Lost Postcard Rescue Department

Recently Doris Alman received a postcard inside a plain white envelope. The postcard was sent from her mother and father, vacationing in Flagstaff, Arizona, to her grandmother in Audobon, Iowa. It had been mailed on Sept. 24, 1968. The envelope that held the postcard had a one-line return address: Lost Postcard Rescue Department. It had been mailed recently from Brooklyn, New York.

Doris Alman says she has no idea who could have mailed the old postcard to her. Whoever it was did some good research, because Alman no longer has the last name as her parents.

The U.S. Post Office says that there is no such thing as a "Lost Postcard Rescue Department" associated with the postal service. Nor was the envelope the postcard was sent in an official Postal Department letter. (If it were, it would have been stamped with a Postal Department stamp.)

So apparently there's a random prankster out there sending old, non-delivered postcards back to people. The Globe Gazette reports:
Douglas Wick of Hedemarken Collectibles in Bismarck, N.D., deals in postal history, including postcards.
“It isn’t uncommon at all to find postcards,” he said. “They tend to get saved a lot more frequently than things you receive in an envelope. Postcards get saved because of the picture.”
Wick, who has operated his postal history business for 20 years, said he hasn’t heard of the Lost Postcard Rescue Department either.
“It isn’t likely a private business simply because there is an expense involved in sending the envelope,” said Wick. “To me this sounds like some kind of weird practical joke.”
Alman says she doesn’t know anyone who would have access to the card.
And she doesn’t know anyone who has been to Brooklyn lately to drop it in a mailbox.
“It’s just very puzzling to me,” Alman said with a grin. “I’ve actually laid awake nights wondering who could have sent it to me.”


Posted on Mon Dec 10, 2007


Can't you buy unclaimed items from the post office at an auction?? I heard about this a while ago.

If this was in a lot at auction...they may simply have decided to be a do-gooder when they found it.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Dec 10, 2007  at  12:44 PM
I sell postcards on eBay and have had a couple of buyers say they were buying a large lot of my postcards (that had several postally used postcards) so they could mail them to the original recipients. A lot of research would be required for most since they were lots of 60-100 year-old postcards - long before zip codes were used and many times street addresses weren't even used.
Posted by postcardgirl  on  Mon Dec 10, 2007  at  03:27 PM
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Dec 11, 2007  at  12:49 AM
There is really no mystery about the lost postcard and it is certainly not a joke. I corresponded with Gertrude Rosenkild for many years. She was deeply into genealogy. Her obituary is on-line at Ancestry.com. That is probably where the sender found Doris Alman's name and where she lived. I feel strongly that this postcard was probably sold at an estate auction and purchased by someone who trys to find the owners of lost postcards. I myself have done this.
Posted by Joann Loete  on  Tue Dec 11, 2007  at  08:05 AM
You can buy old (used) postcards at antique stores and flea markets, too. Most will have a couple of shoe boxes filled with the things.
Posted by Kathleen  in  Indiana, USA  on  Thu Dec 20, 2007  at  10:01 AM
Is it really a prank?

would some one go to the effort of tracking a person down to send them a postcard from 1968?

Surely this should be seen as a guesture of good will?
Posted by Tumdaan  on  Fri Feb 15, 2008  at  06:01 PM
This sounds like something out of 'The Crying of Lot 49' by Thomas Pynchon. The novel features an underground postal network, W.A.S.T.E. They use the image of a muted post horn to identify hidden mail boxes and cancel stamps. The book has influenced some mail-art enthusiasts. The above sounds like the work on one of such people!
Posted by John D  on  Sun Nov 21, 2010  at  10:21 AM
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