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Posted Apr 30, 17 14:50 by Richard Hilty (rhilty)

Did they have speedboats in thos days?

This cover Left Montevideo on July 10, 1863. On the back is an orange half circular date stamp “London. EO/AU 31/63/0”. indicating the cover passed through London on the 31st of August. Although the Galway line steamer, Adriatic, left Liverpool on the 29th of August, two days before the London stamp was applied, it left Galway on the 1st of September and arrives in New York on the 12th of September, the date shown on the New York circular date stamp. The “Adriatic was the only ship to match this received date. No other ships even come close. The question is, did the cover go from London to Galway instead of Liverpool and catch up with the Adriatic in one day and if it did, why. Or, where in the markings was a mistake made?

To make matters more interesting, the “NEW YORK…/SEP/12” circular date stamp conflicts with the docketing which indicates the cover was receive on the 11th, a day earlier. Any ideas?


Posted Apr 30, 17 14:11 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

blue 1c

Apologies to the Chronice..  I was referring to the artiicle Richard was referring to.  Not the Zlowe article.
The new Chronicle does have a wonderful picture of a 179X rate table, though the accompanying analysis is partly wrong.  
The myth that the last date for the small Boston paid is JAN 15 is propogated.  It probably only matters to one very serious collector.

Posted Apr 30, 17 9:32 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Blue Paper

I likely made a mistake regarding my original mention of "blue paper" article. Probably it was something in the Collectors Club Philatelist that came last week ... it was fresh on my mind when I came across the cover.

On the "blue paper" article I remember not being particularly impressed with the various theories and  "proofs" presented by the author. I don't think the author was David Zlowe. Sorry.

Posted Apr 30, 17 9:17 by richard babcock (babcock)


Wax seals on the reverse, Thank you.


Posted Apr 30, 17 7:47 by Richard Drews (bear427)


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For full Palmares use this link:


Posted Apr 30, 17 0:23 by David Zlowe (dzlowe)

Say What?

Please provide the issue and page citation for the "Society" article to which you refer, Bernard.  The only such recent article is in the Collectors Club (NY) Philatelist, and that organization is not usually referred to as the "Society," right?  I have just enjoyed the recent issue of the USPCS's Chronicle, and it contains no article about inking.

Posted Apr 30, 17 0:05 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


That triangular blotch is kind of big to conform to a part of a stamp image.  Also, I woulda thunk it would take quite a bit of pressure to pull out that much ink.  I do not claim it is impossible, but just problematic.
I have given a quick run through the recent overall blue coloration article.  There are some very interesting ideas in there.  Also, some pretty poor ones.  Again, the failure of the Classics society to provide proper review results in a mess.

Posted Apr 29, 17 21:08 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

not pressman

Being an old union man (but not a journeyman printer) I wish to advise that a pressman operates a letterpress, lithographic press, or stencil press. The men who printed line-engraved intaglio stamps were and are plate printers, not pressmen.

Plate printers seldom touched the paper on which they printed (because their hands were bathed in ink) so those prints are rare exceptions. Usually the printer's helper laid the paper on the inked plate, and the blanket on the paper, and removed them after the print was pulled.

Posted Apr 29, 17 19:43 by Richard Drews (bear427)


Yes, it can. I have another stamp that hasn't been scanned that shows transfer.


Posted Apr 29, 17 19:27 by Matthew Healey (matthewhealey)


Just a thought - could a pressman's thumb act as a transfer device, picking up the stamp image from the inked position 1 and setting it down, offset-style, in the margin?

Posted Apr 29, 17 18:37 by Barry Jablon (friday)


Detail of a cover just posted.


Posted Apr 29, 17 18:37 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Besides the fingerprint

There is more here than just the fingerprint.  It looks like there is a duplication of some part of the central oval, complete with the little horizontal lines that form the background.  See A & B.  Not sure how this occurred. Perhaps an offset from something the printer was messing with when he left his print.


Posted Apr 29, 17 18:30 by Richard Drews (bear427)


See the latest Rumsey auction for a fingerprint. Lot 1803.


Posted Apr 29, 17 18:18 by David Zlowe (dzlowe)

1-cent Ink


That's a great/fun cover and stamp!

A recent CCNY Philatelist has a cover article discussing the ink "staining" phenomenon.  Your readers may wish to know that there is a considerable rebuttal that could be made to the assertions therein, however.  My articles last year in the Chronicle addressed, more specifically, relief bruises on the stamp image and in the interstices of the entries on the perforate plates.

The fingerprints are a wonderful phenomenon, and remind us of the hardworking souls who left traces of their endeavor.  In our Internet age, it could be a fun collaboration to collect the inadvertent fingerprints on these issues to see if we can assign identities to those who toiled so faithfully on our behalf.


Posted Apr 29, 17 11:51 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

1c Blue Paper

I read an article in the recent Classics Society journal about the causes of blue paper on the 1c issues.

Did they include pressman's fingerprint? I don't recall seeing such a clear example before this one.


Posted Apr 29, 17 11:22 by Matthew Healey (matthewhealey)

A new philatelic partnership



APRIL 28, 2017

(New York, NY) Two of this country’s leading philatelic institutions, The Collectors Club and The Philatelic Foundation, have entered into an agreement to share space in The Collectors Club’s classic Stanford White town house located on East 35 th Street in New York City. The Collectors Club, with a storied history of almost 125 years, will join hands with The Philatelic Foundation on December 1, 2017, when the PF moves its office into two floors of the Club house from which it will conduct its expertizing services.

The Collectors Club, with nearly 800 members, a renowned research library, a monthly speakers’ program, and an award winning journal, The Collectors Club Philatelist, has had its home in the town house since 1937 where collectors have enjoyed the opportunity of meeting with each other, conducting research, attending auction sales and society meetings, sharing their collecting interests and developing life-long philatelic friendships.

The Philatelic Foundation has been this country’s leading expertizing service since its founding in New York in 1945 at the Club house. With a staff of in-house experts, a reference collection of over 240 volumes including the largest collection of U.S. fakes and forgeries, the PF is the only expertizing service in this country to use the latest hi-tech electronic equipment including both the VSC6000 and the Bruker XRF Spectrometer. Since its founding, the PF has issued over 500,000 certificates of authenticity which are available on-line for review, together with a broad array of research materials on its website:

In joining together under a single roof, the heads of both organizations spoke of their shared interest in ensuring a strong and vibrant future for organized philately. Speaking for The Collectors Club, its president Mark E. Banchik stated that he is “looking forward to the steady stream of visitors to the PF’s offices who will see firsthand, our club house and the many benefits of membership in The Collectors Club as well the opportunity for our members to access the PF’s reference collections while conducting research activities.

Speaking on behalf of the PF, its chairman Robert G. Rose, noted “how pleased the PF is to return to The Collectors Club which was its first home in 1945. We at the PF look forward to a growing synergy between our two organizations which we expect will benefit all of philately in this country.”


Mark E. Banchik, President, The Collectors Club 22 East 35 th Street New York, NY 10016

Larry Lyons, Executive Director, The Philatelic Foundation 341 West 38 th Street, 5 th Floor New York, NY 10018

Posted Apr 29, 17 8:53 by Richard Frajola (frajola)


Richard - If you are only seeing a subtle difference between the orange and regular shades under UV, you should try a different UV light. Those "mineral" UV lights that have two wavelengths just don't have the juice to produce a strong enough UV source.

Posted Apr 29, 17 8:39 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)


Thanks to all, I do have reference copies that are varying shades of orange under UV, though sometimes it is subtle and a few are on the fence. I'll chalk it up to someone looking merely at date plus deep red color without double-checking. With the exception of the 3c and 30c it usually makes little difference in value, but I prefer to get it right.

Most of the "clarets" I own are not in fact very dark at all, the red-browns tend to be darker varying from mostly brown to mostly red.

Posted Apr 29, 17 7:22 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: Green Ink number on registered cover

Morning Richard and all,

Large volume mailers of registered letters were encouraged to keep their own registry book documenting individual items mailed. They would then get just one receipt from the PO for a group of registered letters mailed stating the range of numbers on these letters, i.e. 23123 to 23156. The leading 23 indicates these items are documented in detail in the privately held registry book.

Green ink is not rare but it is unusual when found on private book items. The fact the other cancels on this item are in proper USPO approved ink color makes me think this is a private book cover.

Please post the back side of this item if there are more markings there.

Best regards, Russ Ryle

Posted Apr 29, 17 6:21 by Richard Frajola (frajola)


The orange colour under UV light can not be mistaken. Compare with a known claret under UV and you will have a clear answer. Do not think of claret as being a reference to the color of the stamp.

Posted Apr 29, 17 6:15 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


In my reference collection, which I sold several years ago, I kept a card with the three Bank Note postage due colors side by side for comparison under both white and UV illumination. It's easier than trying to identify single stamps by fluorescence alone.

Posted Apr 29, 17 0:22 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

I am going to guess as to the cover but there are only two which I suspect as good candidates. One used in NYC 1893 and the other in Boston 1895.

I would suspect the NYC as being claret, however the Boston could be from an earlier printing.

I think a number of dealers look at only the date and make a determination from that. Certainly Arfken knew about UV since he wrote about it. Maybe the whiteness of the envelope is blinding the nice golden orange color.

I do not know why so many claret don't show up under UV.

Posted Apr 28, 17 22:10 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

"Claret" banknote dues

I received a cover I purchased today that supposedly has a 2c claret banknote postage due stamp - it is illustrated in the Arfken book as J23 and has various dealer notes to the effect that it is claret. However, like about 90% of the supposed claret dues I have purchased I see no evidence of any fluorescence- it seems dead under long wave UV light. I have a "dual" long/short UV light sold for stamps, but also bought a long wave UV led flashlight. Am I doing something wrong or are so many folks looking only at color alone?

Posted Apr 28, 17 12:13 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Jim M's book is very useful. There is a lot of operational doings in the PMG letters for this service -- lots of little problems. Jim told me he used this material for the book. I have not reexamined it in this light.

Posted Apr 28, 17 7:20 by Jim Baird (bairdo)


Thanks to all for your efforts.

I wrote to Jim M about an article he may have published under APS auspices.  He said what he has written is in the 1837 expresses book published by the CCC.  I have not yet looked at the book, which I have (of course).


Posted Apr 27, 17 22:20 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Sorry, Jim

Posted Apr 27, 17 22:06 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Milgram on Expresses?

Possibly the article is one mentioned by Milgram in his book The Express Mail of 1836-1839? (full text on the CCC website, page 16): Pitt Petri: "Express Mails of the War of 1812; First 'Pony Expresses' in the U.S.A.," Postal History Journal, March, 1959, pp 63-67.

Posted Apr 27, 17 21:34 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


I believe such notations can be found on some of the Moses Brown incoming correspondence in the late 1790s. On that correspondence it apparently relates to later review of the letters in the context of a legal action. (These may be found in a 1990s catalog put out by Kaufmann under a different name.)

Posted Apr 27, 17 21:27 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Westpex 2017

Richard has my sympathy. I will be in CA but don't get in in time to make it to the show either. Blame a speaking engagement, now rescheduled from Friday afternoon to a later date. Would much rather be at Westpex buying postal history, looking at exhibits, and even being social.

Posted Apr 27, 17 19:15 by Chris Records (crecords)

help with 1791 Brooke Co VA frontier stampless letter

I bought this letter because of the amazing content but I am trying to research the "examined" notation. It was written by Captain "Indian" Van Swearingen from his own fort and home in what is now Wellsburg WV Brooke County. It was sent to Berkeley co VA now WV. Would the letter have been examined in Brooke County or Berkeley? Also where can I find a comparable stampless cover? Any information would be appreciated. He was writing about the Indian murder by Samuel Brady that took place about two miles away.


Posted Apr 27, 17 18:02 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Westpex 2017

Guess the "American Airlines" gods were not in favor of me going to San Francisco for the show (flight from ABQ to PHX turned around half the way there and returnd to ABQ because of "discrepancies" - in flight lingo for flashing indicators lights regarding broken landing gear). Glad to be back in Taos!

I will take United or Delta over American if I ever travel again! (end of rant)

Hope everyone has a great show!

Posted Apr 27, 17 12:45 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Sorry, Jim. I went through a whole passel of files, and whilst I did find the solutions to a number of Great Philatelic Mysteries, or at least minor mysteries, I didn't find the express file. It was a small format journal, but if SPA (say circa 1970s, I don't know where I would have gotten it from.)

Posted Apr 27, 17 12:35 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Shade 1861, Milgram article

I do actually have a file folder someplace that I just might be able to find -- on expresses. Maybe it was not the APS. I'll give it a go. Or just email Jim -- he should have an address on the USPCS site. I did refer to the shade question. The 64 variants are much of a muchness. Supposedly the only difference, at least between the pigeon blood and the pink,is the amount of whiting. I once saw a stressed stamp that proceded from being a pigeon blood through the spectrum to being around a pinkish rose. A pigeon blood from Boston was one of the gems of the Beals collection (I currently own the cover). As Ken pointed out, pinkish so called 65s also appear very early. And, peaking in about March, the beautiful "lake red" which evolves into the brownish lake, which would be There is also the bright brownish red which would be one of the possibilities for an 1862 use. This is not necessarily a complete story of the 1862 colors. (I have a deep rose from Boston, Sep 9, but it is probably 1861. And a rose pink, actually not that different from my "deep rose" of Sep 4, 1861, also Boston. An August 27, possibly 1862, in a sort bright brown red. Or just brown red. Mr. Drews would be up on this evolution

Posted Apr 27, 17 12:09 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Fake NYFM cancel


Dud you inform the seller of your opinion and the reasons for it! And did he respond?

Posted Apr 27, 17 10:53 by Matthew Kewriga (mkewriga)


This is an example of a rubber handstamped fake NYFM geometric. These rubber handstamps have fooled many people and expertisers.

See here:

Posted Apr 27, 17 8:19 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


These are the APRL on-line catalog listings for Milgram and War of 1812. I don't see one about special routes.

Title War of 1812 Postal Document from Wiscasset, Maine, A pp. 11-13
Author James W. Milgram
Publication Date 2005 June
Subjects United States: Postal History, Maine, WISCASSET
Type Article
Number 131
Source Postal History Journal
Title Censorship of Mail and POW Markings from the War of 1812
Author Milgram, James W., M.D.
Publication Date 2015 March
Subjects United States -- History -- War of 1812 | Postal History | Covers
Type Article
Number v.129, no.3, p.230-239
Language English
Source American Philatelist
Title Censor Markings of 1812
Author Milgram, J. W.
Subjects Great Britain , Postal Markings , Censored Mail , 1812 | Bibliography
Type Article
Number 77 : 333
Source American Philatelist

Posted Apr 27, 17 7:05 by Jim Baird (bairdo)

Milgram 1812 Express article

Does anyone happen to have the article in reference?  Published by APS? See BB note below.

Save me from having to go to the APRL with nothing more than subj & author



Posted Apr 27, 17 6:55 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

3¢ 1961

FDCs are both pink and rose pink.

Posted Apr 26, 17 22:23 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

Boston cover

The majority of August 1861 patriotic covers I have seen are rose pink, but not all.

Posted Apr 26, 17 21:42 by Chip Gliedman (cgliedman)

Boston cover

Wouldn't an August '61 cover have a 3c that was pink? I think that if the stamp could be identified as currently or previously pink, it would lock the date in. If not, it would have to be post-61, right?


Posted Apr 26, 17 20:22 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Westpex 2017

On my way to San Francisco for the show - probably the only show I will visit this year. Hope to meet some of the board members there.

Posted Apr 26, 17 19:17 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Aug 22

It is neither here nor there, but the owner of that cover seems to have the philosophy of:  sell them all and let the customers sort it out. (Not Charles H)

Posted Apr 26, 17 18:33 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Not remonitized?

See note below.  I am shocked, shocked! that someone would not hang onto my every precious word. 

Posted Apr 26, 17 17:11 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

The Over/Under

This cover may be a helpful example of the impact of stamps placed one on top of the other. In this case, after its transatlantic voyage that began in February 1844 the cover had a hard time catching up with its intended recipient, having arrived in the UK on March 14, 1844 and finally(!) being delivered on April 22, 1844 after making many, many stops along the way. The stamp at upper right was applied to pay for forwarding/redirection on or about March 16, 1844 in London. The second stamp, to its left, was applied on top of the first stamp on April 21, 1844. The first stamp looks like crap because, well, it is on an envelope that has been handled many times and exposed to postal wear and tear for over a month. The second one, which did its duty for a day, looks very fresh comparatively. The first stamp has traces of gum from the other stamp, and the cancels match up perfectly. I have no idea when it was moved. I think most collectors looked at this cover as a horrible, grubby letter with two 1841 1d reds and completely (and I thank them for this) missed the context of the cover. There are an additional eight cancels on the reverse (London, York, Okehampton, Dorchester,etc.)


Posted Apr 26, 17 16:49 by paul bourke (paulb3)

Boston use of the new stamp

To Bernard

My census of 1861 uses of the news stamps includes 16 from Boston postmarked prior to September 25, the earliest being August 26. . Also, what is the basis of your claim that the old stamps were remonetized after being demonetized?

Posted Apr 26, 17 16:15 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Richard M.  Yes -- one could try to find out if the addressee had a child or relative in camp near Boston or in transit at the time?  Of course, if there are other covers from that correspondence, it might be helpful.
It is funny to think that someone may have taken the earliest surviving '61 issue cover from Boston, maybe a nice variety, and fooled with it.
But 1861 is absolutely, or close to it,  inconsistant with the '57 being on there, from a PO operations  point of view.

Posted Apr 26, 17 16:10 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Organization? We don't need no stinking organization

1)    The cover.  Assuming it is genuine, research might suggest when it(with that design) was most likely to be used (1861 or 1862).  Surface may have hints of improper removal or addition (puckering,thinning, the Hahn test).
2)    The address.  possible info on dating -- a long shot.
3)    Three cent '61 -- shade as a dating tool. Look for cleaning, thinning, etc.
Also, if you have the resources, gum analysis. (see Hahn test ebove).
4)     CDS  Likely genuine.  Possibly chronometrics would show if the date of wear corresponds to 1861 or else later.  (Ink theoretically can be studied).
5)     PAID  -- see 4).   Slightly more likely to be bogus than CDS.  Probably OK.
6)     Due marking -- as 4) and 5).  Implications for overweight theory Implications for held for postage theory.  Due 3 cents is seen on demonitized Boston covers presumably from 1861 (with '57 but no '61)
7)     Three cent '57 -- much as the '61 stamp -- shade, search for anomalies, including verso and under '61, gum, Hahn test.
8)     The stain.  Morphology (and chemistry if you have the bucks.)

Posted Apr 26, 17 16:04 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

Boston cover

I can't judge whether genuine or not, but a large number of early volunteers came from Massachusetts and the units made their way from Boston down to DC (via train) in the latter half of August and early September 1861. Many of them apparently left home with patriotic covers (or bought them in transit) during that time frame and a large % of ones I have seen from the DC area to Massachusetts are dated from around August 28-29 and into spring of 1862. So, it doesn't prove this wasn't later, but 1861 is more consistent with the evidence.

Posted Apr 26, 17 12:51 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Boston. A simple physical test to be done.

Looking through material on line, it is quite possible I was wrong about a second demonitiztion at Boston.  I may have mislead myself partly based on a private notice that a company would not longer accept the '57 issue in lieu of cash.  Ihaven't seen a demonitized example before Sept 25, however.
It does Not change the analysis of the Aug. 22 cover.
By the way, the 1862 explanation does not cover why the due marking is not cancelled (and why a held for postage rather than due -- I think the Sept 25 cover was sent Due 3 and not held for postage and had no '61 -- that is, one would expect that the cover would have been forwarded with the '57 and a due marking, rather than held for '61.   I suppose the PO might have neglected to cancel the due marking in error. 
Argh -- if it was a double weight cover and, as both stamps were valid (in 1861 but not 1862) then it should have been OK with the PO (unless they didn't lke the corner of the stamp covered up).  Thus one can argue it would have to be a triple rate cover!  But if the PO recognized the '57, they should have cancelled it to.
The idea that the '57 was added develops charm.  When viewed from the inside, does the interaction of the stamps (and gum) with the envelope show any irregularity.  Also, and this could be Critical -- what is the result of the Hahn test -- viewing the inside of the cover beneath the two stamps under UV.  If there is a differential, that would be very suggestive.  P.S.  Richard knows more about this test than I do and would have a better idea of its application and validity.

Since this is getting a little complicated, let me reprise one of the key points.
A cover with demonitized franking could be held for postage or sent due.  The practice at Boston, at least Sept 25 and later, was to send the item due.
This cover is much earlier, so arguably different.  But 1) it does not have a held for postage marking and 2) it was sent with the due marking intact.  But the stamp was good and PO confusion is possible but very unlikely as amplified by 3) if it was held for postage -- but it clearly wasn't -- that is a very fast turnaround to notify the client and get the stamp on there snd 4) it is still sent due 3.
The Easiest way out is to say the '57 does not belong (this is compatible with 1861 and with an early shade on the '61 and the fakery doesn't involve sacrificing a valuable stamp).  The alternative, that the sender put the second stamp on in error, before mailing, and that it is a triple rate cover with on stamp erroneously left uncancelled, is kinda farfetched.
More than one of the key points, I guess.

Posted Apr 26, 17 12:31 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


The PAID appears to made with an angled or lateral blow -- I think it more likely OK.   More likely the '57 would have been added.  Although one could start with a cover with '61 not tied and lost or deliberately removed and added both stamps.  Seems unlikely.
Or the '57 was there and uncancelled -- already a nice cover -- then dolled up with an unused stamp (Is the stamp sound an uncleaned.  What shade is it?  If unused 64a, 64, or probably even 64b, not financially worthwhile.  But the '57 would be cancelled as it was not yet demonitized.
Which gets back to the double rate cover with '61 belonging an unused or cleaned or cancelled in the corner '57 added under the '61.  Which at least has some plausibility.  Examination by strong transmitted light and also by UV would be a start.  Theoretically, gum analysis would be enlightening.

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