The question of whether the post office still sells IRCs has come up a few times, so I thought I'd post the following. They are currently available for sale and will be for sale in the future although not all post offices have them in stock. However, a local post office should be able to either direct you to another facility that has them or order them for you.
"Are International Reply Coupons (IRCs) still available? Yes, the **SPAM** price will be $2.00 each. IRCs are exchangeable in any other UPU-member country for a stamp(s) representing the minimum postage for an unregistered air letter."
I think I posted a similiar article (maybe not the same) not too long ago. Yes, definitely they are available and always have been but remembering my own experiences from working at the post office, they were never really popular..but popular enough to keep **SPAM** in certain Post Offices. The smaller "subs" in stores have to order them in from the main Station monthly so don't be afraid to make a request for them to order in for you at a location close to you.
On the other hand...lately when writing away to Italy for records I haven't enclosed any and I still have been getting my records..go figure.
Just cam back fromt he Post Office here and inquired more about the IRC. Yes, the coupons do expire at the end of each year so many offices (smaller "subs") are afraid to order them from the main Post Office for fear of getting stuck with the at the end of the year. They may forget to send them back for credit and then they'd be out the money so heres what I suggest.
Never buy or send IRC close to the end of the year. They'll expire before the receiver will get to use them and you'd be out you're money.
Find out how many you need and purchase them just before you need them (or order them a month before so your local sub can bring them in.) If it's close to the end of the year, then wait for the following year before you purchase and mail them.
Go to or call your local post office and inquire about them. The system may be slightly different where you're from.
Re the International Reply coupons. I have just had two returned from the Archivo di Stato Caserta where I was requesting birth acts, they said they were retuning them because they couldnt use them (they were new ones, not out of date) I was to send them a 'valgia postale' for 6.5 euros to cover the cost. A friend in Italy helped me out because the only other way I could have done this was to put the cash in an envelpe which is not advisable.
but maybe other Comunes are different.
Well..thats interesting. More and more I'm hearing that IRC are no longer the best option anymore. I guess the best thing to do is to find out prior to making a request what the best course of action is. I got lucky...I haven't really had to pay for anything yet but I'm sure this won't last forever.
I went to our main post office, and the lady asked the postmaster...of course I live in not the largest city. They told me they werent available, which I believed. Nuccia told me to send it off anyway, which I did. I will wait for my reply and see what happens for now.