Mail travel scars on cards

Personally, I get too many cards with similar scuff-marks and misprinted barcodes in very predictable areas to call these things “interesting.” For the people who make lemonade out of lemons, more power!

As I’ve said in the past, I don’t consider a 1920’s card that arrives with an orange barcode printed across the front or a hand-made cut-work card where half the picture has been scraped off to be a proud survivor, I consider it to be a damaged card. I am especially sad when vintage, hand-made or truly one-of-a-kind cards arrive having suffered such abuse.

Maybe the solution is for me to take “positive imagination training” or something similar so that I can invent stories for these cards. I would prefer, though, kinder sorting machines.


I sometimes get will get a letter or postcard with a pice of this tape with a black or orange postal line on it !

I also did edit the picture that I posted as well just so everyone knows :grinning:

Whoa!! I’ve never seen anything so damaged before. Terrible! :scream:

You can usually peal that sticker off
But be careful because I recently had a nasty sticker strip on a card that was not removable

I like the sticker strips there cool :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yeah, I see them not as a scar but as a trophy… The card has been travelling from the other side of the word, and that strip contains a barcode where all the vital information is neatly encoded. I think the USPS does that because of its black barcode (the European counterparts are usually bright orange, which can be neatly printed onto a black surface). But, in the end, it shouldn’t even count as a scar, as it’s so easy to remove! But I like to keep them, as can be seen here: US-5757565.

I received this postcard from Germany today, it has been cancelled at 3 different Briefcentrums! (No. 30, 21, and 26 twice) :stuck_out_tongue:
It has a multitude of orange barcodes too.


Very cool. It went through Hannover, Hamburg, and Oldenburg (twice!).

(and we are all, of course, “together against Corona”)


I am glad @Doot put two of the same stamps on this postcard because I was still able to enjoy the design!


I recently had this poor card arrive as an official from Czechia. It is badly water damaged and looks like it may have been submerged at one point. It was mailed in an envelope with a bunch of stamps included. However the stamps are all stuck together, and a beautiful mint stamp is stuck on the back of the card squarely over the text so I can’t read the message. The envelope itself is missing most of the stamps.

It’s a shame because this person clearly put a lot of effort into putting this envelope together.

I’m going to see if I can separate some of the stamps with stamp removal fluid.


I don’t typically mind when the front of the postcard accidentally gets postmarked, sometimes I even think it looks better that way. However, this one irritated me. They had to mark on literally the only spot that had the image?


Probably yes. From the placment, my guess is your card was flipped and rotated and then the image was exactly where a stamp should be. At least they could have printed the postmark part of it and not just the wavy lines!

Some time ago I received CN-2541037 and the Swiss customs official did his job extra thoroughly and put a sticker on the picture side of the card :policeman::face_with_monocle:


Don’t know if Deutsche Post still sells the decorative gift boxes with German cartoon characters on them, but I recall one for “Bibi Blocksberg” that had the customs declaration permanently plastered over the character’s face though there was plenty of room elsewhere for the clerk to paste it. I wonder if they do it out of spite?

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Yes they still sell them (the most recent is Biene Maja) and Yes, the front image is still blocked by the large address/customs form, which got even larger with the 2019 changes. The small boxes are so small that when you send them internationally it is literally impossible not to cover over the faces. At least the Spring issue (die Maus) “medium” box was big enough that the form fit on it without covering up the image, but that is not always the case. There is a corner indicated for where the form should go, so the clerk doesn’t have a choice with that. I think they are designed for Oma and Opa (Grandma and Grandpa) to send gifts within Germany, so a big label wouldn’t be needed. Also, the boxes have an image on the bottom, so at least something doesn’t get covered up! Oh, and you’re not allowed to use stamps anymore when shipping international, only barcodes, and the address (at least to Japan) can only be written in Latin Characters. Progress… :roll_eyes:

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I recall seeing it maybe 8-9 years ago when there was still more latitude with customs forms. You are right about stamps, international customs agreements require all customs declarations to be filed electronically before posting. It was supposed to go into effect this year or so but I don’t know how far the world has come to compliance. The last time I sent an international parcel I filed the customs myself on the US Postal Service website and paid the postage online as well, and so I can print and affix the barcode label, etc. before posting. This seems to speed things up over letting the post office do the customs for you (such as if you don’t have a computer) so that the parcel goes to the airport right away instead of waiting for the customs data. The US Postal Service no longer allows handwritten or manual customs declarations and I understand it is a worldwide thing as mentioned earlier. As you must pay in full if you do it online, you couldn’t use stamps as part payment (I believe that is still allowed here if you let the postal clerk do the label for you, and it is deducted from the total bill). The Universal Postal Union requires all addresses to be in Latin script regardless of the country (but you are free to write the local language alongside), and it’s been that way for years.

Received this one today and they used marker to cross out the Mail Barcodes. Maybe they made mistakes so they had to do it. :expressionless:

The worst kind of travel scar is the scar received in the way from post office/post box to home. I got my cards delivered straight to the post office I work at and one day one of the cards I received got stained in my bag on the way home :sob: I bought a pocket folder to carry my incoming and outgoing cards because of that


I’ve been lucky so far that my postcards so far in my travels arrived with no issue or I have received them with no issue.

I guess as long as it wasn’t bent or anything I’m happy with it. I made it a habit now to upload the photo of my postcard before sending because I sent once without a photo thinking the receiver would upload it but they never did. Worse one was that I only had one copy of it and I forgot what I sent lol.

Edit: I once actually sent my postcard inside a plastic sleeve to keep it from scuffing, just to see if it would reach it’s destination. It did! I was impressed and I might do that to keep the card in mint condition