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Post Office Auctions at Mail Recovery Centers

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Whenever I send packages through the mail, I usually use the United States Postal Service. If you’ve ever won a book in our Bargaineering auctions, I probably shipped it using the USPS Media Mail service. It’s, by far, the cheapest way to go for mailing media, like heavy books, and it’s fairly reliable. I’ve probably mailed a hundred books in the last few years and I’ve never had a winner email me that they never got the book.

Sadly, not all packages make it to their intended destination. Sometimes it’s because the machines mangled the package. Maybe the package got wet and the label was destroyed or rendered unreadable. Whatever the reason, if they can’t send it somewhere, they open it up and send it (except for pornography and firearms) to a mail recovery center for it to be auctioned off. The mail recovery centers (MRC) are sometimes called dead letter branches or dead parcel branches.

A protip for mailing packages – put a copy of your address inside the package. When they can’t read the outside label, they open it up and look for addresses inside. This is what you should do for your luggage too, in case your address tag gets ripped off in transport.

Dead Letter Offices

As recently as ten years ago, there were three branches – one in Atlanta, GA, one in St. Paul, MN, and one in San Francisco, CA. The San Francisco, CA office was closed in 2002

Atlanta Mail Recovery Center
5345 Fulton Industrial Boulevard SW
Atlanta, GA 30378
Phone: (404) 344-1625

St. Paul Mail Recovery Center
443 Fillmore Ave E.
St. Paul, MN 55107-9607
Phone: (651) 293-3735

USPS Auctions

Since 2004, all the auctions have been held at Atlanta, GA and you can read their schedule here. The auctions are held once a month starting at 10 AM until the items are auctioned off. From 8:30AM until 10AM, you can inspect the items for auction. The USPS also puts things on eBay.

Have you ever attended a post office auction?

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7 Responses to “Post Office Auctions at Mail Recovery Centers”

  1. Frugal says:

    The link to ebay may not work without ebay ID. I clicked and tried to browse without using ebay ID and could not continue. After login, I saw either, “2001 user ID not found” or “We are not currently selling any items at this site. Please visit our other USPS sellers” which led me to nowhere.

    Either USPS has nothing to sell or it is not working or I am missing something.

  2. Martha says:

    My parents always told me to include the address on the inside and I always thought it was silly. I, now “an adult,” always do it… I’m glad to see that they weren’t crazy!

  3. Barbara says:

    I had a signed copy of the book about the Xian warriors that was signed by one of the men who was digging for a well and found the beginning of the treasure trove. I sent it to my grandson for a school project and foolishly did not put anything in it to identify it. I bet I have sent 100 books in my life and that was the one that was lost. Wonderful advice.

  4. Brenda says:

    I have attended many USPS auctions over the years. Mostly I bought books. We are always informed before the auction to properly identify your mailed items on the inside also. I have bought many many MANY books that had this information inside the lost book, but was not seen by the USPS people, or ignored.


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