In our modern society, communication mainly happen through some form of electronic media, be it facsimiles or email. Gone are the days of everything happening through the post office. Well that’s what most people think, but if you really have a look at everything happening at the post office, that is not entirely true. I am thus pleased to inform you that you can still find postal stamps, literally anywhere.
Unfortunately, the bulk of this activity comes from businesses and has nothing to do with letters. With the large companies like Amazon using their own couriers, not even our beloved packages we ordered comes through the mail. It seems that the world is out to destroy the humble mailbox. Millions of bills and advertisements move through the mail system daily however, each with a prepaid bulk-stamp, a simple number printed on the envelope.
There is thus just something special to receiving a letter out of the blue, especially if this letter is hand-written and comes with a beautiful stamp. It could be a letter from a long-lost friend who has since lost all your contact details and only remember where you live. Fortunately even if you do not live there anymore, many people take kindly to hand-written mail and will actively help seek out the owner of such letters.
Even to this day, pen-pals write letters to each other. Many a game of chess has also been played over the mail system.
Locations to buy stamps near you
The first choice when it comes to buying stamps would obviously be the local post office. They will have the newest release, all the denominations, and would be able to sell you any current stamp in bulk. Although not the prettiest, they would also carry standard envelope sizes for any document you can think of. However, they normally do not sell stationary. Should the post office simple be too far away, some other big companies are also able to supply your needs.
|USPS||Post Office||8am – 8pm||USPS near you|
|CVS||Pharmacy||8am – 9pm||CVS near you|
|Rite-Aid||Pharmacy||8am – 7pm||Rite aid near you|
|Walgreens||Pharmacy||8am – 8pm||Walgreen Near You|
|Walmart||Online store||8am – 10pm||Walmart Near You|
|Staples||Copy Center||8am – 9pm||Staples near you|
|Fed Ex Copy||Copy Center||8am – 10pm||Fedex Near you|
|Check Cashing||Bank||Variable||Check cashing near you|
|TD Bank||Bank||8am – 6pm||TD BANK near you|
|Bank Of America||Bank||8am – 7pm||Bank of america near you|
|Amazon||Online store||24 Hours||Amazon online|
Some of these are actually open 24/7. Think Walmart here. While you are there you can also find other necessities for sending letters, like envelopes and writing pads. If you are in the unfortunate position of not having a local Walmart, or it does not stay open late, some syndicated pharmacies like Rite-Aid or Walgreens can also help you with stamps and maybe even basic stationary. Another option is your local bank. Although it may be limited, they may have mail stamps.
Personally I prefer to go to an office supply store like Staples. Firstly, there would be a wide variety of stamps, and secondly, I just love stationary. My local Staples has a section with stationary that will fit right into an art shop. I may have been born right into the digital era, but I think that was a mistake as I still love doing everything by hand. Something I don’t like is wasting time, so I do everything in my power to save some for doing the things I love. I even use digital banking to pay my bills. I believe this is also the reason why I know exactly where to find the things I love.
You will be amazed to learn about the variety of stamps still available on the market. Feeling all excited about the content of a letter? Shop around and you will likely find a stamp to portray your mood. Like Steve Jobs said, there’s an app, I mean stamp for that. You will also find stamps commemorating local culture, historical events and people who made America great. Natural scenery and fauna or flora also frequently makes it onto stamps. Countries often use stamps to express their culture and individuality. One only needs to look at the three global players namely Russia, Europe and America to see to what length they will go to artistically express themselves, hiring masterful artist to design their stamps.
Cost of postage stamps
Stamps were developed in order to charge you for sending mail somewhere. The cost will thus reflect this. Should you, for instance, want to send a letter from the East Coast right up to the West Coast, you will need a predefined amount of stamps. It does not matter if you put one 49c or five 10c stamps, as long as the proper value is reached. After mailing your letter,it will end up at the local sorting hub, which would also be checking for the correct stamps. This hub will then sort the mail, forwarding the relevant ones to the correct national hub for successful distribution. You will be amazed to learn that the US postal service employs over 600 000 men and woman just for getting your mail, together with millions of others, to its destination. Your stamp thus pays their salary.
The cost of stamps varies, but common denominations are 3c, 10c and 49c. International mail stamps normally cost $1.15. Stamps mandating that a letter should be speedily deliver, commonly known as airmail, also exists in some larger countries. These are often quiet expensive, but worth its weight in gold when it comes to things like legal documents, which means nothing if they are faxed. Fortunately this service is still far cheaper than couriers, although slightly slower, and still sees regular use.
History of stamps
As mentioned before, stamps where developed in order to pay for mail. Stamps like we know today, made its debut in 1840 in the United Kingdom, with the first stamp being called the Penny Black. Before this, proof of payment related to mail involved a cork ink-stamp, which is also the reason we refer to stamps the way we do even today. Seeking to beautify stamps, the postal service started to depict historical events, important persons and nature scenes on stamps, also experimenting with different shapes and sizes. The most common stamps however are still the rectangular one, and it seems the most popular ones depict plants, natural sights or American insignia.
As stamps grew more popular collectors and historians began to take notice. The term philately was thus coined to describe the act of studying stamps. The act of collecting stamps has since grown into an entire industry.Many avid collectors of art or other valuables has at some point in their lives also collected stamps, or still do so. Some stamp collectors feverishly seek out certain stamps, with some even willing to pay top dollar to get what they want.
It will then come as no surprise that the highest ever price for a stamp has been $9 480 000. This has been reached at an auction for a stamp named the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta. Historically, this stamp should never even have existed. History has it that after running out of stamps, a local postmaster contacted a newspaper to print him some stamps while awaiting an order of real stamps. One of these stampsexists till today, safely stored in an anonymous collection.
The future of stamps
With a global industry surrounding its collection, the humble stamp is not bound to die out any time soon. Although numbers has dwindles dramatically, there will always be a place for stamps. Countries also take pride in their stamps, so at least one new stamp will be released yearly per country. Humans are also emotional creatures, and some things are just better said without the aid of a cold screen and electronic circuits. Teens of today may have totally embraced the digital era, but a few who just loves the warmth letters bring stand out, and more will follow as they grow into adulthood.
As long as there are humans on earth, the need will exist to send paper around, and what better way to do it than through an already-proven system paying with already-proven technology, the humble stamp.