Happy New Year! We are so excited because Loly of Little Postage House has teamed up with us to answer some FAQ’s about vintage postage, another one of our very favourite envelope embellishments! Without further ado…
Hi there! My name is Loly Orozco and I am the owner and founder of Little Postage House, where we tell our clients’ unique stories through postage and paper design.
How Did You Get Started in Vintage Postage?
Before Little Postage House even existed, I worked professionally as an attorney in New York City for a “big” law firm. My practice specialized in financial restructuring (which is just a fancy way of saying corporate bankruptcy) and I maintained a strong pro-bono practice working with human trafficking victims on their cases. During my time as a lawyer, I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to clerk for two federal judges in the Southern District of New York.
I did not have any plans of leaving my career. It was not until 2016 that my life started taking a different path and I stumbled into the stationery world. I remember that I was at the post office one day and saw a bride with beautiful invitations that had handwritten calligraphy. I wondered what postage stamp she would choose and realized that none of the options complemented her invitations. It was at that moment that Little Postage House was born.
Okay, So You're Kind of The Postage Expert, Teach Us Everything!
Starting with a super basic question, aren’t vintage postage stamps really old? Can we even use them anymore?
Yes! Vintage postage stamps can be really old! I have curated designs for brides that have included postage stamps from the early 1900s. Postage stamps never expire (think of them as currency, you can still use money even if it is super old). As long as the postage stamps are unused, you should all be set and can use them to mail wedding invitations! Just make sure that you have the right postage amount on your envelopes!
What is the “right” postage amount to send out wedding invitations?
It depends! The amount of postage that you need to mail out any letter (regardless of whether it is a fancy wedding invitation or a regular piece of mail) will depend on the weight and size/shape of the mailing. A normal letter that is standard size and weighs under 1 ounce requires 55 cents of postage to mail (within the United States) under the current postage rates. While oversized, square, or unusually shaped envelopes will require more postage. The exact postage amount really depends on the dimensions of the envelope and the mailing category it falls into (e.g., standard letter versus large envelope/flat versus parcel). It should also be noted that each additional ounce, over the 1-ounce mark, will cost 20 cents for standard letters (under the 2021 USPS postage rates).
Something else to keep in mind is that special closures like wax seals, ribbon, or clasps, can cause additional charges as some post offices consider these items “non-machinable” and therefore they require hand-cancelling and sorting. The non-machinable surcharge may apply even if the ribbon or wax seal is inside the envelope. So even if your mail is standard in size and weight (55 cents in postage), if it has a wax seal, it may incur additional charges (under the 2021 USPS postage rates, the non-machinable surcharge is 20 cents).
To be certain it is always best to check in with your local post office prior to mailing as charges can vary from country, to state/province, to even individual post offices.
You just mentioned “2021” postage rates, do postage rates change periodically?
Yes, I was just getting to that! At the end of each year, the United States Postal Service (“USPS”) reviews postage rates and determines whether or not to increase (or decrease) their prices. The proposed changes are announced at the end of each calendar year and usually take effect in late January of the next year. So it is important to always re-familiarize yourself with postage requirements. If you follow me on Instagram or are subscribed to my newsletter, I always send out alerts regarding postage changes.
Are large quantities ever a problem when you’re using vintage? What if a bride has 200 invitations? Can you still use vintage postage on her envelopes?
That is not a problem at all! I keep thousands and thousands of vintage postage stamps (and modern postage stamps) in my collection and work with brides, stationers, wedding planners, and calligraphers on all postage things! If you are ever looking for something specific or would like me to curate a postage design for your client, just send me a message!
I have seen vintage postage stamps are only worth a couple of pennies in postage, what happens if a bride needs a lot of postage? Do you have to use a million stamps on her envelopes?
Vintage postage stamps come in all amounts! Some are worth a couple of cents in postage, but others are worth a couple of dollars in postage each! I have put together vintage postage collections for invitations requiring over $4 in postage and only used 5 stamps on each envelope!
Do you have to lick vintage postage stamps?
Ha! I mean, licking them is an option if you really want to, but there are other ways to adhere them! The first thing that you have to know is that the overwhelming majority of vintage postage stamps are not self-adhesive. Instead, most vintage postage stamps have a gum on the backside that becomes sticky when moist. This may sound complicated, but adhering vintage stamps can be a super simple process.
I think that there are basically four ways to adhere vintage postage stamps: (i) a good old fashioned lick (this method does not require any tools at all, but it may be tough to do if you are working with a large number of envelopes), (ii) using a regular glue stick, (iii) using a slightly moist sponge (you just tap the back side of each stamp on the moist sponge to activate the glue on the stamp) and (iv) using an envelope moistener (envelope moisteners usually have a little glue mixed into their formula, which is a great way to strengthen the bond between the stamps and your envelopes).
Any other postage tips that we should know?
Be careful with square envelopes! Most stationers know that square envelopes require extra postage, but the amount of extra postage depends on the size of the envelope! If your envelopes are 5” or 6” square, USPS just requires an extra 20 cents of postage (under the 2021 rates). But, if your envelopes are over 6 ⅛” in height (so when you get into 6.25” or 7” square), you are going to need a bunch of extra postage! Those envelopes are actually considered “large” envelopes by USPS and the postage rates start at $1.00.
If our PRO community takes away one thing from this interview, what would it be?
I guess the one takeaway would be that postage rates are not one size fits all and it all comes down to the details! If you have any questions, you can always email me! I’m always happy to help!
Thank You, Loly!
Thank you Loly for the lesson on vintage postage! You are a wealth of knowledge and we loved learning more about your love, vintage postage. Be sure to connect with Loly on Instagram!
If you have questions related to postage, as Loly mentioned, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Artisaire PRO Team