Thursday, August 7, 2008

Philately Will Get You Everywhere

Emerson recently posted about how the post office is making our lives miserable. Briefly, our reply card is a post card and thus requires only 27 cents of postage, but the post office only makes horrible, ugly tropical fruit post card stamps valued at 27 cents. Tropical fruit, while nice, does not "fit" with our invitation, which has more of a, well, let's just say non-tropical feel.

So after going so far as to calling the post office to find out if they were planning on issuing any other 27 cent stamps in the near future, we realized we would either have give up and put on a first class stamp or come up with another solution. We, of course, came up with another solution since when it comes to the matrimonial-industrial complex failure is not an option.

One of us (probably Emerson) had the brilliant idea that, while first-class stamps today may be 42 cents, they weren't always. At some point in U.S. history, they must have been 27 cents! So the solution becomes simple: Find out when that is, travel back in time and buy up one hundred 27 cent stamps! And by "travel back in time", I mean look on eBay...

Well, it turns out that the U.S. never had a 27 cent stamp before 2008; but back in the early 1990s, during the introduction of self-adhesive stamps, first class postage was 29 cents. And that was close enough for us.

Our second mission was to find an acceptable image that would work stylistically with our invitation. In the early 90s, there were so many wonderful varieties of stamps to choose from! Ducks! Thomas Jefferson! Eagles! More ducks! Squirrels! Wood ducks! Hearts! Various Olympic sports! We ultimately chose a stamp that went very well with our evergreen motif: a pine cone!

Our third mission was to find a seller, or sellers, who had 100 of these stamps from 1993, un-used, at a reasonable price. A book of 29 cent stamps is valued at $5.80 and a book of 42 cent stamps is valued at $8.40. So as long as we kept the price under $8.40 a book, we were spending no more than our most expensive 2008 option, which was a regular old Liberty Bell stamp. And unbelievably, we succeeded. Some guy in Michigan had 5 books of pine cone stamps from 1993 and he was selling them for only $7.50! And with a "bulk order" we only paid $1.00 for shipping! Score!

Grand total: 38.5 cents! To mail a post card. Because the idea of putting a kiwi on my beautiful reply card was so horrific that it gave me nightmares for a week.

And this is to what the matrimonial-industrial complex has reduced us.

UPDATE: Over drinks last night, Emerson pointed out that there were only 18 stamps in the books that we bought, not 20. That actually brings our total per stamp price, after shipping, to 43 cents! So I guess we didn't win, except insomuch as we refused to kowtow to the post office's cruel choice of stamps and ended up getting exactly what we wanted. And if you really stop to think about it, it was only an extra dollar over first class postage, and only $16 more than post card rates. And that's only like half a table-cloth!


Jennifer said...

Love the stamp! Isn't lovely when things fall together! I ended up using boring ol' contemporary stamps, but I really love the idea of the vintage stamps.

Michael Bruno said...

We were determined. And it must have been a slow week for the both of us.

Guilty Secret said...

Ha ha what a great story! I'm glad it worked out in the end.

But I'm even more glad we have simple gold stamps with the queen's head on that look good with everything over here so I don't have to worry about it!

Anonymous said...

well doone, gentlemen, well done.