Have you ever run postage stamps through the washing machine? We did. And it was a reasonably full book. Bummer. And it was those new-fangled $0.39 stamps, too. But… We did learn something in the process (sort of). The stamps were far to beat up for us to use on an envelope, so my wife called the Post Office and asked if there was anything that we could do. She was told that we could glue the stamps to a sheet of paper and then turn them in for 90% of their face value. I’d never heard of that policy, so I thought I’d investigate a bit further.
After a bit of quick Googling, I ran across the following at the USPS web site:
Stamps that are damaged or otherwise unusable for postage (because of humidity, moisture, or other causes) while in a customerâ€™s possession may be exchanged only for an equal number of stamps of the same denomination. Unusable stamps accepted from a customer under these conditions must be those on sale at post offices within 12 months before the transaction. Quantities of the same denomination over $10 must be returned in the same configuration as when bought, i.e., sheets, coils, booklets. Each such transaction is limited to $100 worth of postage from each customer.
Nowhere in there does it say anything about getting just 90% back (and we were talking about an amount under $10, so the ‘configuration’ bit shouldn’t have mattered). As it turns out, we never got the chance to follow up on this, as the stamps ended up getting scattered to the four winds (more accurately, they got scattered by the four boys) before we had a chance to bring them in. But the lesson here is that, if you’ve got a bunch of damaged stamps, all is not lost — apparently you can still get credit for turning them in.