US Stamps

Tapping into the potential of U.S. postal cards

Apr 26, 2021, 8 AM
This 2012 Scenic American Landscapes series forever postal card shows Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming (Scott UX636) on the stamp imprint. The reverse of the card (not shown) includes a large image using the same photograph as the imprint.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

Postal cards have a storied history among philatelists. The first United States postal card was issued in 1873, and the newest one is featured in the May 10 issue of Linn’s. Also in the May 10 issue is Ronald Blanks’ article on airmail postal cards and their rates.

The Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers devotes 29 pages to the listings that comprise these cards.

That section used to grow at a rapid pace in the past couple of decades but slowed considerably in 2012. The newest postal card is the first released in four years. What happened?

In 1994, the U.S. Postal Service started producing large sets of different postal cards in booklets that matched related stamp issues. The first was a booklet of 20 Legends of the West postal cards (Scott UX178-UX197), and the last was a booklet of 2012 Scenic American Landscapes cards (UX634-UX643).

I enjoyed using those postal cards to send notes to friends, and I wish they would come back in some way. I saved a number of the Scenic American Landscapes series cards for future use when I travel to some of the sites shown on them.

I always thought the American Landmarks series of high-denomination stamps that started in 2008 would work perfectly on a set of these cards. They could even be produced separately and sold via Stamp Fulfillment Services and at the post offices nearest the landmarks.

I believe Canada Post does something similar to that concept and issues quite a few postal cards.

With the tourism industry hopefully facing a huge boom and many families using the mails to connect more, this might be the perfect time to reintroduce U.S. postal cards to the mailing public in an accessible format.

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