Friday, July 24, 2009

Where DO you get all those awesome old stamps?

Vintage postal themed stamps

I am getting this question so regularly that I must do another post on a source. I posted on him a while back, but I didn't use any pretty pictures.

Jezebel card with vintage stamps, closeup

First, I should say that a great majority of my stamps come from my dear beloved Grandfather, who is 90 years old now. He worked for the post office for most of his adult life, and he collected stamps casually over many, many years. Now my mom and I share his stamp collection, and we both use them.

Vintage stamps on V-mail

Second, I do troll eBay for a few favorite stamp designs. I generally won't pay more than face value for them, which means I don't find the deal I want very often. But I've picked up some Muppets stamps, bat stamps, and a few of the peachy letter-writing type stamps that way.

Boston Tea Party stamps

My BEST recommendation, though, I will repeat from this post I made back in May. (For those of you that have already read this and given Errol your business, sorry for the repetition.)

On the Stamps post at Letters and Journals, I read about Errol Murphy (emurphy at emurphy3101 at see end of post for updated info). He sells mixed lots of older stamps in great condition for mailing, and sells them in $20 increments. You pay face value plus shipping, and the shipping for the order I just placed was a whopping 42 cents for letter rate postage. (Sorry, folks, you'll have to pay 44 cents now, since the rates went up in May.) But here's the best part: you can request a theme!! Olympics, nature, animals, politicians - I gather he's got quite a collection. I wasn't sure about buying from someone without a website, just out of the blue, but Jackie at Letters & Journals seems like a reliable gal, and she said she'd been buying from Errol for 2 years. So I contacted Errol on a Monday about a stamp order, he took me at my word that my check to him was in the mail (it was), and must have sent the batch immediately, because I got them on a Thursday. I am just as pleased as punch with the batch of stamps he sent. NOW, when folks ask me where I get all my groovy old stamps, I will point them right to Errol. To quote what he said when I asked if I could promote his services on my blog: "I'm so glad you like the stamps. I do this as a hobby and enjoy it when I can provide stamps at a reasonable price to appreciative collectors and stamp users."

So, if you're looking for a batch of old/vintage stamps for fun postage, Errol is my top recommendation.

As a side note: even the stamps that he used on his envelope to add up to the 42-cents postage were very cool!

[UPDATE: as of May 19, 2014, Errol Murphy's most recent contact info can be found on his website,]


  1. I ordered a miscellaneous bunch of stamps from Errol (Murph) and I was very pleased with them! Here's what I emailed him:

    I just got the stamps you sent and I am seriously astounded at how great the selection is! I love dinosaurs, I Love Lucy, Bing Crosby... Wow! Thank you a thousand times over! They are just fabulous and I can't wait to start using them.

    Your fan in Arizona...

  2. I get most of my old stamps from eBay as well -- and I generally won't pay more than face value, either. Probably you've bid on some before I could get to them.

  3. Ah well... this is probably why I shouldn't be giving away my secrets, Chris.

  4. Thanks to your earlier posting I learned about Errol. He is terrific to order from and has some wonderful old stamps.

  5. Excellent - glad I could help you find Errol and his fine stamps.

  6. Dang! Errol makes me wish I lived in America - Face value or not, these stamps would be no use to me!

    A postcard is on the way across the Atlantic right now with a standard UK Queen stamp on it, as my post office never seems to have any cool ones in it :-(

  7. Mischief - if it makes you feel any better, I often covet your fine UK stamps.

  8. Thanks for the info. I might have to try Errol too.

  9. Errol is a fantastic resource for vintage postage. I get a monthly shipment of $20 worth of stamps and every once in a while I spring for a big purchase of $100. He always sends a lovely variety!

  10. Okay, how does one get ahold of Errol? I tried as an e-mail address. Is that correct? Or, since it isn't letting it go through, it probably isn't, but then how do you contact him? Am I missing something?

  11. I do not know another way to get in touch with Errol. I will check in with other sources - in the meantime, did you try a few different times with that email address?

  12. Okay, yes I did. I guess there was something funny going on with my internet, so it didn't go, then one time, it did! And I just received a wonderful packet of stamps from him! He had asked what subjects I wanted and he sent those and then some. Thanks for sharing the resource!

  13. Varenikje - thank you for confirming that Errol's contact information worked and you received great stamps from him.

  14. Missive Maven,

    Might I suggest buying up extra of current stamps you love so you can have them to use in the future as prices increase? I started doing this at 37 cents & wish I had started much earlier. I make do, though.

    Franklin, Indiana

  15. Marti - I do that already. I have quite a lot of stamps, and yet I keep buying more...

    If you're referring to the "forever" stamp that is sold at current prices but maintains its first class value, though, I only keep those for business mail. I find them antithetical to the aesthetic and personal touch I like to use on letters.

  16. I'm Japanese woman who love to write a letter and make envelopes. I've lived in US for 2 years and some more years maybe...

    I bought some stamps from Errol. Thank you for your special information!! I can enjoy writing letter than before.

  17. Dear Missive Maven:
    I have just spent the past hour poring over your website...and enjoying it. New, let me suggest a different way to go 'though it is nothing as glamorous as Errol's offerings. Errol actually sends stamps which can be used as stamps. You just add up the face value until you get to 48. I prefer to use the whole other area of the envelope as a billboard for other stamps. The Post Office doesn't mind what you do with the rest of the envelope AS LONG AS YOU GIVE THEM THE TOP RIGHT HAND CORNER. So...where do you get other stamps? The mind reels. Try the Post Office. Four times a year the Post Office produces and circulates an exquisitely-printed piece called The Philatelist. It is fat with bygone stamps, future stamps and present stamps, all of them slightly or more than slightly outside. For the love of the Lord never put any of these stamps in the top right hand corner. You might get away with it once before you spend ten years in the slammer. Uncle Sam is not amused. An Exacto blade and some glue will let you decorate the envelope like a movie set.

    Then there's the companies that sell stamps for a living. They are after the real collectors. But the come-on is usually a large number of lowpriced stamps which can be artistically stunning. Send away for the introductory lot BUT BE EVER-MINDFUL OF MAIL-BACK DATES AND FOLLOW-UP MONTHLY MAILINGS WHICH WILL PUT YOU IN THE POORHOUSE. You just want that first mailing.

    That leaves library and book sales. You will be amazed by the number of large books dedi-cated to stamps which end up on sale for $1.00. Again, you and the Exacto and the spray glue will make your envelopes stand out like Times Square on New Years Eve.

    I think that does it! If this gets by the commercial censors you are all in for an ex-citing new trip to the Post Office and your local Public Library.

  18. Anonymous, I'm glad you enjoy my website. Thanks for your comments.

    As for me, I'm going to stick with Errol and my current methods of stamp purchase. I am fine with using obvious artistamps - clearly that which is not postage - on envelopes, but I feel using photos of U.S. postage is on shakier ground than I care to stand.

  19. For those looking for great older commemorative stamps, you might Google to see if you have a local stamp collectors club or Philatelic society. Local stamp collectors usually know local dealers. Also, many stamp clubs have annual Stamp Shows where multiple dealers come to sell their wares. Face value stamps are pretty common there!!

    In Central PA, there are stamp clubs with annual stamp shows in Lancaster, York, and Reading. Also Baltimore.

  20. Paperartiste - thanks for a good suggestion. As for myself, many times of year (like now) I am so busy that I appreciate online (or email, like Murph listed here) options most of all. I like to do my shopping at weird hours, from the comfort of my couch.

  21. I love Mr. Errol Murphy! He has the best stamps ever! The stamps and little packages of stamps he puts together for me are WONDERFUL!

  22. Thank you so very much for updating Murph's email address in your post! He had sent me an email about the change a while back, but I somehow lost it. If not for you....I might not be able to order vintage stamps again! Thanks!