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Post Office Question

Am I able to walk into a post office with stamps and trade them for face value cash?
I'm building a 1968 and a 1970 Topps set. I have lots of 1970s and 1960s to offer in trade.


  • KentuckyJKentuckyJ Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭

    No, sorry.
  • Can you imagine the nightmare the USPS would go through with people coming in with hundreds of sheets of stamp of different denominations?
  • KentuckyJKentuckyJ Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭

    And from decades ago, trying to cash in sheets and blocks of now ancient material that has no tagging and maybe very fragile gum. The USPS would be broke within minutes from all of the redemptions!

    The fact stamps are of no cash value, other than postage, one minute after you buy them is probably a significant reason why there are tons more collectors today in coins and currency.
  • Yes, but wasn't this only after the start of the Civil War. I think I read somewhere that whemn the civil War broke out there was a great concern about the number of U.S. stamps in the confederacy, so the policy was changed to remove their monetary value. I do not know if the monetary value for older stamps was ever removed. Can anyone add to this??
  • I don't think you could EVER redeem stamps for cash value pre or post Civil War(at least not actual postage stamps) The pre-Civil War stamps were demonitized(in 1861?), I assume this would technically be ALL stamps before that time period. Other postage stamps that have no franking power are Special Delivery issues and Postage Dues. I do receive mail from collectors and dealers that have these affixed though, which is probably ignorance on the part of the postal clerks or the denominations are too small to be worth the trouble.
  • Your comment about special delivery and postage due not having any franking power is interesting. I have been using up a bunch of old airmail stamps that have disturbed or loss gum. Would these stamps also not have any franking power? Maybe I should stop using them.
  • Airmail stamps are still valid.
  • Are you sure about special delivery stamps having no franking power? I knew that was the case for postage due stamps because those were only ever affixed by a Post Office worker to denote the amount of postage due to be collected from the recipient.

    Its true that the 1851-57 issue was demonitized in 1861 just after the start of the Civil War so that stamps held in southern post offices couldn't be brought north to raise $ for the south. Interestingly the 1847 issue was already demonitized in 1851 when the new 1851 issue was introduced.
  • Yes I am sure about the Special Delivery issues. Most postal clerks probably don't realize it though.
  • ResRes Posts: 1,086

    << <i>Am I able to walk into a post office with stamps and trade them for face value cash? >>

    No, but you might be able to sit outside the P.O. and offer them for 75-90 cents on the dollar. Especially if there's a long line.
  • You will likely get 75-90 cents on the dollar by listing on Ebay too.

    I was just given a large accumulation of full sheets, blocks and strips from the 70's to about 1990 that may be headed to Ebay. I'm still adding it all up to see what's there. Probably $3000 face value. Is there anyone out there looking for a particular full sheet from that era? I just may have it.

  • Wow , just "given" to you what a score!
  • Yea. It turns out my wife's grandpa saved sheets, strips and blocks of stamps back in the 70's and 80's. I never knew. Wish I had known while he was alive. We could have had some fun conversations. He died a couple of years ago, and my father in law told me he had just cartons and cartons of this stuff. He sent it to me to look through it to see if it was worth anything. It's basically all first day covers, other event/commemorative covers, and then quite a few of these mint sheets/strips/blocks. After looking through it, I told him that no one item is worth anything significant, but because there is so much of it, it would have some significant value (I thought maybe $2000). He told my wife I could just keep it. I thought wow - that was very nice of him. (It's my lucky day!) After I actually started counting up some of the mint sheets/strips/blocks, I found that there is probably more than $2000 just in that (admittedly that's where nearly all of the value will come from too). I'm thinking there might be $3000 there. I figured I could sell the mint stuff and put the $$$ in my kids (his grandkids) savings accounts - or I could buy that scott 8 I've had my eye on image

    He definitely spent more on it than it's worth today, and he could have done so much better from an investment perspective if he had bought high quality classics. Oh well.

  • It sounds like maybe he just enjoyed going to the post office to get the stamps. He may have been hoping to find some errors. It would have been nice for you to talk with him to find out where he was coming from.

    I am looking to replace a sheet of the state birds and flowers #1953-2002 or the "A" version. My father-in-law is a bird watcher and I made up a real nice framed display and gave it to him. Don't know if I will get it back so I should replace it in my collection. Another series of the 1976 flag #1633-1682.
  • Matt at least you could save it all for postage, imagine the amount you could save by using them on registered mail to PSE with your submissions!

    Tough decision on that #8 (ha ha)
  • Rolin,

    Let me check, but I do think I saw all 3 of those in there (state birds, 1976 flags, and "A" nondenominated).

    I now wonder too why he kept the stamps. It would have been interesting to know. In any case, they still are beautiful to look at. I pulled out a volume of bicentennial event covers that are bound in a nice red cover book, and they're beautiful. The history write up on each one is educational (I'm a sucker for history though - love reading about it). I suspect they have very little market value, but they're great to look through. I might just put those on my self and enjoy them.

    He also apparently kept quite a few coins, and I'm under the impression that the coin collection was much more valuable, but also had lots of stuff made "just for collectors" thrown in too.

  • What I meant to say was I would take either version of the state birds and flowers. You interpreted it to mean the "A" non-denominated stamp.

    Thanks for looking for those and send me an email: rolin at efn dot org when you get around to selling the stamps.
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