How can I make my Christmas gift look authentic?
December 18, 2008 12:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to figure out how to make a stamp look "canceled" for a Christmas gift.

My great-uncle collects stamps and loves Disney-ana, but he only collects stamps that are canceled. I've got some good Disney stamps for him this year and intended to send him to them ahead of time (so that they would be canceled and add-able to his collection) but Christmas has snuck up on me.

I am mailing him several today in hopes they'll arrive before Christmas, but I want to have a back-up plan in case I arrive before the mail does. Is there any good way mimic a postmark? (He doesn't have great eyesight, so it doesn't have to look great, just good/decent)

(In case I need to add this, the canceled stamp will never go through the mail in any way, so I don't think I'm falling afoul of any federal regulations- it will just go into a relative's stamp collection)

Thanks!
posted by arnicae to Grab Bag (14 answers total)
 
Can you go to your local post office and ask them to stamp it? Seems like that couldn't do any harm.
posted by Night_owl at 12:36 PM on December 18, 2008


If you are near a store that cells rubber art stamps, you can buy a postage cancellation one. I have several, but alas, you aren't in Atlanta.
posted by pointystick at 12:38 PM on December 18, 2008


You could mail it to yourself, which shouldn't take more than a day or two.
posted by aubilenon at 12:39 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


You need a rubber stamp or something similar that will make circles, small block lettering and an inkpad. Check out your local craft store or even Wal-Mart. Then mimic these.
posted by soelo at 12:41 PM on December 18, 2008


this is a list (hopefully current enough) of stamp stores in CA - maybe one is near you.? Good luck!
posted by pointystick at 12:46 PM on December 18, 2008


the canceled stamp will never go through the mail in any way, so I don't think I'm falling afoul of any federal regulations- it will just go into a relative's stamp collection

It won't be worth anything to his collection if it isn't actually cancelled. Simulated cancellation is not what collectors want and if it's ever sold as authentically cancelled, that could be considered fraud.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:47 PM on December 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


What Pollomacho said. It has to actually be canceled. Fake canceling it will pretty much ruin it.

Stick them on evenlopes and mail them to him.

Or take them down to the post office and have them cancel them. (Though you'll have to wait in line.)
posted by Ookseer at 1:06 PM on December 18, 2008


The USPS will hand cancel stamps for free.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:08 PM on December 18, 2008


Aside from the authenticity issue Pollomacho mentions, it doesn't seem very generous to give a gift that involves deceiving the recipient. If you can't get the real cancellation in time, how about just giving a card with a picture of the stamps that says that they're on their way?
posted by dixie flatline at 1:08 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I already have stamps in the mail (at least as long as the mail carrier makes it over to our house today) my concern is that they won't arrive before Christmas.

He doesn't have a collection based on value- he likes pretty, attractive stamps. He even saves the stamps from the Easter Seal people that come in the mail every spring. So he won't ever attempt to sell them, he's just an old man who likes to look at his stamps.

Thanks for the other suggestions.
posted by arnicae at 1:16 PM on December 18, 2008


What Night_owl and kuujjuarapik said. Just take them down to the post office and ask for them to cancel them. If it's a larger post office that sells collectibles (e.g. commemorative year sets), then go to that check out counter. The advantage of this is they will have more practice making clean cancels and also may offer special cancellations.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:25 PM on December 18, 2008


You definitely want authentically canceled stamps. Don't fake it. Even if he'll never sell them, they'll be part of his estate and somebody down the line will be disappointed that the cancellation was fake.

Either go down to the post office and ask them to cancel them, or mail them to yourself.

(I just got back from the post office. A woman was there sending out Christmas cards. The post mistress took the cards sent locally and stamped them right there before sticking them into the PO boxes to which they were addressed. So, they do have the means to postmark something in even the tiniest podunk post office.)
posted by Netzapper at 1:49 PM on December 18, 2008


So he won't ever attempt to sell them

He may not, but whoever inherits the collection might. If you're planning on swapping the fakes for the real ones once they come in the mail I don't see any harm in it, but I wouldn't assume what type of value a person puts on their collection even if it is not implicit. He may be thinking that what he sees as a hobby will also benefit his grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc as something of real monetary value.
posted by genial at 1:49 PM on December 18, 2008


To me, it's not even a matter of whether they're ever sold or part of an estate, etc., but it's more the attitude that you're taking toward this person. If you try to pass off something you know they otherwise wouldn't be happy with based on the fact that they're old and their faculties are not what they used to be, that's pretty disrespectful.

Sorry to come down as the morality police or something, but it seems like an important point to me.

But it sounds like you have a perfectly workable "authentic" option now anyway.
posted by dixie flatline at 1:56 PM on December 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


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