Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Around the World in 80 Stamps

You can get U.S. stamps everywhere, but what happens when you want to send a request to someone that is out of the United States?  What do you put on the SASE?  The answer used to be something called IRC, or International Reply Coupon.  These are little certificates that you could purchase at the post office and include in your SASE that could be used by the person outside the United States to redeem postage at their post office.  The problem with IRC's is that nobody uses them anymore, and even some post offices either don't have them or even know what they are.

This is the current version of the IRC, called the Nairobi model, and is valid until December 31, 2013.  It costs $2.10 in the United States.

Photo courtesy of

Learn more about International Reply Coupon's here.

There are now two different ways to solve this problem... either get a hold of stamps for the country that you are sending to, or include money for the person to purchase the proper postage.  There are forums on TTM sites that are set up to exchange stamps from various countries, but this can be time consuming.  Personally, I just include money with my request, and apologize for the inconvenience.  It is United States money that I send, but I have never had a problem with that.  When sending to Canada I include $1, $2 to England, and $3 anywhere else.  A few times, some very nice people have even returned the money with my signed items (but don't count on it).  Of course being so close to Detroit and the Canadian border, I could just go over and buy some Canadian stamps, but that is a job for another day.  lol

May your mailbox be filled with autographs and not bills!

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