Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Or How I Became Obsessed with Stamps

by Cristina Mueller (Berkeley)

A totally unhinged moment in 2009, about five hours into making personalized stamped envelopes for all 200+ guests I invited to my wedding.

A couple years ago, while preparing to send out wedding invitations, I came across an eBay site, SeaJay Stamp and Coin, that sold unused vintage stamps (which, in case you were wondering, can always be used on letters no matter how old they are—you just need way, way more to get to 44 cents). I honestly didn’t think I was one for philately (the study of stamps), but I fell hard for this store. You want a seven-cent 1959 airmail stamp in honor of Hawaii’s statehood? Done. An Ansel Adams–reminiscent Yosemite stamp from 1934 (which, incidentally, was before stamp perforation and adhesive even existed)? Right here. If you have a grandfather who went to West Point, there’s a 1937 stamp for him too. Or, you know, there’s the 1948 centennial stamp commemorating the American poultry industry. Trust me: They have everything.

But then, about a year ago, the store completely vanished and had some sad little announcement saying it would return in three months—then six months—then nine. I sent plaintive emails, but to no avail—until now! That’s right, it’s back. But hurry over and get obsessed before it mysteriously disappears again!

My burgeoning collection