stocks and stocks of complete sheets of unused stamps (30 - 50 stamps per sheet, often) have been traded around at a small percentage _below_ face value. And you can often buy these from established stamp dealers at their face value and use them just as you would use a stamp made yesterday. Most of these will be from the period of the 1960s - 1980s timeframe, however, I have purchased some from the 30s and 40s as well!
Since learning about this, I always keep a stash of these things around and use them on most all of my mail needs. I've got a slew of 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 cents stamps. Harder to keep on hand are the "larger denominations" like 18, 20, 25, 27 cent stamps. It is fun to pick out commemoratives that match some interest of whomever I'm sending the letter or postcard to--there are so many to choose from. And sometimes I just like to fill a letter with nothing but 3 and 4 cent stamps to essentially make a piece of mail art. ;-) Of course, this is all legal stuff so long as you have sufficient postage for each piece of mail being sent. See examples in image below.
So check your town and see if there is still a stamp or coin dealer and give them a call. Ask them if they sell older stamps "for postage." The two places that I've been getting them, Independence Coin & Stamp in Charlotte, NC and Richard's Stamp Shop in Asheville, NC both have a rubbermaid-like plastic tub full that you can sort through and pick out a whole pile of them. And if you are picking out lots of smaller denominations, you can quickly build a massive pile for $10.
If you can't find a true coin or stamp shop in your area, check our for coin/stamp shows or conventions that may be happening hear you. Often the stamp dealers will also bring their "postage stamps" with them for people to dig through--lots of collectors fill out their stamp albums with these things since they are so cheap.
If you are interested and are still having a hard time locating anything, send me a message and maybe we can work out a trade. I'll be happy to pick up some for fellow zinsters.
I just wanted to post and show off the wicked vintage stamps Blake sent me as a trade for a couple of zines. I specifically requested "as old as possible", or something along those lines, and got this fantastic stack of beautiful stamps. I can't use them, because I'm in Canada, but I was planning to send them out with my zines to people in the states. There are also a couple of closeup pictures in my album if you're interested. These are definitely the best stamps I've ever seen. :)
nice stamps and easy to get...just google Linn's and go to classified...it's called 'mint postage' and is usually sold for 'face value' (the amt. on each stamp) or 90-95% of face value...i buy mint postage in $50 & & $100 lots receiving a 3 cent to 39 cent variety. My stamp dealer is in Weed, CA (see Linn's classified)...also easy to get at your local stamp shows (just google 'stamp shows'.
my friend, jacinta bunnell, has stamps of her face! and they're real stamps, real postage!
How did she get those?