Recently we went to our local main Post Office to learn about hand canceling envelopes. The reason for the errand was to mail invitations for Kara’s Grandmother’s 100th birthday. We knew hand canceling was an option for wedding invitations, but we didn’t have much info beyond that, and couldn’t find anything on the USPS website. To our surprise we did not need an appointment and – bonus (!): they set us up so that we could hand cancel them ourselves. A lovely woman named Vi equipped us with a date stamp with a City of Roses motif, a stamp pad and a couple of hints for the actual stamping (upside down is easier!). We learned that there is no minimum quantity for hand canceling, and that there is no additional charge for the service.
The big benefit to hand canceling envelopes is the aesthetic: an old-school rubber stamped image that slightly overlaps your stamp – a visual indicator that the stamp has been used or canceled out and has no further value. In addition, the invitations don’t go through the automated cancellation process which can soil envelopes. If an envelope is bulky or irregular sometimes it will be hand-canceled by the postmaster so it won’t get hung up in the automated process.