Discretion Is The Better Part Of Valour

As a collector of new-issue U.S. first day covers and a journalist who covers U.S. stamps, it’s important for me to know what stamps are being issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Sometimes, I know more about new issues than the clerks in the post offices.

Here are some of the more amusing things I’ve overheard in recent months — at several post offices, I hasten to add, not just one.

songbirds_buntingUpon seeing Songbirds used for postage on one of my “first-class flats,” a fill-in clerk said, “Oh, those are pretty. What country are they from?”

At another post office recently, I asked for a specific recent issue.

“I don’t have that, but I do have the Clown stamps.”

circus2upTrying to be amusing, I replied, “No, thanks, I don’t need the clowns, nor the acrobats or the tigers.”

“We don’t have the acrobat or tiger stamps.”

“Yes, you do. They’re on that same Circus [Posters] sheet with the clowns.”


And this one had nothing to do with new issues, but the other day, I heard a clerk tell the same customer, within a few minutes, “I haven’t done one of these in years” and (sarcastically) “I guess you know my job better than I do.”

Sometimes, yes.

One thought on “Discretion Is The Better Part Of Valour

  1. I’m a rural carrier at a post office but my fellow employees know I collect stamps and covers. So sometimes when a clerk or another carrier runs across an envelope with a non-denominated stamp on it, they’ll come to me to find out its true value.
    A few years ago I was showing a cover I made to my postmaster and he looked at it, pointed to the stamp on it and said, “Where did you get THAT stamp?” I replied, “Oh, that’s the World War II stamp from the latest Celebrate the Century sheet.”
    My present postmaster doesn’t think like a philatelist and sometimes doesn’t get new stamps on sale the first day they are available. But that’s okay. I just go to his competitor, the small post office on the edge of town, and buy my stamps there. They always have them ready for me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *