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Posted Dec 12, 17 21:33 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Only incoming foreign mail was subject to asset control. United States censorship of civilian mail did not begin until 12 December 1941.

Posted Dec 12, 17 19:35 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Business Reply

Richard M - A much simpler explanation is that this envelope got machine mangled in the PO somewhere on its journey.

Posted Dec 12, 17 17:04 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

sealed BRM



Posted Dec 12, 17 17:00 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

Officially sealed BRM

This envelope looks like it was opened, re-sealed with tape, then official seal added over the tape. There is a handstamped "835" in oval (or maybe "335"?) over the tape also. Looks like early censorship or asset control, but on a magazine payment envelope?


Posted Dec 12, 17 14:19 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Return Letter Post Office Acts

Ken and Richard,

Thanks for your responses and information. Makes sense that the received date on the cover was put on by the postmaster or clerk, and then 10 days later when still not picked up was duly returned.

St. Johns, Perry County, Illinois was (and still is) a small village, so evidently this letter was not advertised in the local newspaper, even if they had one. In such a small community the postmaster probably knew just about everyone or how to find them.

By the way, the sender had a literally explosive history. Rand and Wadhams Manufacturing of Mining, Blasting and Sporting Powder, Pittsford, N.Y.  Twenty years after this cover was posted their powder mill blew up. See this link.

Posted Dec 12, 17 13:29 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Return Letter Post Office Acts

Under the 1863 PO Act, Section 28, when the writer of a prepaid letter asks for return letter service the letters are to be returned and return postage collected.

Under Jun 12, 1866 PO Act, Section 2, (effective July 1, 1866), repealed the above and stated "all letters bearing such endorsements shall hereinafter be returned to the writers thereof without additional postage charge."

Posted Dec 12, 17 13:16 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Special request envelopes (stamped envelopes with government-printed corner cards) were offered to avoid the Dead Letter Office problem that plagued the POD. The sender specified the amount of time that a letter should be held for collection or delivery before being returned. Probably the date was applied by a postmaster or clerk to establish when the letter was ripe for return.

Posted Dec 12, 17 12:50 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Return to sender, reason unknown

Here is a Feb. 22 1867 cover in my collection that either was uncalled for or maybe refused; marked "Return to Rand & Wadhams, Pittsford NY". The notation "Recd Feby 26/ 67" which might be in the same handwriting as the return instructions. There are no markings on the back of the cover.

I looked in the Evans book to learn how uncalled for or refused letters were treated in the 1860s. According to 1859 postal regulations, letters that were refused or could not be delivered were considered dead letters after a period of one month and sent to the Dead Letter Office. However, in this case, because there is a return request, it was returned to the sender.

Evans does discuss the waiting times of the return of advertised letters that were uncalled for. The postal law of 1863 decreased the maximum holding time to one month. But in this case I see no advertising notation so I wonder if the letter was simply refused. Also, effective in 1866, the return of uncalled for letters were not charged the normal letter rate, unlike previously. Any comments would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.


Posted Dec 11, 17 20:59 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Purple Stamps

And this is what I believe to be the route of the registered cover.

I'll stop hoarding all of the board posts now.  Thanks for letting me play for a while.



Posted Dec 11, 17 20:58 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Purple Stamps

It's all Andrew's fault.

He keeps showing all of this neat stuff and I just had to do a little bit...

I don't think I've shared this one on the board.  1866 Registered to Bohemia (registry paid in cash) via Ostende and Aachen.  Destination points just north of Prague (Dauba).


Posted Dec 11, 17 20:12 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Purple Stamps

While Rob is showing off purple stamps to far away places, here's an example of an 1869 "mistake" where the sender apparently mistook a One Penny Inland Revenue stamp for the same sized Six Penny stamp when mailing a letter to the USA. The Inland Revenue stamps were not valid as postage until 1881 (and postage stamps not valid for revenue usage). Charged 12 cents (or 22 Cents in US Notes) by the USA.


Posted Dec 11, 17 18:44 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Rupertsland, etc

You are a real gem.  And I do mean that.

But, are you sure you can handle my 'scorn?'  Do you 'ear what I'm saying?  Perhaps I'm just a kernal in the vegetable navy (bean) but I can tell you that all of the carrots, beets and turnips on the farm still root for me.

You may handle my scorn, but can you handle the puns?

Posted Dec 11, 17 16:57 by Chip Gliedman (cgliedman)

Rupert's Land


While I can't help you with the "P.B." question, if you send me those covers, I'll be happy to take Rob F's scorn and abuse for you. No need to thank me. That's just the kind of guy I am.


Posted Dec 11, 17 16:33 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

UK to Sweden partial answer (edited)

I probably should have answered this one for myself. 
The London marking on the first item should be enough of a hint that it did not go by direct packet to Sweden, which would have left Hull (or even Newcastle) rather than heading by train all the way to London.

Further edits: The first item left Newcastle on a Monday and I believe the Hull packets left on Saturdays.  So, fastest route was through London and hence Denmark.  If it were a private ship letter, I would expect additional markings to confirm and I don't see how the red 3 would apply to that situation anyway.

So, does anyone have any other details that may set these two items apart from a routing perspective?  edit: it is doubtful that there is much to add.

*** This bit of "on the fly" learning brought to you by your small-time farmer in Iowa who apparently can figure things out better when he takes time to frame out the question for others. ***


Posted Dec 11, 17 16:17 by Rob Faux (robfaux)



When I can't remember what the answers were to questions I have posted on the board, I do a filter on the board for everything I have posted.  That allows me to find my original post and then the posts around that one which usually have the answers I am looking for. 

I did a quick filter on your user name and I think the original question was towards the end of 2016's posts.


PS - in doing this I realized that YOU are the one who outbid me on the 24 cent from Rupertsland!  But, to show you that I am still a nice guy, I am still helping you.  (kidding, of course)

Posted Dec 11, 17 16:15 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)


Andrew: America and England, two countries separated by a common language. Growing up in New England (English with a York dialect i.e. Linda pronounced Linder) I thought I was ready for the Brits, but invited to lunch during America Week at Porton Down I discovered their concept of American hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries with ketchup to be "unique" to the UK.

Posted Dec 11, 17 16:06 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

UK to Sweden Part II

Here is the second UK to Sweden item. 

Sent Jan 21, 1868 from London.  Different shape to the PD marking.  Jan 26 backstamp and 3d marking for Danish service.  Add the time of year, the docketing on it and it seems clear this one went via the Denmark route.

But, is there a consistent way to tell if the other went via Denmark OR via direct packet?  Anyone know?



Posted Dec 11, 17 16:02 by Douglas Chapman (foodrev)

Covers with "P. B." in small circle Handstamp

A year ago I asked if anyone knew this mark.

I cannot remember the response--someone knew the name of the collector who applied this to the reverse of his covers.

I remember the collection was sold by Siegel. I thought it was Sale 131, but that seems to be wrong.

Can anyone help me again? I just purchased an Ex. DeVolpi Canada Fur Trade cover which arrived today and also has the "P. B." HS.

I'll promise to record the information more carefully this time.


Posted Dec 11, 17 15:57 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

UK to Sweden

I'll put this out there in case someone on the board knows. 

I have two items from UK to Sweden during the same 6d rate period.  There were a couple of routes.  One would have been direct mail packet to Sweden and another via Denmark.

I thought that this item might have been direct via packet to Sweden.  But, now I am not so sure.
Mailed from Newcastle-On-Tyne May 20, 1867.  Note the light red crayon 3 on the front.  There is also a red London back stamp dated May 21.  No other receiving or routing marks.  There is a docket that seems to indicate that an answer was written May 27 and sent May 28.


Posted Dec 11, 17 14:26 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Steve Chiknas Translation

"Gamine Steak on a Bap" = "Gammon Steak on a Bap" = Ham steak on a roll. I'm trilingual --- Scottish, English, and American spoken here.

Posted Dec 10, 17 21:37 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

346V 347V

Ken, From what I can find there are 3 or 4 of the 346V singles on cover with a few philatelic uses by Filstrup that are registered covers. There is also one cover on the APS site with four singles. For the 347V there are a few others. I found one single, which happens to be the one I sold to Alan Parsons, 2 covers with pairs, a single with a 1 cent sheet stamp, a strip of 3 overpaid, and the cover I posted with 3 singles.

Posted Dec 10, 17 19:44 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Imperf. Washington-Franklins

Gregory Shoults,

Thanks for posting your interesting commercial uses of 4c and 5c Washington imperfs.

Here is a philatelic use of the 1c Washington-Franklin imperfs, sent by stamp dealer C.E. Nickles, an early producer of FDCs. Evidently left-over scrap pieces of imperf. stamps, early "discount postage", as Ken L. mentioned. See cover ID 26595.

I had acquired this cover 40 years ago, mainly because I was intrigued at the time by the interesting slogan machine cancel. In those days I used to hinge my covers to album pages. If you look at the back of this cover (click on link) you will see the two hinge marks, and how whiter the paper is underneath the hinge marks. Evidently the paper has noticeably aged over 40 years, which is rather distressing. Some of my WW1 covers from that era are brown with age and are rather fragile.

Much of the paper from that time period, I am led to understand, was very acidic and of poor quality, I assume because of the war effort. Which makes me wonder how long such covers will last without crumbling apart like old newspapers and becoming lost to time.


Posted Dec 10, 17 17:29 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

W-F coils on cover

I believe Scott 346V (imperforate 4¢ vertical coil) on cover is scarcer than Scott 356. At the time I sold mine only three were known, all from the same Pittsburgh company. How many 347V covers are known? Rex Bishop showed me one many years ago.

Posted Dec 10, 17 15:04 by David Benson (dbenson)

Lesson Learned

Reminded me of

" A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush ",

David B.

Posted Dec 10, 17 14:32 by Matthew Kewriga (mkewriga)

Lesson Learned Twice

Greg, you learned one of the first rules of an auctioneer, never leave a collection hanging. Tough though, as a collector it sometimes works out better being able to buy just the things you want. Depends on pricing of course, but at least you will have an opportunity.

Posted Dec 10, 17 11:33 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)

Lessen Learned Twice, Flying

A year or two back flying from Louisville via Chicago via Frankfort to Italy,
the Louisville agent set the luggage to be checked out at Frankfort, fortunately
in the club Leuftonsa so indicated and helped me re-check, exhausting 
but it worked, now i always check the luggage routing tags.

Flying from Italy, France, etc. we find on the return trip we leave a day earlier for a decent departure time, to make connetions in Frankfort or Munich with only one luggage as cary on, the rest checked through, spend a night in the city and fly out the next morning, works for us

Last year in Italy they refused to check the luggage through as it exceeded the 24 hour between flights thus having to lug and re-check in Munich.  This month in France the same problem but two explanations, one being the 24 hours was based on both take off times and not the ground time

Such is life, Leonard

Posted Dec 10, 17 11:23 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Imperforate Issues

Here are a few examples that appear to be commercial business mail. The 4 cent from the imperforate sheet and the 5 cent being a vertical imperforate coil.


Posted Dec 10, 17 11:02 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Lesson Learned Twice

I recently was put in touch with a collector who had collected for 65 plus years. He had every WF coil on cover as well as the stamps in mint and used pairs and line pairs. No easy task, and yes he had one of the most difficult coils on cover out of all. It is not the Orangeburg coil either, but the 10 cent Scott 356. There are 5 known uses and they do not appear very often in auction or come to market. So, on the lesson, I talked with the collector a number of times on the phone and arranged to visit to view and purchase what he had. According to my check list there would have been at least 10 to 15 items I could add to my exhibit, the most notable the 10 cent coil on cover. I was all set to fly out to the west coast for this meeting, which was suppose to happen this Friday. This past Friday I received an email from a dealer whom I have known for a number of years. I was told he had bought the entire collection. I have been given first rights to what he bought from the collector, but will be at the mercy of what he wants to charge. The upsetting thing about the entire experience is finding out from the dealer after I had bought airfare and hotel rooms, which are nonrefundable, to the tune of $550. I had confirmed the dates with the collector so he knew I was going to visit and view his collection. Due to my work schedule I could not have visited the collector any earlier, but in the future will not let an opportunity slip away. Those who travel by plane beware of restricted fares because the airline will not make any changes refunds for cancellations.

Posted Dec 9, 17 20:04 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Frank P. Brown Stamp Co.

Ken: Thanks for information on 1907-08 imperforates. Sounds like an early example of "discount postage".

The name Frank P. Brown of Boston sounded familiar so I did a little checking. Turns out that in 1933 he issued sheets of "trial color proofs from the original plate" of the 1844 American Letter Mail Co. small eagle stamp, in six colors. Some were mounted in sets on a small card.  Here are five examples of these reprints from my collection. The black stamp at far left is an original with red "PAID" cancel. The other reprints in various colors bear a tiny rubber-stamped "proof" on the reverse.

Frank P. Brown Stamp Co.; not to be confused with the Brownie Stamp Shop. Just for fun I put together an album page about the latter. See cover ID 26593. Who says you can't have fun in collecting.


Posted Dec 9, 17 14:09 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

1907-8 imperforates

Nearly all the covers that were kept are of philatelic origin, but the stamps were used on commercial mail. Stamp dealers sold their scrap to large business users of postage at a discount from face value after removing the position pieces and quantities needed for stock.

Posted Dec 9, 17 12:53 by David Snow (dwsnow)

1c blue green imperf. puzzle

Richard and David,

Thanks for your comments on my cover and solving the mystery. I am not surprised that it is a philatelic use. Seems to me that any uses of that imperf. stamp (#314) are most likely philatelically-inspired. Such as this off-cover example in my collection with 1909 duplex cancel.

It seems to me that the primary use of the imperforate version of that 1c stamp was to supply the various private companies that manufactured vending and affixing machines. Looking at that section in Scott I see that these companies made coils from the imperforated sheets and applied various perforations to them to suit the particular needs of their machines.

I did an internet search for stamp dealer Frank P. Brown of Boston and learned that he applied to the A.P.S. as a member in 1916, with his address at that time listed as 325 Washington St., Boston.

David D'Alexandris: Thank you for posting that 1849 cover with Favor's Express label - that is fascinating. Didn't realize that Wadsworth was their agent. And that is most interesting seeing that Wadsworth is still in business since 1818. Thanks for posting link.


Posted Dec 9, 17 12:26 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)

NY City Delivery

Alan: Makes perfect sense to me. Thanks. What was throwing me was the carved cork effect of the second cancel. I could understand the city part identifying a new time/date of transmission but I didn't think of the canceller as being a duplex. If not a duplex what was the cork to cancel? Your explanation solves the conundrum.

Posted Dec 9, 17 12:04 by David D'Alessandris (davidd)

1c blue green imperf. puzzle

David - the corner card on your cover is from SL Wadsworth & Son.  They are still in business in Eastport and claim to be the nation's oldest ship chandlery

Back in the 1850s, SL Wadsworth was the agent in Eastport for Favor's Express


Posted Dec 9, 17 11:58 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Frank P Brown

David S - A philatelic cover, not commercial. Frank P. Brown was a postage stamp dealer in Boston at this date.


Posted Dec 9, 17 11:54 by David Snow (dwsnow)

1c blue green imperf. puzzle

Here is the back of that Oct. 28 1908 cover.


Posted Dec 9, 17 11:53 by David Snow (dwsnow)

1c blue green imperf. puzzle

Here is a cover in my collection, which appears to be a commercial use with a Eastport Me. Oct 28 1908 duplex. My next post will show an image of the reverse.

I have long thought that it was simply a imperf. pair of the sheet stamp, Scott #314, which was issued in 1906. But why a commecial firm would bother using imperf. stamps mystified me.

But after reading the section on "Imperforate Flat Plate Coil Stamps" in Scott U.S. Specialized Catalogue, I wonder if it is actually a horizontally coiled pair, Scott 314H. That stamp had a EDU of March 9, 1908.

Scott states: "Imperforate coil stamps are often difficult or impossible to differentiate from sheet stamps, but many can be authenticated, especially as pairs or strips, and some bear authenticating marks of contemporaneous experts."

Any comments would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.


Posted Dec 9, 17 6:49 by Farley Katz (navalon)

NYC Postcard

I believe the address is--

J H Van Dyck

216 West 21st


This took some work; maybe it was easier for someone in 1873 to read.

Posted Dec 8, 17 22:19 by Alan Campbell (alan campbell)

NYC Postcard

I'll take a crack at Steve's postcard with the two duplexed postmarks. I had a little trouble reading the address, which I make out to be "26 West 20th Street". So my suggestion was that the carrier who first took it out had misread the address and couldn't deliver it. So he went back to the main NYPO, where the card was recancelled and given to the proper carrier for the correct route. This card did not go to a branch post office, because their local mail killers were negative letters (the letter identified the branch). The second transit postmark is very poorly struck, but the original is typical of local mail killers, possibly a circled 8-point star. The local mail killers were oversized like NYFM killers, and strikes on off-cover stamps are often misidentified as NYFM cancellations. This explanation works only if the postmarks have different times of day, accounting for the first failed attempt. My eyes aren't good enough to ascertain if this is true or not. There would have been several clerks working in the city delivery department, who would have been issued different cancellers to work with, so the fact that the killers are different is not surprising.

Posted Dec 8, 17 17:12 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)

NY City Delivery

Worst time I had navigating around Europe was in London. I knew they were speaking English but I didn't understand half of the words and there was no language I could use to translate what they were saying (Gamine steak on a bap comes to mind as a memorable example).

So the killer mark on the upper left corner of the postcard, distinct from the star shaped killer on the right is there why (small words please, I only minored in English)?

Posted Dec 8, 17 16:20 by Roger Rhoads (roger rhoads)

NY City Delivery

This card with "New York City Delivery" was canceled at the main PO for local delivery. At this time, out-of-town mail was canceled with hand carved numbers 1 thru 14, each assigned to different clerks who handled mail deposited in lamp post boxes, PO mail slots, etc. By mid-1876 the carved numbers were replaced with cast metal barred ovals with numbers ranging well over 14. Those pieces of mail that have letters in the CDS or cancel or both originated at the subdivision offices. Carrier mail was also stamped with a large "C" with the month number, date and delivery number inside it.

Posted Dec 8, 17 16:10 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps & Covers 1840-1940

I have a new one so I no longer need my 2013 edition. This is the whole world for the first century of postage stamps, a huge hardcover doorstop. Except for values, not a lot changes from year to year, so it's still a useful book. Costs about $150 new.

If a Board member would pay shipping, I would swap this one for an interesting philatelic item.

Posted Dec 8, 17 16:09 by Mike Ellingson (mikeellingson)


and the other side..


Posted Dec 8, 17 16:08 by Mike Ellingson (mikeellingson)


Here are a few offsets from early mechanical devices.


Posted Dec 8, 17 15:04 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

I see set-off of set-off postmarks on first-day and first-flight covers from time to time, so I'm confident they also exist on ordinary mail. But set-off, like offset, is planographic, not recess or relief transfer.

Debossed is the other side of embossed, in this instance, sunk. Points-down grills are debossed.

You can see the impression of the strike in the uninked part of the weak CDS.

Posted Dec 8, 17 13:29 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


A two generation off set, and that clear to boot, would be kinda unlikely.  The exception might be from a heavy first gen offset from a missed strike of  machine cancel (similar to the spectacular offsets sometimes seen on banknote labels). Offset is occasionally accompanied by strike though deformation of the paper (reverse from the front strike), but that probably couldn't happen with the rigid postal card.
What is debossed?  I assume that is not what happened to Bruce's first wife.

Posted Dec 8, 17 12:31 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Set-off on the back is a mirror image. Set-off on the front from set-off on the back is right-reading.

However, set-off is not debossed, but the strike on the card appears to be.

Posted Dec 8, 17 12:26 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

NYC City Delivery

Offset is a mirror image -- the weak strike is not.  I recently thought I had discovered a C grill printed on both sides (very partial, but not uncommon with the dry prints that were double printed) until I realized the clearest element, a "3", has a plane of symmetry.  It was an off set.

Posted Dec 8, 17 10:36 by Richard Frajola (frajola)


I just received an email from a collector in Switzerland who wishes to purchase a stampless cover from Greenwich Village, Mass. with one of the fancy style postmarks.

Please advise if anybody might have an example they would be willing to sell and I will forward the email to the collector.


Posted Dec 8, 17 10:36 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)

NYC delivery

David S: Thanks, that was exactly what I was hoping someone had.

David H: Thought it was odd that two cancels would have to be on the same card moving around the city.


Posted Dec 8, 17 9:27 by David Handelman (davidh)

NYC delivery

The marking in the upper left corner could be an offset from an envelope sitting on top? Or perhaps it's too clear for that. One way to check would be to see if the mirror image of the marking is a known killer ...

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