Vintage Stamps for Face Value
September 25, 2007 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Where can I buy vintage, valid US postage stamps for face value or near face value?

I like crafting my own greeting cards and mailing them to family and friends. I've pretty much exhausted the postage options currently available at the post office. I'd like to find vintage stamps (like, say, from the '60s and '70s) that are still valid postage, and use several at a time on the letters I send out (to, of course, total up to the current postage rate or a few cents over).
I've looked on eBay and elsewhere online, but it's hard to find usable vintage stamps for face value mixed in with "Stamp Collecting" stuff where a 1 cent stamp might cost $10 or much more.
I'm even willing to buy a "mixed bag" of older but still valid stamps from a stamp dealer-- but how? Who? Where? Please help!
posted by bonheur to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This won't help you quickly, but you might check estate sales. When an old stamp collector dies, the relatives often don't know what to do with the them, and sometimes let them go for almost nothing. I know that happened in my family. Especially if they collected blocks of stamps, you should find uncancelled, usable ones.
posted by DarkForest at 10:28 AM on September 25, 2007

I know of a collection of stamps, most of which is worth only face value, that may be available in a few months. Once the valuable stamps are sold at market value, the rest will be up for grabs.
posted by notsnot at 10:59 AM on September 25, 2007

Best answer: I buy this sort of thing on Ebay often. My main angle is to look for "unused US collections" or "unused US" (if you're in the US) and then weed out the stuff that also has used stamps in it and the stuff that has too much collectible stuff mixed in. Collections will get you more variety and the unused part in combination is less likely to get you truly pricey stamps. Another angle is if you're willing to pay more you can often get better deals, so paying $100 for $110-95 worth of stamps is a better deal than paying $18 for $15 worth of stamps.

I've found the particularly Canadian sellers tend to sell US stamps at or below face value because the stamps are worth exactly zero to them. I have a big drawer full of unused US postage from about this date range. You can also sometims find box lots of stamps at other auctions. Again the trick is to not move among people who value and collect stamps but to look for junk sellers and dealers that have happened to get a bunch of stamps along with the other stuff they may have gotten clearing out an estate. This also happens often around holidays when people try to unload old Christmas stamps and sometimes there are more sellers than buyers. I know I've sold Christmas stamps below face value on Ebay before.
posted by jessamyn at 11:04 AM on September 25, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: A lot of stamp dealers have old/vintage US stamps that they sell for face value. Try to find a dealer in your area and tell them you're looking for old stamps to use for postage, and they'll bring out the non-valuable stuff for you to look through. Coin dealers sometimes carry stamps as well.
posted by Quietgal at 12:07 PM on September 25, 2007

If you are in a major city, there may be "stamp shows" every few months where many dealers come togeather for a weekend. I purchased a bag of unused old stamps at one in Dallas a few years ago.
posted by bourdon at 12:35 PM on September 25, 2007

I'd like to find vintage stamps ... that are still valid postage

Aren't all postage stamps issued (in the US, anyway) still valid? I remember seeing some unusual already-stamped postcards in a gift shop in the early 90s which were exactly what you like -- their postage was several vintage stamps from the 1940s which totaled the current postcard rate.
posted by Rash at 3:13 PM on September 25, 2007

All stamps that are unused are valid for postage but a lot of people who sell stamps sell used ones to collectors and you can't use them again which I think is what the OP is getting at.
posted by jessamyn at 3:20 PM on September 25, 2007

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