Questions regarding to USPS

Yeah, if you read the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM)—the official USPS rulebook for domestic mailings—at DMM 604.1.7:

Stamps must be affixed firmly in the upper right corner of the address side of the mail cover. Any stamp partly concealed by an overlapping stamp may not be counted as postage.

Note that it doesn’t say what constitutes the maximum extent of the “upper right corner of the address side”, so as long as you begin your stamp coverage in that upper-righthand corner of the address side, how you choose to extend the stamps from there is covered by the DMM.

And for international mailings, the International Mail Manual (IMM) incorporates the mailability standards of the DMM—including DMM 604.1.7—at IMM 131.51.


In practice, they don’t much care (as long as it adds up to enough postage).

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I think my personal record for most stamps on a postcard was 14 or so on a card to China.

Wow!!! Did you put them all over the card?

Does anyone know how strict is the requirement for postcard thickness to be under 0.016 inches? Is it by human judgement or is there a machine that literally filters things out if it’s a tiny bit thicker??
Asking because I’ve recently got these cards that a tinnny bit thicker than all my other cards (I guess that means it’s of very high quality…). They are all made of paper though. Just want to know if it’s fine to mail as regular postcards

^ a tiny bit thicker shouldn’t matter for international mailing (it would still be $1.55 as long as it meets these criteria (from the USPS website ):
First-Class Mail International® (FCMI®) is our most affordable option for sending postcards, letters weighing up to 3.5 ounces and large envelopes (flats) weighing up to 15.994 ounces.

For mailing domestically you should be fine if you use a First-Class Mail Letter stamp (a 68¢ forever stamp instead of a 53¢ postcard stamp) if your postcard is thicker, heavier, or larger than the USPS postcard dimensions from the USPS website :

You may think that your mailpiece is a “postcard,” because it is a single sheet of paper. But to qualify for mailing at the First-Class Mail postcard price, it must be:

  • Rectangular
  • At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick
  • No more than 4-1/4 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.016 inches thick

If your mailpiece does not meet the dimensions above, then the Postal Service considers it a letter and letter-size postage is charged.


Anyone know how to send this kind of registered letter? Do I have to go to the post office with my photo id? and is there any online price list?

Check these two links out. One is price list, one is general info. Need to bring it to your post office.

Has anyone recently ordered First-Day-of-Issue Digital Color postmarks?

How long does it take for USPS to mail them out? Postcards have appropriate
postage and addresses.

I’ve even seen that my check was cashed (on March 5) and about 10 days later, a note stating my postcards have been processed. I sent one card to myself and it hasn’t yet arrived.

Forgive me if this is a silly question. I have been sending many cards to family and friends lately, some local (Colorado, USA), so I have seen the cards after they went through the mail. Many have the postmark/cancellation on the bottom of the card, so the stamp has no cancelation. Is this common?

USPS feeds the cards through the sorter at random, no time to always align them correctly.

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Yes. They also cancel the picture side of the card.

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I’m going to give 2 answers, a short one and a long one. The short answer is that sometimes the mail just goes into the postmark machine in the wrong way and the postmark doesn’t make it onto the stamp.

The long answer:

This video will help explain it better but the Advanced Facer Canceler System or AFCS is the postmarking machine that is used currently. The machine detects phosphor tagging on the postage stamp and that’s how it knows where to direct the mail. Sometimes you won’t have phosphor tagging on your stamps, such as if you are using only stamps worth less than 10¢ each, if you’re using stamps from many years ago before they started adding phosphor tagging, or if you’re using untagged service inscribed stamps for services like presort, nonprofit etc.
In one of these machines there are typically 4 different postmarkers with the postmark oriented accordingly, because there are 4 different positions in which a piece of mail can enter the machine- right side up, upside down, right side up and backwards, upside down and backwards. The machine directs the mail to the device with the corresponding postmark (ex: if the mail is upside down, the postmark gets applied upside down so it looks like it is on there right side up)

I found this picture online, it’s from several years ago but the idea is still the same. On the second line of the postmark it says the date followed by either AM or PM depending on when the mail is processed, and then a 2 character code like 1L, 2T and so on. The number corresponds to the postmark machine and then L and T stands for Leading and Trailing, which has to do with whether the mail is right side up or upside down. There can be several of these because the big processing centers have several postmark machines. These codes don’t mean anything to most people, but they are printed on there so that when mail comes out of the machine if there is a problem with the postmarks, the staff know which machine to fix.
So if your card gets a postmark on the back and upside down, the machine just directed it to the wrong postmarker, this happens periodically due to how fast the mail is moving and because postcards are lightweight so they can easily get stuck to other mail for the ride through the postmark machine. I feel your frustration and think that this has been happening more often, so I’ve been sending all of my postcards with a handstamped round date postmark for a few years because I want to make sure they really get one. I hope this helps!


It can take a while!
Mail for the general republic who wish to receive the digital color postmarks is processed in the order it was received, but items sent via Express Mail are always processed first. Your card should arrive within a week or 2 after the payment is processed.

That is fascinating and helpful! How do you get your mail hand-postmarked?

You just go to the counter at the post office and ask the clerk to “hand cancel” or “round date” your postcards. I usually mention that the cards are for stamp collectors as well so they do it nice and legibly.

Thanks! Very helpful.

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