P.O.Box owners

A post office box (often abbreviated P.O. Box or PO Box) is a uniquely-addressable lockable box located on the premises of a post office station. Why do you have one? What do you do with it. What is the advantage? How does yours look like?

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Latest Activity: Jul 23, 2018

In many countries, particularly in Africa, and the Middle East there is no 'door to door' delivery of mail. For example, should one post mail to a street address in Namibia, it will be returned to sender as undeliverable.[1] Consequently renting a PO box has traditionally been the only way to receive mail in such countries, although some, like Jordan, are now introducing home delivery.[2]

Generally, post office boxes are rented from the post office either by individuals or by businesses on a basis ranging from monthly to annual, and the cost of rent varies depending on the box size. Central business district or CBD PO boxes are usually more expensive than a rural PO box.

PO Boxes in the United States can now also be rented and renewed online at There is an online PO Box locator that allows users to find available PO Boxes in their local Post Office.

In the US, the rental rate used to be uniform across the country. Now, however, a postal facility can be in any of seven fee groups by location; in addition, certain customers qualify for free box rental.

In the United Kingdom, Royal Mail PO boxes are often little more than pigeon holes in the secure section of a Sorting Office, and are only accessible by staff. In such cases, the renter of the PO box will be issued with a card on which is written the PO box number and post office name, and must produce this to the desk staff when collecting mail. For an additional fee, the Royal Mail will deliver received items to the renter's geographical address.

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Comment by Talking Bird on January 17, 2009 at 5:15pm
The deluxe doors of early 20th century mailboxes
Before the Minimalist movement, most manufactured items were heavily decorated. The cost of the decoration was negligible, since one design would be used for thousands or millions of copies. It was assumed that everyone would want decoration, which only the rich could afford before the time of mass production. But, beginning in the early 20th century, there was a lot of talk about clean lines, and less is more, and form follows function, and ornament and crime.
Those ideas slowly took over, via the Bauhaus, Brutalism, and other movements, and by perhaps 1950 could be considered mainstream. Sculptors created simple geometric solids with unadorned surfaces. Buildings, which now are just assemblies of mass-produced units, were increasingly designed without decoration, except for houses, where (at least in the US) the amount of mass-produced decoration attached to the outside of a house continued to be the same status symbol that the old hand-made, crime-breeding ornament had been.
Art has moved on, but mailboxes are still in the 1950's. Holders of minimalist mailboxes should realize the opportunity to create their own non-mass-produced decoration, just as inner city youth decorate the bare masses of concrete supporting the expressways that now intrude on their neighborhoods.

Comment by Ruud Janssen on January 17, 2009 at 1:09pm

Here it is, My P.O. Box, and also the Mail-Boxes where all ougoing mail goes in.
Comment by Bev Dittberner on January 17, 2009 at 9:47am
every year I get a P.O. Box bill and I keep thinking I will let my P.O. go and everytime I decide to hand in the keys I change my mind, because it's so cheap and it's located at eye level - how cool is that.
Comment by Ruud Janssen on January 17, 2009 at 8:28am
Will take a camera and will show how the Box in Breda looks like....
Comment by Carla Cryptic on January 17, 2009 at 8:26am
It's standard in some older post offices. The Berkeley main PO has some really cool WPA-era art which was restored some years ago. The really amazing one is in San Francisco at Rincon Annex. It's gorgeous!
Comment by Ruud Janssen on January 17, 2009 at 8:10am

Is this standard. For me it looks like a luxury home for mail-art!
Comment by Carla Cryptic on January 17, 2009 at 5:24am
Wow, I didn't know that! I live in Richmond but grew up in Berkeley and went to UC and then worked there till I took early retirement and Graham still works there. I decided to keep my po box there since everyone knows the number by now and I'd hate to have to change it after all these years.
Comment by Talking Bird on January 17, 2009 at 1:07am
Berkeley is right next to us. But they have home delivery. The Postal Service offered us the choice to have home delivery; but if we chose it they said they would close our little PO and deliver our mail from the Berkeley PO. So we voted against it.
Comment by Carla Cryptic on January 16, 2009 at 11:51pm
Aha! Your photo of the PO box is just like the one I have in Berkeley. It seems it is a certain era-specific style. One uses letters instead of numbers to open the box. :)
Comment by Talking Bird on January 16, 2009 at 10:17pm
The town where I live is like Namibia -- no delivery to street addresses. We have to pick up the mail at the post office. Everyone who lives here gets a free standard size PO box.

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