Receive postcards from countries considered "rare"

Hi everyone, as we all know, the easiest way to receive a postcard from any country in the world is to find a person who lives in that country or who goes there temporarily, for example for tourism or work.
However, there are many countries that many Postcrossers consider “rare” as there aren’t Postcrossing users and it is difficult that there are people like us interested in sending and receiving postcards who go there temporarily for tourism or work.
For this reason, I would like to understand if it is possible to receive postcards from countries considered “rare” without having anyone send the postcard from that country and therefore without making a direct swap.

I try to explain better: if I had valid mint stamps issued by a “rare” country (for example an African countries or a territory in the Caribbean or in Oceania), how can I send to this country a postcard (for example MOTW) franked with the stamps of this country inside an envelope in such a way the postcard return to me with the stamps canceled by the postmark of this country?

In most countries it is very easy to do this, because the postal operators of these countries have a website where:

  • You can know the postage rates to send from these countries to your country
  • Non-residents could also be given the opportunity to purchase their stamps to frank the postcard which must be sent back to us
  • There is contact information (email, telephone or post office usually GPO or competent for philately) to find out the postal address to send the envelope containing the postcard that must be sent back to us

Unfortunately, however, in most countries that are considered “rare”, postal operators do not have a website through which it is possible to get to know all this information and this leads to the following questions:

  1. The stamps that would be used to frank these postcards could probably also be easily found on ebay or through some collectors, albeit paying them at a value higher than face value, but then how would I know if they are still valid?
  2. How would I know the current postage rates if no one has recently sent a postcard from there and the postal operator doesn’t have a website?
  3. And finally, perhaps most importantly, how would I know the competent post office (usually the one that deals with philately), know its postal address in order to send him the postcard already franked with their stamps which will have to be sent back to me and find out if they are available to carry out this service of “mail forwarding”?

Probably many will think that this method is impossible to use for countries considered “rare” also having a long time (perhaps the postcard could take even 6 months to get to us in the “rare” country and another 6 months to get back there, if it not gets lost) but I am sure that many Chinese Postcrossers use this very intelligent and sophisticated method to make direct swaps (also here in the Forum) in which they offer postcards sent directly from these “rare” countries (they also call them “rare coordinates”) or sent already franked and with postmark of these “rare” countries but inside an envelope sent from China.

For this reason, I too would like to know how to use this method directly independently in order to be able to evaluate it and in case I’m interested in order to be able to receive postcards independently from these countries and be able to add them to my collection (to date I have received mail from 138 countries: 52 from Europe, 35 from Asia, 6 from Oceania, 23 from Africa, 15 from North America and 7 from South America).

Thanks to all in advance and happy Postcrossing :wink:


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences on this topic. I agree that sending messages to a few registered members in a rare country may not always be the best approach, as they may already be inundated with messages from others.

Indeed, this is the best way, but it may not be always affordable unfortunately :blush:
I would personally send an email or a direct physical mail to an embassy to get the information, and/or send a mail to the main post office of the capital city.
Tell me if you try that option, and if it worked!


There are also some groups who will write and send you a card for a fee. Several members have done this with Postcards from Timbuktu (and perhaps other organizations) and the money helps support the organization’s activities.

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Such is the case for me, having been to both Jersey and Isle of Man (relatively rare countries in postcrossing) and sent postcards from there, I’ve been at points bombarded with requests for stamps and postcards from there.

OK with it the beginning, but sadly, I ignore most.


Another user said “Writing to the few members who are registered in a rare country is a stupid idea. Why, because they get bombarded by such pms/mails.”

I do not find this to be the case entirely. I’ve had many swaps from people in rare countries. Andorra, Bahamas, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Peru, Tanzania, Uganda, Vatican City (through a very nice lady in Rome), and more have graciously swapped with me.

It takes time and patience, but people are very kind around the world, and they love to help out. Most of my postcards have been through direct swaps. 43 so far to be precise, and I have 18 more that I’ve scheduled and should be coming to me. Don’t expect to get postcards from Vanuatu or Burundi any time soon (ever), but you can find a LOT of people will swap with you if you have the patience. I’m from United States, which is extremely easy to get a postcard from, and still I’ve had a lot of success. So anyone can if they are persistant. Just ask nicely.

(But yes, most people will just not respond. Maybe 15-20% of the people that I’ve asked have responded. But I think that’s still a decent amount.)