One way that you can help our veterans is to save / gather envelopes from the mail coming to your home, business, fraternal or volunteer organization, neighborhood, etc. You can then clip most of the postage stamps from the envelopes and send them to SFTW. We will send them to veterans to sort, soak and arrange for their own collections. Some stamps should be left on the envelopes without clipping because they are more collectible “on piece.”
What Stamps Can We Use?
Postage stamps, whether they are on paper or off paper.
Postage stamps from the USA or from any other country in the world.
Computer-generated postage labels.
Postal stationary : envelopes with pre-printed “stamps”; postal cards with a pre-printed “stamp”; aerogrammes. These should not be clipped, they are more collectible as entire pieces.
Philatelic material from stamp collections : stamps, covers, albums, and supplies.
What Stamps Can’t Be Used?
Damaged stamps : stamps with tears; stamps with staples or other fasteners in them; stamps that are missing perforations; stamps with mold, stains, or are otherwise discolored; stamps that reek of cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke
Stamps (recent) that are cancelled or defaced with pen, pencil, magic marker, crayon, heavy spray cancellations, etc.
Recent non-profit rate and bulk rate postage stamps from the USA
Extremely common definitive stamps — primarily flag stamps
Meter postage markings stamped onto the envelope
Printed envelopes with prepaid postage such as “Business Reply Mail” or “Postage Paid / Presorted Markings”
Clumps of stamps that have become stuck or glued together
How to Clip Stamps for SFTW
Carefully clip, or tear the paper around outer edges of the perforations around the stamp. Do not clip off the perforations … this ruins the stamp. Please leave at least 1/4″ of margin around the outside edges of the performations of the stamp which makes it easier to soak the stamp from the envelope.
If clipping from an envelope corner, remove the back and side flaps.
Please do not try to steam, soak, pull or peel the stamps off the paper. Our veterans will do this, as part of the fun work of stamp collecting.
Please do not cut stamps from older envelopes (pre-1941) or from more modern envelopes if they have special markings, such as “First Day of Issue” cancellations, very interesting cancellations, routing markings or “Postage Due” notations, etc.
Postal stationary (postal cards, stamped envelopes, aerogrammes) should not be clipped.
Picture postcards should not be clipped. Postcards without stamps are also acceptable to send.
If you are in doubt about whether to clip the stamp from the envelope, please don’t. Send us the entire envelope and we’ll sort it.
Sorting and Packaging
If you have time, while you are clipping them, separate stamps by those from the USA and foreign stamps. Large zipper bags, or larger paper envelopes are good for keeping them separate in shipment. Please don’t sort the foreign stamps by country, that is also part of the fun for our veterans. Mark the bags/packages USA On-Paper or Foreign On-Paper if you have sorted them.
If you are sending stamps that are already off the backing paper, such as from existing stamp collections, it is helpful to us to have those stamps grouped separately from stamps on paper. Mark those bags USA Off-Paper or Foreign Off-Paper.
The above sorting is helpful to us, but if you don’t have the time, or if the stamps are already all mixed up, please just indicate that the stamps you are sending have not been sorted as above. Make note on the packaging or include a slip of paper that says Unsorted so that we will handle them properly.