Opinions on not using "normal" stamps, but instead postage labels?

Good afternoon, recently I sent some postcards, however the post office where I sent them had some problems regarding stamps, so the person who works there used a “commercial” stamp (like the ones used in deliveries) for regular mail for each particular country instead of the traditional ones with images and the price. I believe they’re called postage labels.

She did so because there was a shortage of stamps and she did not want to risk using more than 1 stamp, which weren’t the usual ones for Europe, because it could never arrive. I did not refuse it but it is quite underwhelming to see those papers instead of stamps, it also means it won’t be needed any seal. Any opinion on it? Would you mind if you received a postcard like that?


Would you happen to mean postage labels?

Personally I would prefer stamps whenever possible, but sometimes, it is not possible.
I appreciate labels for those who need them (eg. live in rural areas, or have mobility issues etc.)

You can read more here:


There isn’t a problem using these type of stamps and postage labels. They are all valid. In germany we have traditional stamps, both self adhesive and wet-adhesive, stamps printed by vending machines, individual printed stamps, codes to print on a label or direct on the letter or card and there is also an option to get a code to write on the letter or card.


Some people will complain if you use them but it isn’t against any rule.


Yes, I believe that is the word for what they used, even though it was a small one. Thank you for letting me know the term.

I thought not since Postcrossing is about the postcards themselves and not the stamps, but it is still part of postcard exchange.


Although I don’t have many of them, I do have cards in my collection that have meter stamps. Not thrilled with them, but this hobby involves the picture on the front…primarily.


So, it is a downside even if the rest (postcard image, the message) is something you enjoyed, no? I figured it might not be ideal and I understand why they’re the opposite of appealing to some. Thank you for your honesty.

@Alvi I generally like to see postage stamps on my cards. I study the stamps, sometimes the cancellations. Of course, the cards I have in my collection often have wonderful images on the reverse and sometimes interesting messages - that is why I keep them.


Honestly I think the majority of us expects regular postcards & stamps as a “basic unwritten rule” of the mail exchange, here.

I’ve learnt it quickly on my first days as a postcrosser that most of the people do not like postcards printed by online services, not hand written and/or without standard stamps.

And must say that I agree, with that.
The back sides of the cards, with pretty stamps, decoration and handwriting, are often more interesting than the cards themselves.

So, no, I wouldn’t be very pleased to receive something else.
As long as it would happen once, because of reasons, I would understand… but if would happen often, I’d be sad.

I also tell you: I got so sick and tired of the philatelic desk in my hometown, that I decided to buy my stamps online from the original source in Rome.

Sadly, there is just one person that really cares about selling stamps, and if this person is not working at the moment I go at the post office, other workers always are annoyed to serve me and even try to blame me for still searching for stamps, which is ridiculous! :joy:

So, if you really plan to keep postcrossing as an hobby, but you have difficulties to find real pretty stamps, just order them online.


I am not a stamp collector and do not mind what is used to pay postage. I have sent cards to people who say that they are only interested in stamps, but this project is a postcard exchange, not a way for people to increase their stamp collection.


Sadly it’s often not a choice.
Everyone would prefer to receive and to send pretty stamps.
I had to use those ugly paper postmarks more than once and it really sucks, but it’s not really the senders fault, so there’s no point blaming it on them :confused:


I prefer real stamps, but any other way of paying the postage does the job, too and is also okay.
No, there is no unwritten rule to use real stamps, @Bodding , for e. g. Finland and the USA do not have real stamps anymore, just stickers.


no sure of what you mean @RalfH.
on my postcards from USA and Finland I always got real stamps, not postage stickers from post office (even tho they indeed exist. even Italy have them… but I totally avoid the service at the P. O. when it is about postcrossing)


@RalfH also, with “unwritten rule” I mean that what expectations may be in receiving stamps, not that it has to be a stamp at all costs. the few times I did not send a stamp there wasn’t a direct complain from the recipient, but a polite way to tell me that the beauty of postcrossing is in stamps too. So at the very beginning I decided to get what would have been the correct way (for me) to develop this hobby and decided for the most traditional. but I read so many profiles stating that pretty stamps are very welcome to say without any doubt that the majority of us prefer stamps. not all… of course. :relaxed:

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Not all postage labels are created equal.

Some postage labels:

  1. Have a graphic on it that equal stamps.
  2. Are limited period, limited edition issues.
  3. Are difficult to get, not simply over the counter or any postal ATM.


That is very interesting, ours here have no illustration and simple state “data” related to the card and sending date. Those are equally interesting as stamps in my opinion


From Finland and USA you get self adhesive stamps. Some colletors do not regard them as real stamps, because for them only gummed stamps are real stamps. For others even the gummed stamps with the face value printed by vending machines that you can get in Germany, are not really stamps. And the cards from Turkish Postcrossers often have rubber stamps on them, done by franking machines, for even in the post offices they do not offer gummed stamps for mail abroad. So yes, I know what you mean, and I prefer gummed stamps on the cards I get (I also send these), but you should not expect them, for Postcrossing is neither about stamps nor about collecting anything, it is about connecting people and having a pretty stamp on the card is a nice bonus, but not more. And some Postcrossers cannot provide that bonus due to circumstances, although they would like to.


Not sure what this means…do you mean all the US stamps are adhesive now instead of the moisten glue? I think this is true in most countries, however I use old glue stamps on almost every card I send. I think quite a few Americans buy and use old glue stamps…


Your comments RalphH, pretty much sum up the situation with stamps today. I was a collector years ago, and the only non-standard stamps issued were from Tonga and Sierra Leone, self adhesive and freeform , which looked like stickers rather than stamps. I have a nostalgic memory of those times, but they are long gone.