Hello, my name is Andrea, and I’m a stampoholic. In fact, my recent obsession is partly what drove The Glam Pad’s motivation for this six-week letter writing series (you can get caught up here, here, and here)! It started with a beautiful note I received in the mail from Bethany Berk, founder of Marchioness Home & Garden. On the envelope were six beautifully curated vintage stamps. Then I received Bethany’s vintage-stamped Christmas card. Fast forward to this spring when fellow Dallas blogger Albertina Cisneros of @mimosalaneblog invited me to a luncheon event at her lovely home… The charming stamps gracing the envelope were the final straw. I fell down the rabbit hole.
Chances are, if you spend time on Pinterest or Instagram, you have stumbled upon pictures of beautiful wedding invitations boasting exquisite calligraphy or hand-addressing and an assortment of equally delightful stamps. These intriguing images have helped inspire an entirely new generation of stamp collectors and create a chic new industry of online stamp vendors. With stationery sales on the rise largely due to Covid and renewed interest fueled by the millennial generation, vintage stamps are no longer reserved for scrap books or special announcements, but are becoming a popular trend in everyday letter writing.
Once you have taken up the lost art of letter writing, invested in beautiful custom stationery, dusted off your penmanship skills, thoughtfully crafted your note and addressed your envelope, an assortment of carefully selected vintage stamps are the cherry on top of a sundae.
“Stamps are the very first thing you notice when receiving a piece of mail, whether it be a letter from a friend or a wedding invitation,” Patrick Dea, stamp collector and owner of Edelweiss Post, told MarthaStewart.com. “There is just something captivating about these tiny pieces of art and history. By selecting just the right stamps, you are adding both beauty and meaning to your mail.” This became even more important during the days of social distancing, he said.
Gracie Cote, founder of @enfieldpost specializes in finding and compiling sets of unused vintage postage for special occasions and everyday use. She says, “In the age of emails and texts, letter writing has become a special art. Postage stamps are mini-artworks that bring a touch of personality and charm to all the news they carry; with a well-designed envelope, wedding and party invitations, get well cards, or simple ‘saying hello’ notes become exponentially more special in a recipient’s mailbox.”
Gracie is currently working exclusively with stationers in creating bespoke sets, but she also has a beautiful selection of individual stamps available for sale via her website and Etsy. One stationer who works with Gracie in selecting stamps for her bridal clients is Mikyla Marie Manu of @inkandpressco. Mikyla said, “It is always such a joy to curate these collections together with Grace of @enfieldpost. In a way, I feel like we’re curating a mini gallery exhibit for a fine art museum that is an envelope!”
As you know, The Glam Pad is a proponent of reviving and promoting “old fashioned” traditions, and up until recently, stamp collecting (philately) was considered a dying hobby. According to the American Philatelic Society, the average stamp collector is more than 60 years old, as younger generations lost interest in stamps in favor of social media. However around 2020, things began to change. The Guardian reported a renewal in the industry stating, “Philately is gaining popularity among millennials, many of whom see the creative pursuit as an escape from their screen-based lives.” Millennial Suzanne Rae, chairman of the Philatelic Traders Society, told the publication, “Philately is tangible: it’s relaxing and unplugged. It’s also very Instagrammable. Twitter and Instagram enable young collectors to find people like them and see that it’s not only a geeky old man’s pursuit.”
This renewed interest may also be fueled by “romantic notions of pre-digital life,” continues The Guardian. Stamp collecting offers Millennials and Generation Y a nostalgic link with the past. As The Glam Pad wrote in The Resurgence of Stationery, these are the same generations snapping up vintage typewriters, vinyl records, and Polaroid cameras, all while needlepointing pillows and decorating their homes in Grandmillennial “Granny Chic” style. Everything old is new again.
Stamp collecting was at the height of popularity from the 1930s to 1970s. My mother collected stamps. So did Patrick Dea’s grandfather… and now it’s back with a fresh new twist. In closing, Patrick perfectly summarizes the modern face of philately. He states:
“But unlike Grandpa who kept his collection buried in thick catalogs and dusty boxes deep inside his study, I want to share my vintage stamps, dispatching them through the postal system and beyond, with your help. Grandpa explored the world through his stamps but I want to share my stamps with the world.
The internet, for all its efficiency and convenience, has made communication something you cannot touch, cling to, keep, and pass down. When is the last time you received a thoughtful hand-written letter, a tactile note or a party invitation in your physical mailbox?
Postage is a beautiful but dying art form. Our mailboxes have been relegated to the status of junk depositories and checking the mail has become a chore rather than the adventure it once was, fueled by anticipation. I want to help change all this in my own little way… and I’m thinking maybe you do too.” ~ Patrick Dea, Edelweiss Post
Who else wants to play along?! Below are some resources for starting your own stamp collection. The Glam Pad is encouraging the hashtag #showmeyourstamps on Instagram… Use the hashtag and tag us @theglampad, and we will post your stamp curations via our Stories! Warning… this is a highly addictive hobby! 🙂
Sources for Purchasing Stamps:
- Magnolia Postage
- USPS – Mixing new with old is tres chic!
- Also, you will want this glue to adhere your vintage perforated stamps.
NOTE: U.S. postage never expires; you can use existing unused stamps indefinitely. All postage stamps issued by the United States since 1860 are valid for postage. You just need to make sure it adds up to cover current postage rates.
Shop the Look:
THE GLAM PAD’S LETTER WRITING SERIES
Below is an outline of The Glam Pad’s six-week series on the art of letter writing, and all that is related to the subject… Stay tuned next week as Natalie shares tips on cursive handwriting!
- APRIL 8: Why hand-written letters and fine stationery (and calling cards!) are making a comeback, particularly among the Millennial generation. CLICK HERE TO READ
- APRIL 15: The fascinating history of calling cards, and how they are relevant today. – A guest post by Nancy Sharon Collins. CLICK HERE TO READ
- APRIL 22: An overview of resources for fine stationery. What pieces do today’s letter writing enthusiasts need in their wardrobe and why? CLICK HERE TO READ
- April 29: A fabulously fun trend… Vintage stamps! How to begin a collection and use them to personalize your correspondence.
- MAY 6: Why cursive handwriting is making a comeback, and what you can do to learn or improve.
- MAY 13: The ultimate in customization – A bespoke monogram and stationery created by Nancy Sharon Collins.
Delightful…presented so beautifully! How fun that I’ve also saved some of these, are
I love these vintage stamps, and I do still write letters and have a collection of lovely stationery which I bought at the thrift store! Their loss, my gain.
I was shocked to get an on line invitation to my granddaughter’s wedding in July. It doesn’t make sense not to memorialize such an important event.
We recently attended a memorial service for a friend and I had to save the lovely invitation with the sweetest graduation photo of her as the paper and
printing and sentiments expressed were so exquisite. Her 4 children obviously felt her life should be memorialized starting with the invitation.