Vintage Stamps

My dad and I use stamps from my late Grandpa Sidney’s collection as postage. And we are not alone. Ilona over at Missive Maven uses her Grandpa’s stamps too and her collection is amazing. Don’t have a philatelic Grandpa? You can buy vintage UNused stamps from Virginia of Verde Studio on Etsy! Now you may be thinking, but Melissa won’t that mean less revenue for the Postal Service? Shouldn’t I be buying new postage? Yes. And then buy vintage postage. And use them both to send out mail weekly.

Viva Snail Mail!

VSM: How did you come to sell vintage postage stamps?

Virginia: When I was a child, my mother would have the postmaster hold a block of newly released stamps for me until I could save up my allowance to buy a few at a time. I was never a serious stamp collector but am fascinated with the colors, subjects and stories behind postage stamp design and have held onto my childhood collection.  Several years ago I began experimenting with repurposing small vintage items into usable wares, including crafting postage stamps pendants using my small stash of used and unused postage stamps.  I also started to put together small packets of used postage for others to use for crafting.  A blogger discovered my shop on etsy and contacted me to see if I had enough unused stamps available for mailing her wedding invitations.  That experience inspired me to design sets of unused vintage postage for mailing letters to add to my shop and the rest is history! I have long since exhausted my childhood collection (I did keep my favorites and they are not for sale).  Now I network with stamp collectors across the US to supply the larger quantities of vintage postage for custom orders.

VSM: Ooh! I want to buy some, especially the “Letters Lift Spirits” stamps.

Virginia: I would love to put together a custom packet for you – just let me know which designs or single stamps you would like. 

VSM: My dad just sent me a letter with the folk art quilt stamps on it. Any idea what year those are from?

Virginia: The Folk Art Quilt 13 cent stamps are a setenant set issued in 1978 as a block of 4 unique designs.

VSM: Have you had any other feedback about how buyers are using your unused postage?

Virginia: Some of my current designs were created for custom orders and then added to the shop.  For example, I designed one of the baby sets as a special request for baby announcements and that inspired me to add a few other baby designs to the shop.  I have also done custom orders for graduation announcements, birthday parties, 50th wedding anniversaries and bridal showers.   Some of the UNused postage is also used for crafting – I have had special requests for stamps to use as paper ephemera on greeting cards, escort cards and in pairs to use for earrings. 

VSM: Thanks Virginia!


McCaskill Mail

Apparently at a Senate hearing on Tuesday about the USPS’s financial situation, U.S. Senator for Missouri Claire McCaskill suggested to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe that the USPS might consider a marketing campaign to promote the value of letter writing. Yes, that shit was on C-Span! No it won’t save the Postal Service but wouldn’t it be fabulous? While she was mocked by John Stewart on the Daily Show, I think we should shower her mailbox with gratitude.

Drop this woman a card!

The Honorable Claire McCaskill
United States Senate 
506 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-2504

And John Stewart, I still love you.



According to today’s article in the New York Times, its getting seriously bad for the United States Postal Service. We already knew this right? Email and online billing have dramatically reduced the amount of revenue from paper mail postage. But when I read that labor costs make up 80% of the agency’s expenses I thought, here we go. Unionized postal workers are going to be scapegoated. They’re going to be leaned on hard to reverse their job protections, and when they push back just like teachers and firefighters have been doing, they are going to be cast as the new bad guys. I mean, middle class American union members are the problem? How about the big banks and all those credit default swapping shenanigans? And while we’re at it, maybe large corporations like General Electric could pay some taxes.

I am not a Congresswoman or a business guru. I don’t know how to fix this and I understand that something’s got to give. But on this day, Labor Day 2011, a holiday to honor the contributions of hard working Americans, I am thinking of the men and women who deliver the mail. Perhaps that envelope art contest idea could take shape as a way to respond to this dire situation. Love letters to the post offices that will close and the workers who will lose their jobs. What do you think?