How to Find, Use, and Curate Vintage Stamps

Okay, maybe vintage stamps aren't a necessity for every letter you send, but for special occasions (and especially weddings!) they sure are pretty. Since just one of these stamps won't cut it anymore for the 49¢ standard letter fee, this provides you a fun opportunity to curate a group of stamps that perfectly suits your event! Vintage stamps are having a major comeback moment, so below are my favorite tips for how to find, use and curate them.

Curate your own set of stamps by  Vintage Postage Shop  on Etsy

Curate your own set of stamps by Vintage Postage Shop on Etsy

Location, Location, Location

Since many people were traveling from out of state for my wedding, I decided on a combination of North Carolina-themed stamps (the location of the wedding) and a pretty 20¢ "LOVE" floral stamp. The 25¢ stamp on the right is part of a series of state stamps the USPS put out for each state's bicentennial, so you should be able to find one for your state. The two on the left are 2¢ stamps depicting the North Carolina beaches where I grew up vacationing. This was a fun way to add a bit of meaning into the stamps I used rather than going with the standard wedding-themed stamps the post office offers today.

My North Carolina-themed wedding invitations

My North Carolina-themed wedding invitations

Event location is a great way to create a theme for your stamps, and sets the tone for your guests before they even open their letter. For a desert wedding, I'm totally crushing on this combination of 33¢ and 20¢ stamp sheets:

1999's Sonoran Desert ( Scott #3293 ) and 1981's Desert Plants ( Scott #1942-1945 )

1999's Sonoran Desert (Scott #3293) and 1981's Desert Plants (Scott #1942-1945)

Go for a Visual Theme

If your event isn't in a particularly exciting or different destination, setting the tone through color is a really chic way to make stamps from different eras appear to have been made as a set.

If you're having a garden-style event surrounded by florals, go for flower-themed stamps like this group of six set on a pretty pastel envelope.

Where to Find Them

If you know exactly which stamps you want or have an idea of the theme (i.e. "Desert" or "Hawaii") I'd start by searching on eBay to see what's available. This link will jump you right to the US Stamp section on eBay where you can browse by category or conduct a search. I'd recommend adding the word "sheet" to the end of your searches to avoid some of the singles and postcard listings that might come up. If you spot a specific stamp that you love, try searching by its Scott #, as many sellers will only list them by that number. Some of the more popular stamps (like the floral "LOVE" stamp used on mine - Scott #1951) will go for above face value. If you want to avoid the more popular and pricey stamps, putting together a color theme with the less in-demand stamps would be a good way to go.

Not sure where to start with your theme? Let a stamp enthusiast on Etsy do the curating for you! Below are some Etsy shops who have curated some seriously ogle-worthy stamp collections:

Verde Studio
Treasure Fox
Little Postage House
Mail Maid Stamps

Tips & Tricks for Using Vintage Stamps

1. Know the size and weight of your invitations before you get to stamp shopping. Square envelopes will cost you an extra 21¢ per letter with less room for addressing, while heavier invitations could run you 70¢ or 89¢.

2. Have a glue stick (or several) handy! Most of these stamps have little or no adhesive, and you don't exactly want to lick 30-year-old adhesive anyway.

3. Arrange, glue, then address. Vintage stamps come in many shapes and sizes, so you'll want to decide on the arrangement that looks best and leaves the most room for addressing before you get to gluing. Once they're glued, you or your calligrapher will know exactly how much space they have to address!

Happy stamping!

Carolann Parran