Proudly presenting: Our New Letterbox Cover Plate

This is the original cover plate - before the Great Letterbox Robbery.

This is the original cover plate – before the Great Letterbox Robbery.

In February 2012, some Horrid Thief nicked the original brass cover plate of our letterbox.

After considering our options and procrastinating for close on a year, we finally bought a replacement cover plate from the local hardware store.

It tooks really pretty, like a quaint and old-fashioned brass plate, which is just perfect for our cosy garden cottage. Hubby installed it at the start of the New Year, with me on-hand with my trusty Canon to document the process, and give advice from the sidelines, of course.

After the theft - preparing to install the new cover plate

After the theft – preparing to install the new cover plate

This has been the look of our letterbox since the Horrid Thieves ripped it off in February last year, damaging the original screw holes in the process.

What you see in the picture now are the new holes that Hubbs drilled for the new screws, based on the dimensions of the new cover plate. That top hole, incidentally, was a tricky one, because it was darned close to the edge, where the concrete was a bit crumbly.

He also sloshed on some paint to cover the exposed concrete, and yes, made a bit of a mess in the process. That’s because I’m usually the painter in the household. 😉

After trial-fitting the plate, he decided that it would be a good idea to squish some silicone gel (a.k.a. sticky stinky goo) between the plate and the wall, to reduce the likelihood of water running behind and dripping into the postbox.

Applying silicone gel and hammerite paint to the back of the cover plate

Applying silicone gel and hammerite paint to the back of the cover plate

And I suddenly had the brilliant idea of marking the plate with our address details in some way.

Ideally, I would’ve liked to engrave our address details on the front of the plate, so that it’s really obvious to any would-be thief that This Letterbox Plate Belongs To Us: Hands Off!

But in the absence of the required engraving tools, and reluctant to disfigure the front with splotches of paint, I instead carefully painted the back of the cover plate with our address details, using white Hammerite paint. Hopefully, when (if) they pry it off, they’ll discover it’s too much trouble to remove the paint. And it should make it easier for the police to return it to us.

So, with the paint nicely dried and the silicone applied, Hubbs proceeded to screw the cover plate into the wall.

Affixing the cover plate to the wall

Affixing the cover plate to the wall

It looks rather nice, don’t you think? Quite ornate. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s brass, or some kind of pseudo-metal-mixture made to look like brass. It’s heavy enough not to be plastic underneath.

And then, to deter – and possibly annoy – the metal thieves further, Hubbs proceeded to strip the tops of the screws, using a powerdrill. So now it’s impossible to use a screwdriver to unscrew them from the wall, because it won’t get a proper grip. Of course, there’s always a chance that the Fiendish Ones will tear down half the pillar in their rage… but hopefully the neighbours’ dogs will protest so loudly at this that they’ll wake up the entire street.

Stripping the tops of the screws with a powerdrill

Stripping the tops of the screws with a powerdrill

In the spirit of positive thinking, we are choosing to be filled with hope that our pretty letterbox cover will last for many years.

16 thoughts on “Proudly presenting: Our New Letterbox Cover Plate

  1. Hey Reggie, What a beautiful postbox! May it have a long life with you (many happy returns?). I am thinking of doing a little mosaic pattern around our “hole in the wall”. The front letter slot is so tiny now that the Tatler is left propped between the gate posts…and that’s because we have had roaming hands in our letterbox. Anyway I love your – it’s great.

    • Giggle… thank you, Glynnis. Oooh, a mosaic pattern?! Now *that* is a lovely creative idea. If you ‘cement’ it in, at least no one will be able to pinch it. I’d be curious to see how you do it.

    • Giggle… quite! It’s a bit incongruous to have this massive postbox cover plate next to such a cosy and cute little cottage… but if we ever *do* move to a manor house with a looong drive (and a butler, of course ;-)), then at least we’ve already got the postbox cover plate, which – naturally – we would take with us. 😉

  2. Good grief I don’t think anyone in North America would steal a mailbox cover. It was only after I visited South Africa – gosh two years ago now – that I can understand how anything that can be lifted will be taken. I like the new one. Very elegant. Good idea to put your address on it.

    • Yes, it is a rather odd thing to do… but anything metallic (or appearing to be metallic) is fair game around here. I don’t even think the thieves get much for the ‘scrap’ – certainly far less than the actual replacement value of the item.

  3. Wow, that’s crazy. Stealing a mailbox cover plate? What goes through people’s mind? At the same time in my street someone regularly steals flower pots and the neighbors always get upset.. This kind of thefts looks to be happening all over the world :S
    But great new cover plate!

  4. Hi Reggie, I was googling postbox cover plates because EXACTLY the same thing happened to us in Observatory 3 weeks ago – and our neighbours were held up at gunpoint in their beds at 4am in the morning – so I guess we got off lucky with just the letterbox brass cover plate ripped off the pillar, leaving a huge, untidy, gaping hole.
    I wanted to ask you, where did you find your replacement? I need to get it sorted soonish as it really does look terrible.
    Many thanks.

    • Hello Callie

      OMW, that sounds horrific… I’m sorry to hear about your neighbours’ ordeal.

      Yes, a letterbox cover plate can be replaced, it’s just a hassle to find a nice one – but remember, it mustn’t look *too* nice, or someone will be tempted. Isn’t that sad, though, hey? We should be able to make our homes and gardens look beautiful without having to worry about opportunistic thieves hopping over the fence and nicking our decorations, or flowering plants, or garden ornaments and gnomes.

      Anyway, I think we found ours at Mica Hardware in Pinelands, or at Builders’ Warehouse in Northgate – it took us ages to find something suitable. If you have artistic flair, you could try to mosaic around the big hole they left, but you may need to repair the damage to the cement first, so that there is only a fairly neat rectangular slot left. Our original letterbox cover plate had a nice spring-loaded ‘closer’, which kept the rain coming through the front, but the new one doesn’t, so now the mail and the local newspapers often get wet. The cover plates that have a piece sticking out above, like an awning, are handy for keeping out the rain, but I couldn’t find one at the time… and they tended to be made of metal, which is just asking for trouble.

      Sigh… those buggers who steal our letter cover plates just don’t know/care how much annoyance and inconvenience they cause, hey?

      I wish you good luck, Carolyn!

  5. Hi there. The same thing has happened with our brass letterbox plate – please can you tell me where you got your replacement one from (which shop) – I’ve searched a few of the stores and have not managed to find one. Thanks!

    • Hi Heather – I’m sorry to hear that yours has also been nicked. We looked around for ages too, before finding one that was suitable and that would fit over the slot. Try the Mica Hardware stores, Builders Warehouse, Makro, any hardware store really. It helps if you take a picture and measurements, to make sure it’s wide enough to fit, depending on the dimensions of your letterbox slot. You could also take a piece of wood, with a slot cut in, and mosaic it? Just remember to varnish, seal or paint any exposed parts of the wood, or it will start to swell in the rain. I hope you find something – best of luck!

  6. 2017.05.02 RATS! Just happened to us ~ with half an hour of the postman delivering the post and me clearing the box … grrrrrrrrr! Hope I am as fortunate as you are in finding something!

    • Hi Mel – oh no! It’s such a nuisance, hey? Remember to take down the measurements of what is now probably a gaping hole; letterbox covers come in different sizes. Depending on your setup, you may be able to get a plastic letterbox, with one of those slots that you can drop things into, but you can’t easily get them out of from the outside. But they tend to be rather bulky. If you have the same setup as we do – a stone pillar with two holes in it (a narrow slot facing the street, and a bigger opening in our driveway, and a small wooden door on the bigger opening to protect the mail against the rain and wind) – then it be a good option to mosaic around the opening in some way; at least that way they can’t steal anything. Good luck, Mel! I hope you find a good solution!

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