It is no secret that I am a total fan girl of vintage stamps...but I mean, who wouldn't be! Vintage stamps can not only give your guests a peek of your personality, but they are also a great pop of color and visual yumminess that instantly causes jaws to drop. Can you imagine one of theeeeeese little babies arriving in your mailbox - admit it....jaws would be dropped :) Whether you choose stamps to use based on their theme or on the color scheme, the collection of stamps together is always such a fun addition to your envelopes! Read below for a little explanation of what vintage stamps are, how to choose which ones, where to find them, and tips for using them in your own wedding invitations!
WHAT are vintage stamps?
Vintage stamps are no different than the fun stamps you can buy at the post office today, they are just from years past! Because postage never expires, there is nothing stopping us from using ALL the vintage stamps from years gone by, as long as they are unused! You wouldn't believe how many options there are, I could scroll through vintage postage designs for days! The only difference (and the reason you often have to use a small collection of them on your envelopes) is that depending on the stamp, the value of the actual stamp differs. Unlike most postage stamps today that are either $0.49, $0.70, etc., some vintage stamps are $0.03, some are $0.32, and the list goes on! As long as you are using a collection that adds up to the amount of postage needed to mail your specific invitation suite, you will be good to go!
HOW to choose the stamps!
When I am designing custom wedding invitation suites that include a collection of vintage stamps, I first like to see if there is anything about the couple that could somehow be incorporated into the suite via a vintage stamp. For example, most states are featured on a vintage stamp, so if the couple wanted to include stamps of their home state, that could be included! Another example, when I got married I used a vintage stamp for the Marine Corps Battle of Iwo Jima, which was where my grandfather fought in WW2 - so it was a special way to honor him! Or if the bride or groom is a teacher or a nurse, there is a vintage stamp for that! It is so fun to try to work in little personal touches, and even more fun when the guests notice that extra touch!
Of course, the other fun part of vintage stamps is that they are just down right beautiful, so if there isn't a certain themed stamp that the couple wants to use, it is NO trouble at all finding a beautiful collection that is in the correct color scheme for their suite and looks beautiful. Who doesn't love all the pretty florals :)
WHERE do I find these things?
Before you start the mad hunt for vintage stamps, let me help point you in the right direction! A quick note to remember, because these are "vintage" stamps and no longer sold directly through USPS, stamps are going to cost above their face value. So using vintage stamps is going to be pricier than buying stamps from the post office - just a heads up! Each vintage stamp has what is called a "Scott number", which is how each specific one is identified! So if you find a certain stamp you love and want to find it to purchase online, it always helps to know the Scott number to aid in your search!
- Tons of Etsy shops sell vintage stamps - so it's always smart to do an overall search on Etsy to see if you can find what you are looking for! My favorite vintage stamp Etsy shop is Verde Studio!
- There are lots of people who sell vintage stamps on Ebay! Ebay is easiest to use to find specific stamps, so make sure you have that Scott number before you start searching!
- Local stamp dealers/coin shops/antique store! Google "stamp dealers in ______" for your specific location to see if there are any places in town that might sell them! You could also check antique stores and coin shops - those are more hit or miss but you might find something!
- Another great vintage stamp dealer is US Mint Sheets! He has a great selection to view online!
TIPS for using + assembling vintage stamps
- If you are hiring a calligrapher or stationer to address your wedding envelopes, make sure you have your vintage stamp arrangement in mind, and send it to them so they know how much space to save at the top of your envelope for the stamps! Don't want to cover the recipient addresses with stamps! If I am your calligrapher or stationer (haaayyy) don't worry about any of that - I will come up with the arrangement and assemble your stamps for you!
- If you will be assembling the stamps yourself, my favorite method for adhering the stamps can be found in the video below! I just keep a glass plate with either a damp towel or sponge on it and get the sticky side a little wet before sticking on the envelope!
- Depending on where you get your stamps from and how old they are, they may have lost their "stick" on the back, which in that case the method mentioned above wouldn't work! Don't fret - just grab an ATG tape gun (my personal fav), glue dots, or something similar and adhere that way! Glue sticks are an iffy choice, as sometimes they aren't strong enough and I've seen stamps fall off when glue sticks are used!
- When you take your envelopes to the post office to mail, ask the people working there to hand cancel your invitations! This means they will not send your envelopes through the machine to check postage, they will check them manually and stamp on top of them to approve for mailing! This helps your envelopes stay as pretty as they can through the mailing process - the less machines your envelopes have to go through, the better!
I hope this information helps any of you who are on the fence about using vintage stamps, or have already jumped on board but wanted some more information! If you are interested in working with me to create a custom wedding invitation suite (that can include vintage stamps, of course), click the button below! Or, if you already have invitations and just want to inquire about calligraphy addressing paired with vintage stamps, that's an option too! Would love to hear from you!