a time before forever: stamps & ephemera from the early 2000s


Remember the days before non-denominational Forever stamps, when each increase in postal prices would send us rushing to the post office for penny-stamps to make up the difference? Honestly–I don’t, completely. USA forever stamps showed up around 2007, when I was a young teen, and I didn’t exactly handle too much postage in my youth.

Luckily for me, though, my mom kindly sent me a crafty care package that brought me back to those early days of twenty-first century snail mail! I’m not sure where she uncovered these old-school stamps, but I can’t wait to carefully calculate how many of them I’ll need to match 2016 letter rates…

(Please note: the nautilus postcard is quite obviously not a stamp, but so perfectly in line with my interests that I couldn’t bear to exclude it from this photo-shoot.)


It wouldn’t be a parental care package without some new Hawai’i ephemera for me to incorporate into my mail art! Man, that Hawaiian Airlines pocket map brings back memories: I used to always see endless racks of them every time we checked in at the Hilo airport to fly to the Mainland.


Wait, what are these doing in my US stamp haul?

I presume she probably saved these from my six months in Scotland–and how funny to find a stamp that features a thistle when I photographed one earlier this week!


I can’t even glance at these without thinking of His Dark Materials. What perfect wintry stamps–the literal polar opposite of the current Additional Ounce stamps that feature penguins!


Hey, apparently there were some Hawai’i-themed stamps at one point (and by “one point,” I mean 2008).


Iorek Byrnison, will you never stop being so majestic?

Have you ever uncovered a cache of old stamps? Do you ever try to use various combinations of these outdated beauties for today’s mail? I’m rather fond of the idea of time-traveling postage!


  1. The polar bear ones are so cute!
    Rushing to the post office for penny-stamps to make up the difference? Of course I remember those times – it was just back in July for me when the prices went up 😀
    Most of the stamps I use are older ones from several years ago – like if you see a 60c stamp on my envelopes, 60c stamps are actually the national stamps from 2013 I think. I seem to rarely actually use stamps with the up to date cost on them for some reason xD

    • Yes, the rise of non-priced “Forever” stamps in the US certainly makes it harder to tell when exactly they’re from! It’s so funny to look at these older stamps and actually see a price. I wish they still made those adorable polar bears, though!

      • I kinda wish Ireland would take up the idea of the US non-priced ‘forever’ stamps – I feel it would make my snail mail life a lot easier. There’s far too much maths involved in it at the moment with my wanting to use older stamps because I like how they look and then having to figure out how the hell I can make up the current price with the odd assortment of awkward numbers An Post has!

  2. The polar bears are fantastic, so lovely 🙂 I don’t have a lot of outdated ones that I can still use, the older ones (and with older I mean from about 10 years) I still had I pretty much used up when I first got into penpalling again (for some reason I had quite a few mint stamps in my stamp collection. Now the only ones I still have are from before the Euro so I can’t actually use them anymore. In Germany though you can order these stamp mixes to specific topics and these will include a few older ones from the last 5-10 years if they fit the topics. Every now and then I like to get those and make my stamp selection more diverse 🙂

  3. Gosh, I love those Hawai’i stamps! I don’t remember them. And your very mention of the Hilo airport–sigh. If there were ever a more laid-back, beautiful airport, I haven’t been there yet…

    • Stepping off the plane in the Hilo twilight after 20 hours of Mainland travel is my favorite feeling in the world! I’m just about to book my flights home for the winter so that lovely airport is very much in my thoughts.

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