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Blog > A back-and-forth postcard experiment

Remember last year, when we wrote about Keri Smith’s new postcard book?

The promotional video Keri did highlighted one postcard in particular: a postcard that was made to be sent back and forth between friends! It sounded like a great idea, and I was itching to give it a try… And just then, PostMuse tweeted this serendipitous message:

I suggested we give it a go, to see if it worked, and she accepted. YAY! I promptly mailed her my card:

Keri Smith's back and forth postcard

Over the course of several months, we sent the same postcard between Berlin and Pittsburgh. With time, it became a sort of tiny journal, telling its story not only on the messages we wrote, but also in its stamps, postal markings, nicks and scratches. It even visited Ex Postal Facto and Postcrossing’s stamp launch in Guernsey!

And now, almost a year later, we’ve finally ran out of space. Here’s how it looks:

Keri Smith's back and forth postcard - now complete!

So, yes, it worked, and it turned out to be a pretty cool postal experiment too — one I can definitely recommend! :)

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53 comments so far

GoCindy, United States of America
Very neat! I want to try this!
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Roadrunner73, Germany
Wow. I wonder how many times the card went across the sea.
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Blogger, United States of America
This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing this brilliant idea.
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pucky, Netherlands
quite funny! are the stamps put next to eachother or on eachother? Is it good to use a bigger card? I want to try this as well!
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Sunneva12, Norway
looks good! lovly postcard book by the way :-)

happy postcrossing!
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postmuse, United States of America
@pucky we usually ended up covering each other's postage each time, but on the card's last trip back to Germany, I made sure to leave the Guernsey stamp uncovered. It was so much fun to find this card back in my mailbox through the months. Always a cause for celebration in my house :)
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Hawwa, Spain
Great!
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GIBSONMS, United Kingdom
Waheyyyyy! The Guernsey stamp!
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Appaloosa05, United States of America
So cool! I would love to do this with someone.
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GIBSONMS, United Kingdom
I'd would be up for doing that if someone wants to get the ball rolling... PM me!
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DennyP, Australia
Yes...This is a great concept...must try it
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Luziaceleste, Brazil
Interesting to see the aging as reflec of real living time!
Pitty Brazilian mail would not work for this :(
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Lucien1969, Netherlands
What a great idea :-) Someone interested? Please invite me by mail.
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rosenbusch, Germany
cool idea...
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maikke, Finland
Nice idea! I want to try this too. Who wants to be my partner?
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Svenja_Eva, Germany
Cool idea! I really want to try this too! Anyone interested? :)
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AnneMarrit, Netherlands
Great! I want to do that as well! But...I do not quite understand how it works. You send the same postcard over and over again, back-and-forth, and just add a stamp of that particular country where you are? Or between two countries? So, if I look for a partner, say Finland, we send a card and send it back again but add a new stamp? Right? Just add a new stamp to the others? I wonder if that will work in Holland! I am very doubtful. But it is worth a try! So, who wants to be my partner? I like the idea a lot.
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mogglits, Germany
The idea is cool indeed and I would love to try it with someone.

Who is interested? Please message me if you are!!

My only worry is, who gets to keep the postcard once the space is done? I can imagine that both partners would love to have this postcard in their collection.
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Nordbaer, Germany
Yes, it works, I did it together with the postcrossing member Turtles, I think our card was mailed seven times... :)
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lisad6791, United States of America
I did this with a friend also. It took a few months to fill. Very fun!
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ankehelene, Germany
@mogglits: you can take two cards!
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postmuse, United States of America
@annemarrit gave me an idea ... Person A sends Person B a card with short message, then person B sends it to Person C and then it goes to Person D, etc. ... same card, written and postmarked, but to lots of different people. All the postage and postmarks will be covered up, but each person could note where they are sending from in the message field. Fun!
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vuky91, Croatia
Fantastic idea, but I would rather prefer to swap with somebody, where we would pick a long-wide (big) postcards, always use 1-2 stamp (with greater value to match the postage) per sending, always use different stamps, and avoid stamping it over the older ones.... because its a pitty to have covered stamps...if anybody outside Europe interested in doing this with Croatia let me know.. ;) btw. this kind of swapping could last for one year, no need to be send immediately when you got it.
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Kabouter63, Netherlands
AnneMarit yes this also works in holland. We did it with a few friends in a few countries. Not over and over again but the same card to 5-6 different countriesans altho we were ssceptic about the Dutch mail it worked well.
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mogglits, Germany
@PostMuse what a wonderful idea, please count me IN!
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postmuse, United States of America
Okay ... I have @mogglits in on my experiment of sending one card to many people, no worries about covering over postage and postal markings, just experimenting to see how many countries we can get the one card to visit. Who else wants to join? Maybe I should do a forum post?
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nenya1985, Germany
@postmuse You can count me in if you want to. :)
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lorieb, United States of America
:) I would like to join!
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Blogger, United States of America
@Postmuse - Sounds like a Chain Round Robin - They have some on the Postcrossing Forum...
http://forum.postcrossing.com/viewthread.php?tid=89971
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Duuj, Netherlands
I have this postcard book and have been wanting to try this for some time. If anyone's interested send me a PM.
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nugget, United States of America
Neat idea and one I will have to try. Thanks!
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mckenziefamily, New Zealand
I'm very keen to do this as well! The card would look amazing over time. We are in New Zealand, if any one would like a card from here!
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marcypgray, United States of America
Yes I'd love to do this too and I have that particular card as well to use! If anyone interested please send me a message!
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hateheat, Indonesia
Wow, amazing idea! The card itself will have a memorial and historical value.. Love this idea! Let me know if anyone want to do this with me! :D
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hipmama1970, United States of America
I love this idea! Is there a thread for this in the forums?
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ovidius, Romania
...pitty of the stamps!
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YiliLoh, Malaysia
An interesting idea. Whoever who wants to try this, pls count me in! :)
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die-Dusche, Canada
I remember the original post well, it's what compelled me to buy the book for a friend. I have a blog post written about our progress as well: http://keepcalmandsendon.blogspot.ca/2014/01/continuous-swap.html

The card isn't quite filled up yet but were getting there, slowly :)
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riinsomnia, Indonesia
omg i want to try this. but not sure if my postoffice would allowed the postcard to be sent ahaha
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Elenkaa, Germany
I really need to try this! it sounds sooo amazing! Thanks a lot for the great idea!
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Tetsuko, Germany
In Forum there is something comparable going on.
It is called Chain card RR. There the stamps don't get covered by other stamps, but you also have no message usually.
here you find it in the forum:
http://forum.postcrossing.com/viewthread.php?tid=89971
And if you are courious you can see here my already received chain cards:
https://picasaweb.google.com/117111030523821914488/ChainCards
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kugusch, Germany
we've done something similar in the german forum, but not back and forth between two members....instead in a circle from the first member to the second, then to the third, and so on, until it's back to it's original sender (6 mailings).

Recently a friend and I have bought Keri Smith's postcard book and it's a personal RR between the two of us, sending each other the cards out of the book. This is the one I just received two days ago:
Before: https://picasaweb.google.com/Kugusch/MachDiesePostkartenFertig?authkey=Gv1sRgCOLcreSw26r5NA#6059991801364011746
After: https://picasaweb.google.com/Kugusch/MachDiesePostkartenFertig?authkey=Gv1sRgCOLcreSw26r5NA#6059992951948970338
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moonlight24, United States of America
This is sooooo cool! I'd LOVE to try this.
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zzz, Serbia
@PostMuse - It's like the bookring/ray (we played on bookcrossing). Count me in of course ;)
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HofVliet, Netherlands
I wanted to try this expiriment and sent to a postcrossing friend. It never came back.....
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delphini, Netherlands
Great! Love to try :-D
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sinta, Indonesia
I tried with 5 friends but it never returned :( But I love to try again soon - perhaps with fewer participants...
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honeybee, Austria
What a wonderful and funny experiment :)
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crazyaboutpostcard, Canada
I would like to do this. Anybody wanna start or even be my partner? Email me.
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Aithnea, Canada
Wow! This sounds so wonderful. I'd love to do this with someone. I'm in Canada.
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mytravelingpen, United States of America
ME TOO!!! I want to do this too! I'm in USA!
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fairygoods, United States of America
wow sounds awesome i would luv to exchange with someone please
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FinisterF, Finland
How funny! A bit late responding, but if anyone still interested in trying this, PM me - let's do it! (Im in Finland)
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