Mysterious Card

That is such a tragedy! So many hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of job losses.

Makes me think there must an Island of Lost Postcards somewhere (like the Island of Lost Toys in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) where many of our postcards go - some stay for a while & then leave & others stay there forever.

I wonder about all the stories of both those postcards who get to leave & those that get stranded. I wonder about the mysteries of how they get there & what happens so they can leave. I wonder what they talk about while they’re there eh?


I am an American living in Canada, so I get a fair bit of mail from the US. The code at the bottom is always 00299-2300 on mail from the States, which I suspect must be Canada or even Ontario, Canada. I’ve always wondered what the code actually means.

Maybe we could gather these all up from around the world and start a new thread?! Seriously though, there must be some meaning behind these numbers, but the USPS isn’t saying. Here it looks like that must the code for Canada or maybe just part of it. I wonder what other Canadian Postcrossers have seen? It also wouldn’t surprise me if it might vary from where in the US one sends it from.

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I got a postcard the other day that was for my neighbour. I think the Postman is so used to me receiving them he didn’t even check the address.


This post (and the thread more generally) has some good info re sorting codes

@monarja This is absolutely fascinating, thank you for sharing this! I really do believe the worldwide postal system is a miracle sometimes :star_struck:

Edit to add: WOW, I just looked up the card on your wall and realised this invisible card was delivered to you in SIXTEEN DAYS. I don’t think I’ve received even a single standard card, completely legible and properly addressed, that quickly! Some champion work from the postal system, I think!

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I did some googling and these numeric codes are USPS International Mail POSTNET (Postal Numeric Encoding Technique) codes that are used internally by the USPS to direct mail to the proper international port. This link has a list of POSTNET codes corresponding to countries. India is 00174 and Canada is 00299. The list is from 2009 and it looks like the codes are updated every few years.

USPS also has a tool to decode the Intelligent Mail barcode. The resulting information is just a series of numbers like service type, mailer id, serial number and delivery point code.


Wow! Thanks for the links. I never even thought to research it further. Nobody I knew at USPS had the slightest idea beyond “that information is proprietary” and I never really cared to research it further after that. I’ve had customers ask me from time to time and my boss told me to mind my own business, so that didn’t give me any incentive either. I never knew it could be so fascinating. Now I’ve got some reading to do. Life is a never ending learning process!

I have recd once again two cards, where the message is written in a white gray ink. I can barely read my name and address.but the card ID and senders message is just invisible. Can some one suggest how to read these cards. Any trick or UV / infra red rays ?. I don’t think any body expects me to use such technology to read post cards. Please guide me.

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That’s really mysterious. Do you think they might have some laser technology at your local post office that makes the ink disappear? :sweat_smile:

Maybe they sprinkle cards with some sanitizer after which the ink disappears?


By the way, if I were you, I would definitely visit my post office and make an inquiry how they manage to deliver the card without my address on it.

The idea just struck me. UV is used for disinfection :thinking: May it be somehow connected?

Oh that could actually be a thing, though I meant to just make a joke! :o

The sender’s name appears to be “PAULA” or “PAVLA”.
I’m still working on the message part, but in the meantime you might very lightly run the side of a pencil lead over the writing, and it might show the words in white where they are pressed into the card.

Postmarked 7 May 2021, from one of the post centers whose code ends in 1; it’s either 01, 31, 51

If you can take another photo of the card tilted at an angle, so the bottom is higher than the top, I might be able to try again. The ID number seems to be at the bottom, and it looks like there’s a 004 in it, but that’s the best I can do with the current photo.


Any chance you can shine a UV (blacklight) on it? My guess is it was written in UV ink - this would be read by the postal sorting machines but not visible to naked eye. You can buy such pens on Amazon.

I recd 10 cards today so why only one of them got affected by laser.

That could be possible. Now i have to arrange for uv light. I wonder if that is what sender expects .?

I get about 50 cards in a month, so postman deliver any card marked in my post office to me without any effort…sometimes cards of some other person also delivered to me, which I repost.

As suggested I have taken fresh photo at angle. Also applied pencil .see if it helps. Thanks