How to use vintage postage stamps

Vintage postage can add a beautiful finishing touch to invitation envelopes. But there are a few very important considerations to take into account when using them.

Photo courtesy of MerrilyPost 

Two important facts about postage stamps

1. Vintage postage is valid for mailing, but only as long as it is unused. It should be “mint” - meaning it has never been used to mail a letter. Once a stamp has been through the mail it’s value has been cancelled and it cannot be re-used for mailing again. So it’s important to source only mint, unused postage.

2. All postage stamps have a face value. On vintage postage this face value, or denomination, of the stamp is printed on the stamp. This is how much the stamp is worth and knowing this value is key in understanding how to use vintage postage for mailing, which we will explain in a moment.

Weight and shape of the envelope matters

Before purchasing any postage stamps the envelope to be mailed should be weighed with all the contents inside. If you are using the envelope for wedding invitations, this means the invite, the rsvp card, the return envelope, any detail cards, belly bands, ribbons, etc. should all be inside the envelope when it is weighed. It is best to take a completed envelope to your post office and let them weigh it for you. Based on the weight and shape of the envelope, they can tell you how much it will cost you to mail. 

Most wedding invitations that are mailed in a standard rectangle envelope can range in weight from one ounce to three ounces, or more, depending on the contents. The addition of thicker items in the envelope, such as wax seals or liners will increase the weight and add postage cost. Non-standard shapes, such as square envelopes, incur an additional charge. If any envelopes are being sent internationally, they will require additional postage. This is why having the post office see and weigh the envelope is key to knowing how much postage you are going to need before you begin to buy any postage.

Vintage postage cost

Vintage postage can be costly as they are considered collectibles. The time and care that goes into collecting and curating postage, whether the stamps are rare or highly sought after, are all a factor and why vintage postage will typically run from 2x to 4x the cost of standard postage. So knowing your budget and understanding this additional cost up front can help you determine if vintage postage is for you.

Sourcing vintage postage stamps

There are literally thousands of US postage stamp designs available and it can be quite overwhelming and time consuming to sort through them yourself to find just the right individual stamps to create the look you’re dreaming of. That’s why working with someone who is a reputable curator/dealer, and understands how to create a cohesive and beautiful collection of postage for you, can be so beneficial.  

Add it up

Now that you know how much your envelope will cost to mail it’s time to figure out how to get your postage to that number.  This is where a stamp curator can be extremely helpful. 

If you plan to use only vintage postage or a mix of vintage and modern stamps to mail your envelope, you will need to add together all the face values on each of the stamps that will be on the envelope to ensure that together they reach the amount it costs to mail the envelope. The total can exceed, but it cannot be less than, the amount the post office told you is needed to mail the envelope.

It’s important to to note that with the rising costs of mailing even a one ounce envelope now over 60¢, it’s become increasingly difficult to create a mailing using only vintage postage on the envelope. Not only are many of the face values too low, but the amount of stamps needed could take up too much room on the envelope, leaving little space for your guests address!

This is why we recommend using modern postage stamps for the bulk of the amount of postage needed to mail and adding vintage postage to make up a portion of the value or for decorative purposes only. 

Where to find vintage postage stamps

At Merrily Post, we offer beautiful vintage postage sets designed to create a romantic and coordinated theme for your invitation envelopes. Our vintage postage is available in a variety of pre-selected sets, each already curated for you into color stories and themes to make incorporating them easier for you.


CLICK HERE to shop MerrilyPost 


Envelopes using a mix of vintage and modern postage stamps

Photo courtesy of MerrilyPost 


What we offer at Merrily Post

You’ll find different collections of vintage postage, all expertly pre-selected and organized into sets for you. 


Curated Sets of 10 Stamps:

These sets are designed around a theme, season, or color and are perfect for mixing with modern postage or for keepsake wedding photography.

These sets work well when vintage postage is for decorative purposes and the individual face values are not important.


Photo courtesy of MerrilyPost 


One Letter Sets:

Enough postage for mailing one envelope. These sets are designed for one, two or three ounce envelopes.

Photo courtesy of MerrilyPost 


Five Letter Sets:

These sets contain enough postage for mailing five envelopes, designed for various weights. 

Vintage postage stamps on wedding invitation envelopes

Photo courtesy of MerrilyPost 


At Merrily Post we do not offer custom curation or consultation services. All postage is available as shown in our listings and is subject to change based on availability.

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