US Stamps

National park handstamps decorate postcard mailings

Aug 24, 2022, 11 AM

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

I took a long road trip in July to explore parts out West. Before I left, I purchased postcards from Anderson Design Group of Nashville, Tenn., featuring national park sites I planned to visit.

Having the postcards in advance was key. I was able to print mailing labels and have everything ready before I left home. All that I needed to do later was write the message, find a post office, and send the cards on the way to friends and family.

Those familiar with national parks might have heard of the passport program, where you can get dated handstamps of parks and sites you visit in passport-style books sold at the gift shops and online.

I have been adding these handstamps to national parks passport books for years, but only recently started to add them to postcards before mailing them. I did so because I realized that the closest local post office might not have a hand cancel available, and I wanted to have a marking with the city on the cards.

By surprise, I found there were additional rubber stamps at the passport stamping areas typically located inside the visitor center gift shops.

The rubber stamps showing a powerful bighorn sheep and typography that looks like a bison made great additions to the Teddy Roosevelt National Park postcards that I mailed, one of which is shown here along with an image of the Medora, N.D., post office.

And what a pleasure it was to visit that post office. The employees were super helpful, were extra nice, and put a lot of care into their post office. The outside looked amazing and inside were displays of local artifacts related to the park. It was well worth the visit.

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