I came across this wonderful website, called Beyond the Perf, yesterday that previews all the upcoming year's stamp designs. I instantly fell in love with this new design design to celebrate the centennial of Washington DC's cherry blossoms. It was created by artist Paul Rogers and (this is the best part) it will be a forever stamp! Thank goodness, finally a forever stamp that isn't completely boring!
(N.B. The image above shows two of the stamps together . . . each individual stamp will only be half this image)
This got me thinking about the stamps that I want to use on my wedding save the dates and invitations. I always had it in my head that I wanted to do something special—partially as an homage to my grandfather who was an avid philatelist and partially because it is an easy way to make a big visual impact. I thought about designing my own stamp through a site like Stamps.com or Zazzle but I just didn't feel like they had enough personality for my liking. So this morning I went on the hunt for some reasonably priced (uncanceled) vintage stamps to use instead.
Needless to say, I had great success! There are many stores that sell some lovely sets of vintage stamps, especially if you are willing to shell out a bit more money than normal postage.
If you are looking for only enough stamps to cover 5-10 envelopes I would recommend Etsy shops like Treasure Fox, Verde Studio, or Precious Owl. But if, like me, you are looking for an economical source of stamps to cover 100+ envelopes, I would point you in the direction of larger sellers like Kenmore Stamp Company or Champion Stamp that have slightly difficult to navigate websites but good deals. If you are looking for a site that is a little easier on the eyes you can try The Paper Nickel Stamp Co.
With that said, I had by far the best luck with US Mint Sheets, which sells full stamp sheets (like all those you see above) for very reasonable prices. For example all of the sheets I purchased above have between 18 and 50 stamps on them and cost between $5 and $15 per sheet, with free shipping on orders over $50. Not bad, right? You can even search by key word (say 'love' or 'Massachusetts') to narrow down their selection.
Now the only problem is trying to keep myself from buying out the whole website . . .
p.s. There is an good article on 100 Layer Cake that walks you through the whole vintage stamp process (and, admittedly, sent me in the right direction for most of the stores I mention above). The best part about the article is that it tells you how to get your post office to hand cancel the envelopes—in order to avoid those big barcodes the scanning machines at USPS add on these days.
p.p.s. If you still want to add a little something extra, Martha Stewart Weddings points out that you can actually work with a postmaster to have your invites mailed from (and thereby canceled in) towns with appropriately amorous names. Going this route your postage will seem to be sent from towns like Bliss, NY, Loving, TX or Romance, AR. Just remember to add your return address on the back (so that any erroneous envelopes don't get sent across the country by accident)!