Posting cards at the counter, inside the PO?

Hi, this is a little vague but I think I’ve seen ppl here talking about taking their postcards ready for sending to the counter at their post office and getting them ‘franked’ (not sure this is the correct word) and then taken for posting.

Is this right ? Do some ppl do this and are post offices happy to oblige ?

I’m partially asking this because I’ve become dubious that my local postbox gets cleared every day and so I’m thinking that it might be better to take my cards to the post office.


Hi I regularly take cards to the PO counter, stamped or unstamped (better to be stamped already if they are busy) and the people there will take the cards and put them in the trays with bulk mail etc for posting. If they’re unstamped, they will of course charge you for stamps, and usually they will put them on themselves.

You can also get a hand postmark (a.k.a. date stamp) over the stamps upon request (try asking for a pictorial postmark, you might get one or you might just get funny looks)

At some offices they will sort the mail into local, interstate, overseas, which can actually make your sending a bit faster!

Hope this helps.


Thank you for your very helpful reply @austviolin. I see that the correct word is postmarked, which is good to know when I ask at the counter. And yes, I would have the stamps on the cards already, so that was why I was a little unsure if I could take them to the counter (thinking perhaps the staff would ask me why I didn’t just put the cards in the box that is usually outside a post office).

Also, the sorting into international mail might help it get moving a little faster if they do do that where I go, so that’s an interesting tip. Plus my nearest postbox now has collection marked as happening at 12:00 pm so taking it to the post office gives me a little more time in the day to make the post.


Does your post office have a slot where you can deposit mail? That’s what I do when I mail my cards. Plus, there are no street mail boxes in this city. So sending mail requires a trip to the post office to mail stuff inside or the outside boxes which are under camera surveillance.

It all depends on where you are. At my local post office, I am likely to get an eyeroll from the clerk and be told to drop the cards into the slot for mailing. When I am away traveling, the clerks are sometimes very enthusiastic and helpful, while others are just as lazy as the ones back home.


I sometimes go to the PO counter, especially when I put the matching stamp at the image side and the others on the “right”. German mail service doen’t know maxi-cards (I know, that aren’t real maxi-cards, but quite similar) and I didn’t want to confuse the system. :rofl: The people at the counter also didn’t know maxi-cards and asked me who the hell was so stupid to stick the stamp at the wrong side.

You’re getting some international answers but in Australia every post office has postmarking (rubber) stamps and, in my experience, they’ll all postmark your cards if you ask. Online the term used is usually ‘hand cancel’ but that’s more American and if you say it at AusPost they’ll probably have no idea what you’re talking about — if you ask for them to ‘postmark it with today’s date’, they’ll just do it. I have very rarely been asked why I didn’t just put it in the box outside, and then I tell them I specifically want it with today’s date or to show the location and they oblige (but honestly that has happened maybe twice in hundreds or thousands of visits to different post offices).

As Austviolin pointed out, there are many post offices with special pictorial postmarks so your local might even have one if you chat with them (and in that case my advice is to always ask for the pictorial before you hand over the mail because otherwise they usually have it postmarked before you can even get the request out :sweat_smile:)


I do this all the time in Canberra, and when I’m travelling interstate, and they’ve always been happy to do it for me. I vary what I ask for, sometimes I’ll call it a hand cancellation, sometimes I’ll ask them to put a postmark on for me. Sometimes, when I go to a different post office, they’ll look all clueless and I’ll need to explain in more detail what I’m asking for.

On occasion, when there is no queue I’ll go into full detail as to why I am asking…ie that stuff thrown in the postbox outside is prone to arriving on the other side of the world completely mark-less and could have been hand delivered from next door for all anyone knew! I will explain that philatelists etc often like to see postmarks and evidence of posting and travel.

I’ve never had a clerk who has been opposed to the idea. They usually seem to think it’s the least bothersome part of their job, in my experience. And end up chatting about my stamps or stickers etc. I think I’m known as the crazy postcard lady in several local post office outlets down here :crazy_face:.

And I will add that they’ve always kept the postcards on their side of the counter and posted them for me, afterwards. On occasions I’ve asked for the item back to take a photograph, and then handed them back again. No one has minded when I’ve done this. I will choose my time carefully though…quiet times, not queues out the door.


I’ve had clerks almost horrified to learn that unpostmarked mail often doesn’t get cancelled by the machine - “you mean someone in Moldova could peel off the stamp and use it again!?”


In the U.S., postal workers would get into serious trouble if they neglected to clear mail collection tanks on the appropriate day and at the appropriate time. Even so, I only place outgoing mail in the collection receptacles inside the post office, both for the sake of expediency and for security; in the U.S., theft of mail from street-side postboxes has become a recurring problem.

I also do this every so often and they’re always nice about it, which is nice!

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I was just looking for some info about this on the Aus Post website, and found this:

How to protect your philatelic collection against biro cancellation

Postmarks serve a practical function as a way of cancelling the stamp and showing where and when the article entered the mail network. But for collectors, how a stamp is postmarked forms part of the story of a stamp itself.

Collectors posting philatelic mail, who would like a specific cancellation and for it to remain intact, are advised to go to a retail Post Office and request that the cancellation is sent undercover. This means the post office staff will enclose your letter within an Australia Post official envelope, protecting your cancellation as it travels through the mail network.

I know this is not what is being asked, but I didn’t know this and figured it would interest people.

To get back on topic, I have never had any trouble getting this done. I usually asked for it to be hand cancelled, and have never been questioned on it.

If I know they have a pictorial cancellation, I make sure I go in at a quiet time - they usually only have one of these, so they have to find it, find the stamp pad, etc.

But if I just want the regular postmark, it seems every staff member has a stamp at their side ready to go, and it takes seconds to do.

If I’m feeling self-conscious about asking for that only, I buy a few stamps while I’m there (because sometimes I’m a self-conscious idiot… :blush:)


Re buying a couple of stamps too…I’ve done the exact same thing Helen!

And I’ve also had it happen where a pictorial (that was obviously not used often) was left on a date before a long weekend or something and then stamped without being changed on my mailings…all then looked like they were sent several days before they were drawn/arranged. lol.

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