Do You Know About Postcrossing?

If you’re at all tuned in to the stamp-loving and letter-writing communities across the web, chances are you’ve heard of Postcrossing. Launched in 2005 by people who delight in checking the mailbox (not the inbox) every day, this postal-based project connects people from all over the world through the exchange of postcards.

The premise is simple: Create a profile, request an address to which you’d like to mail a postcard, send it, and wait for one to come to you, all for (almost) free—you do have to pay for postage! (For the visually-minded, this video demonstrates the process, set to philatelic music.) The best part is, you never know what you’re going to find in your mailbox.

Because it’s an international exchange, users can receive a wide variety of stamps, postcards, and even mail art. Many Postcrossers upload images of their unique pieces to Postcrossing’s Flickr page as a visual component to the shared communication. Some are truly amazing!

Since the project’s inception, Postcrossers have sent more than 13 million postcards to addresses around the globe. And it isn’t just mail fans participating. The State Journal reported that several homeschool communities use Postcrossing as an alternative method for teaching geography and history. Letters and stamps can be fun and educational!

Have you ever participated in Postcrossing? If you were to send a postcard to an unknown recipient, what would you write? What kind of postcard would you send? Which stamp(s) would you use? Tell us your stories in the comments.

Start Your Week With A “Sketchy” Disney•Pixar Contest

Remember last week’s post about the blue-pencil sketches on the back of the Mail a Smile stamp sheet? Well, now’s your chance to show us how well you know the five Disney•Pixar movies featured on the stamps.

Here is the back of the stamp sheet again:

Can you name all the characters shown in the sketches? If so, you could win one set of Mail a Smile postcards, which include the stamp art and five of the sketches.

To enter, send your name and address along with the name of each character and the movie in which he/she/it appears to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. Three winners will be selected at random from those who answer correctly. You have until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, 9/12 to submit your answers. Good luck!

Disney/Pixar Materials: © Disney•Pixar

Disney•Pixar Stamps Continue to Charm

If our Instagram feed is any indication, you all love the new Mail a Smile stamps. These “cute,” “adorable” stamps are the second in a two-part issuance that began last year with Send a Hello. Both sheets feature favorite characters from Disney•Pixar movies like Finding Nemo, Up, and Toy Story 2. And all of them have helped make mail time the best time of the day!

Most of the pictures of the Mail a Smile stamps that we see on Instagram look a little something like this. (We took this one for you all! )

But have you ever turned the pane over and looked closely at the back?

Those illustrations are actually blue-pencil sketches created by artists at Pixar Animation Studios. Even though Pixar is responsible for almost every major breakthrough in computer animation and continues to reset the bar in technology, the company begins every project the old-fashioned way: with a simple sketch. For Pixar, science inspires art and art challenges science. Both always serve the story; that’s the secret of Pixar’s success.

Want to share the stamps *and* sketches with your friends? The Mail a Smile postcards include both. (Click image to order.)

Come follow USPS Stamps on Instagram and show us your favorite stamps! And if you’re as crazy about Disney•Pixar movies as we are, head over to our newest Pinterest board, The Wonderful World of Disney.

Disney/Pixar Materials: © Disney•Pixar

Play Ball! Major League Baseball All-Stars Contest Starts Today

Baseball fans and stamps enthusiasts! We are very excited to announce a Major League Baseball All-Stars stamp contest just for you. Beginning today, we invite you to tweet a photograph of one (or all!) of the Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps at a Major League ballpark (inside or outside).

Here are the rules: You must take the photo yourself, and you must include the name of the park in your tweet. To enter, simply tweet your photo to @USPSstamps and include the hashtag #stampsplayball.

Entries will be accepted until midnight EDT, Wednesday, October 3. On Thursday, October 4, the 10 most creatively composed images, as judged by the USPS Stamps team, will be posted  on the USPS Stamps Facebook page, where everyone will be able to vote for their favorites.

Voting will be open until midnight EDT, Tuesday, October 23. The winners will be announced on Wednesday, October 24the day the World Series is scheduled to begin.

Play Ball! Great Moments in Major League Baseball History

The top vote-getter will receive a copy of Play Ball! Great Moments in Major League Baseball History. The second-place finisher will receive a Major League Baseball All-Stars First Day of Issue ceremony program, and third place will receive a Major League Baseball All-Star Digital Color Postmark.

Have fun! Good luck! And be creative!

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc.

Centennial Olympic Games Stamp Trivia Contest

The Summer Olympics are flying by. But there’s still plenty of time for a trivia contest…or two (hint!). Today’s quiz might look tough, but in our experience stamp fans are some of the smartest people around. Ready to get started?

First question: In 1996, we issued a stamp to mark the centennial of the modern Olympic Games. The stamp featured an image of a Roman marble copy of a 5th-century B.C. Greek bronze statue. What was the name of the Greek sculptor who created the original statue, and what was the name of his statue?

Second question: The stamp art above is similar to the actual stamp issued in July 1996, but it’s not exact. How does the stamp above differ from the Centennial Olympic Games stamp that was actually issued?

Submit your answers to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. Three winners will be selected at random from those who answer correctly to receive a tri-fold folio that includes a mounted pane of Atlanta 1996 stamps, a mounted pane of the 1996 Centennial Olympics Games stamps, and a 1996 Paralympic Games envelope. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, August 9. Good luck! And, as always, remember that spelling counts.