Can you use old stamps to mail a letter ?

@topffer (29852)
France
March 14, 2013 2:33pm CST
Although the euro replaced the franc in 2002 in France, I learned today that it is still possible to use old stamps with a face value in francs to mail a letter, if the value in francs is equivalent to the value of a stamp in euros -- a normal stamp costs 0,63 euro = 4,10 francs -- ! Stamp collectors are not always making good deals when they buy stamps : many common stamps have less value today than when they were issued. I found two websites selling online old unfranked stamps for mail at 10% less than the price of a stamp today. I was amazed and I had a look on Ebay where I found even better deals : I put a bet on some unfranked stamps usable on letters sold 40% cheaper than the price at the post office for the equivalent face value, shipping included. I suspect that many sellers don't know that they can still use legally these stamps, and I think that people will be pleased to receive letters with old stamps on, even if they have no value for a stamp collector. Your thoughts about this are welcome. And I am curious : tell me also if it is possible to use old stamps on a letter in your country ?
4 people like this
9 responses
• United States
15 Mar 13
Here in the United States, you can use any number of stamps at various face values, but they must equal the amount to mail a letter (or package) at it's current rate. But if you were smart, you'd have bought Forever Stamps when they came out-I still had some that I bought in 2007 or 2008 that I found. They were still good, even though the rates had gone up. But they can only be used if they haven't been postmarked.
3 people like this
@topffer (29852)
• France
15 Mar 13
We can also put any number of stamps on a letter. The actual euro amount needed for a normal mail can be reached with 2 stamps in francs, but for slow mail it is 4, maybe 3 with a bit of luck if you find the good ones. We have stamps with no face value since 20 or 30 years, with 2 different colors for normal (red) and slow (green) mail. I believe they are the same than your Forever Stamps. It would need to be confirmed, but I think it is in UK that these sort of "always at the right price" stamps have been invented. I have never asked especially for them when I buy stamps : I should be more smart as the price to mail a letter rises every year here -- 0.03 cents more since last January 1st for a normal letter --.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Mar 13
Stamps for fast or slow mail? That is just brilliant! It doesn't cease to amaze me how disorganized our postal system has become. They're so busy trying to sell us overpriced things that have nothing to do with delivering mail (who needs clothes???) that they've forgotten to focus on what their job is. It's no wonder that they're having problems financially...
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@topffer (29852)
• France
15 Mar 13
Sending a letter with slow mail is less expensive, but it is really slow, and you cannot say when a letter will be delivered : it takes 2 to 5 days in the same city. They have created a new category between slow and fast last year, "green letter", a "more ecologically responsible mail", which has also a specific stamp. They don't use horses to deliver mail, but they promise to not use planes. A post office here sells only things related to their job : stamps, envelopes, empty boxes, etc.
@ElicBxn (60044)
• United States
15 Mar 13
Yes, and I used to do it a lot, but I've since used most of them up!
3 people like this
@topffer (29852)
• France
15 Mar 13
I generally buy a book of 10 stamps when I need some and I don't let them a chance to become old.
2 people like this
@ctryhnny (3463)
• United States
14 Mar 13
Whatever the amount is for stamps is where you live is the amount you would have to put on an envelope. You might have to put more than one if you only have the lesser amount. Here in the US we have what's called Forever Stamps and they are good even when the po raises the price for stamps.
@topffer (29852)
• France
14 Mar 13
We have also stamps with no value indicated for letters, and they also started during the franc era. It is a bit weird, but some are also sold at a cheaper price than a normal stamp on Ebay. Well, at least the minimal bid is cheaper.
1 person likes this
@pergammano (7756)
• Canada
14 Mar 13
I can only speak for Canada...yes, we can still use old stamps, but you must amass them to meet the current postage requirement, but that is only within our own country. That is if what you are using are old Canadian stamps..I cannot mail to the U.S. using Canadian stamps...somewhat complicated! Something is amiss here...I did not receive this notification, topffer...even tho' I accepted friendship (which I am happy about) several days ago...so I apologize!
2 people like this
@topffer (29852)
• France
14 Mar 13
You have not to apologize Perga : notifications are not always working at myLot. I have a doubt now with your response : I don't know if I can use these old stamps in francs to mail a letter to a foreign country. I have not seen anything forbidding it on the post office site : they give the equivalence for internal letters, and they offer a converter, then I think it is possible. I put a bid on some common stamps from the 1990's and I will have to put 2 of them on a letter to reach the value of an actual stamp. It is funny that, when coins and banknotes in francs have no more a legal value, stamps in francs can still be legally used.
2 people like this
• Canada
14 Mar 13
That's a poser...topffer! As I say, I can only speak for the "confusion of the Canadian Postal System,"....I cannot mail to the U.S., unless I go to the PO and buy, U.S. stamps...but I can mail to the Commonwealth Country's....go figure Wow! The Ellen DeGeneres show is on in the background...and the LADY on the show is 105...and she just renewed her Driver's License, yesterday...and her birthday wish is for 105,000 wishes on FB! Unbelievable...driver's license, yet! Sorry, I got off topic...just amzed!
2 people like this
@topffer (29852)
• France
14 Mar 13
I had a look and as both Canada and USA are in the international postal union, you should normally be able to use Canadian stamps to send mail to USA. I believe that there is a specific convention between your 2 countries to break this rule. She has a driver license and a FB account at 105 years old ? I closed my personal FB account at 50, and I am tired when I have to do 100 kms. It is probably a sign that I will never reach 105.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
15 Mar 13
Hello tops, According to a man in a certain Post Office here we are not allowed to use those kind of stamps and that they will be sent back or simply go nowhere at all. Because I had two that were only last year ones and he said well no that I would have to keep them because there were no other stamps that would add up to the said amount so I had to just pay the actual postage and that´s it. So after reading this here I shall keep those stamps because they do not have any postage marks on them and see what happens. I like postage stamps I hope they never do away with them but I suppose that in the end it will be the end of the story for the normal postage stamp. xxx
@topffer (29852)
• France
15 Mar 13
Hello lovinangelsinstead, I am surprised that a one year old stamp cannot be used in Spain. I read that it was not possible in your country to use stamps before euro, but I really cannot understand that a recent stamp cannot be used to mail a letter if you add some stamps to put the right amount on it. It is also not possible in Germany since 2008 to use stamps with a facial value in marks, not because of a law, but of a decision of their Supreme Court. If I understood well what I read, the postal service in Germany was also exchanging old stamps in marks against euros -- it is not possible here -- when the mark had no more a legal value, and they found that there was a legal issue to do this. You should ask to your post office if they would pay back for your last year stamps, if you cannot use them for mail. Indeed, your option of starting a stamp collection with these 2 stamps is also valid.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
15 Mar 13
Hiya tops, That is what he told me and there are no stamps that add up like that now its either one kind and set amount for other countries. Really I cannot be bothered as the Post Office is so far away so I am just keeping them its not worth all the hassle as I am not kidding that Post Office is 4 or 5 miles from here and these roads are not made for walking on. We are surrounded by three motorways at least. So we either buy the right stamps of this year or nothing doing lol. xxx
@artemeis (4007)
• China
15 Mar 13
In my country, letter writing or snail mail is more popular with the elderly generations but I have observed that it is declining in numbers since the emergence of mobile phones. The elderly population usually are parents, grandparents and even great grandparents who wants to keep in touch with their friends, former colleagues and family members. Since the emergence of mobile phones letter writing has been getting unpopular where the phones are more convenient and reliable. From the younger late 60's generation onwards, letter writing is almost close to a single digit rate because like me, we are more reliant on modern communications technology like the internet's email, messaging, chats and social networking. The decline in letter mails may have declined but the postal service is still needed for their services in speed delivery courier services and the collection services for various utilities like water, electricity, telephone and mobile phone top-ups. Also, our post office is one of the oldest savings bank in our country which has a coverage of the entire country peoples' money. As for old stamps, I would say that those around are mostly collected collections or if they are unused could be used provided the postage are according to current rates.
@topffer (29852)
• France
15 Mar 13
It is the same here : emails and mobiles are killing letters and I use mainly the postal service for packages or when I need to send a check or a charged letter now. Even my phone, electricity, etc bills are coming in my email : the companies offered this option to save paper, but I realized that it was perhaps not a smart move, as these bills have to be legally kept 3 to 5 years here and I change my computer more often. I considered to go back to paper, I had a look online for electricity, and I read that I needed to send them a letter to do it and that I will lose the possibility to check my bills online and to send them my meter readings by internet if I ask for it.
1 person likes this
@BarBaraPrz (17232)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
15 Mar 13
As far as I know, one can use old stamps in Canada as long as they've not been cancelled, of course.
2 people like this
@topffer (29852)
• France
15 Mar 13
I read that in France I can use any old stamp to mail a letter since the first one in 1849 ! I would need to put 410 1 franc stamps from 1849 -- a challenge : the letter needs to be large -- to reach the actual amount needed, and it would probably be the most expensive letter ever sent, as the value of one 1 franc stamp from 1849 is 95000 euros today for a collector. It is a good test to verify if postmen are honest, but I have to look for a sponsor first.
1 person likes this
• Canada
14 Mar 13
As long as you match the price to mail it, then you can use old stamps. :-)
2 people like this
@anil02 (2886)
• India
15 Mar 13
Hello, I am from India and we have not any problem of currency. here we can use old stamps which is issued by our postal department.
1 person likes this
@topffer (29852)
• France
15 Mar 13
Hello anil, I thought that you could use old stamps everywhere, but it seems that it is not the case, and that in some countries you cannot anymore use old stamps when the price of the stamp rises. In the Euro zone I don't know if in another country than mine you can still use stamps in the currency before euro.