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Posted Apr 26, 17 12:21 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Aug 22 ad infinitum and a radical proposal

A) If the letter was considered unpaid, due to demonitization, then one would think the due marking would have been cancelled.
B )If the letter had a new stamp and was overweight, the the due marking would not, as is the case, be cancelled.
Ergo, the cover may be fake.
C) UNLESS, some poor deluded person put on the '57 and then got the impression that was no good and added the '61 BUT it turned out the cover was overweight and the due marking had nothing to do with demonitization, as also B), but not fake in this case.
We live in a universe of infinite possibility.

Posted Apr 26, 17 12:09 by Charles Hanselmann (southern*patriot)

Fake or Real Deal

Thanks all! My first concern was that the A & I  in PAID were not even. All examples of this type Boston MA PAID that I researched were even across all letters. Secondly, if the U.S. #26 was not valid, why not a "Held for Postage" or other auxillary marking making it clear that this was not to go through without payment. Unless the PM knew the customer at Boston added the U.S. #65 stamped the PAID and sent it  "Due 3 Cents." Example of the even PAID here.


Posted Apr 26, 17 11:58 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Considering that the 1857 stamp was still valid as postage on August 22 [1861], there was no need for the 1861. But 1862 could be right.

Posted Apr 26, 17 11:57 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Boston Demon

   Yes, but the stamps were remonitized and then demonitized in late September.
Over three decades, this is the first Boston I have seen which even hints at being pre September 25.

Posted Apr 26, 17 11:54 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Boston 1861 new stamps

Two notices published together in the August 27 edition of the Boston Advertiser shed light on stamp and stamped envelope demonetization:
                                                                        Post-Office, Boston,
                                                                        Aug. 21, 1861,
Postage STAMPS of a new style are substituted, for those now in use.
On and after the 27th instant, the old stamps will cease to be good for the payment of postage at this office.
Persons having in their possession stamps of the old pattern may have them exchanged at this office at any time previous to the 27th instant. Postmasters of small offices in the neighborhood of Boston, who may not, in the ordinary course of business, be able immediately to obtain a supply of the new issue from the Department, may have stamps exchanged at this office, and are allowed a month for the purpose, but are respectfully requested to use all despatch.
One cent ENVELOPES of the old style will continue in use.
                                                            JOHN G. PALFREY, P.M.
                                                            POST OFFICE NOTICE.
Government Stamped Envelopes of the new style will be given in exchange for those of the old type, until Aug. 30th, after which date the latter will not be received in the payment for postage on letters sent from this office.
                                                            M. T. ROBINSON, P.M.
Jamaica Plain, Aug. 24, 1861

Posted Apr 26, 17 11:47 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Aug 22 again

The is an unexploited aspect to this.  I have noted over the years that the patriotic design on another Boston Demon that I handled seems alway to occur early in the war.   That suggests that some or many designs had a limited period of issue and this has implications for the chronometric armamentarium.  That is, the design of the cover is, like the shade of the stamp, potentially helpful in deciding between 1861 or 1862 (unless a letter or docketing has already nailed this down).

Posted Apr 26, 17 11:41 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

1812 era special routes

In addition to Richard's valuable catalog, there is also an old article that Jim Milgram wrote for the APS on the special War of 1812 routes.

Posted Apr 26, 17 11:36 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

US Govt Messenger Ships

A little known chapter -- I have not seen anything written about it -- are the special messenger ships which seem to have had special rights of passage (Napoleonic Wars) and which would carry private letters.  I have found two -- one that carried a letter that went from China to the US (possibly to take advantage of neutral shipping) and then was mailed from Phillie to Baltimore where a forwarder put it on the messanger ship that touched at England and then went onto France.
The second was incoming when we were at war -- some sort of cartel as I recall.
The messanger did not immediately put the letter in the port of arrival post but carried it on his was to Washington before mailing it (I don't recall if it went into the Washington PO or elsewhere -- was or is in the SW exhibit.)
These ships also carried passengers.  I don't know about cargo -- possibly not.

Posted Apr 26, 17 11:29 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


How do we know it is 1861?  1863 is impossible.  I think those markings (with the possible exception of the Due -- Blake would have info) were in use in 1862. 
This is an excellent explanation.  Except that I have studied the early '61 3 cent shades some (I do have reference material) and, assuming that image is not too far off, that looks like an early printing.
As they (Firesign) say -- "You can't get there from here."

Posted Apr 26, 17 11:19 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

AUGUST 22, 1861

There is only one way that I can think of to rationalize this creepy cover.  That is, that someone grabbed the wrong month slug.  Normally one would only expect this with low date values (and/or light use markings).  I am not totally in love with this explanation, but it could be right.

Posted Apr 26, 17 11:12 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

AUGUST 22, 1861 say Huh?

That is an exceptionally strange demon cover.   I once handled a first day of Boston demonitiztion (Sept 25 -- the data in Perry is wrong, but there was at least one remonitizaition in the Boston area -- of the top of my head there may or may not have been an earlier at Boston demonitization that was temporarily reversed.) (I did this 30 years ago -- it can be redone on line if the right papers are there.)
August 22 is completely insane, as it is too early.  And note that they would have had to notified the sender very fast after they took it out of the box, unless he handed it across the counter.  Often the '57 would not be cancelled.  The cancel and due marking (which is proper for a Boston demon)  look good, but can easily be checked against genuine examples.  The question seems to be -- was the '61 removed, an unused (well is it unused, it is partly covered up) '57 (the printing should be an 1860 or 1861 statistically speaking) added and then a tying smudge deliberately added or happening accidentally in the course of time.  An excellent example of a cover that looks good but makes no sense at all!

Posted Apr 26, 17 11:01 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Expresses and Special Routes

John -- long time no see.
    I take it that the original meaning of express transport derived from the idea that the unscheduled carriage was made expressly for one letter or group of letters.  I assume later, by extension (or degeneration) it applied to special scheduled routes or services with the idea of speeding things up.   By the 1850s, in the context of express companies in the East, I wonder if it meant anything at all, except to create an aura.
    Colonial Post Office expresses -- I don't recall if it is in the Q.A. law or the Franklin regs, but there is a specific procedure and charge (by the mile as I recall) for getting a horse and rider through the PO.  Such a letter would presumably be unidentifiable unless by good fortune of instruction or docketing on the letter.  I may have a Dragoon letter IN STOCK.
I would need to go back to John's article to refresh my memory on the matter of military mails in the Revolution.  My recollection was that the PO was supposed to take care of it? possibly including (special) expresses ??? Calvet thought a strike against Bache was his failure to do so, forcing GW to set up his own arrangements.  I think somewhere (Calvet) it has been claimed that Bache was an alcoholic -- I wonder if that was true and a problem.
    My early Napoleonic wars Falmouth unpacket packet exhibit shows the (special) express laid on for one (I could only find one -- that does not exclude the possibility that there were a few) of the privately carried Falmouth packet mails that went into Boston (c1794).  This is the earliest example I have found of a (special) express cover of the United States Post Office (I have an extra one FOR SALE).  As I said, such special expresses for major ship letter arrivals occur later, including the hiring of special trains from Boston c1845 (shown in my Downstreaming four frame -- if you see me, ask me about the ironies associated with this exhibit!)
Richard's comments on the early special routes, AKA express mails, are on point, of course.

Posted Apr 26, 17 10:33 by John Olenkiewicz (johnoz)

General George Washington's Chain of Expresses

At Tim's suggestion I post my "Chain of Expresses" letter undated but is from around late June 1781. It is written by Colonel David Humphreys, Aide de Camp for Gen. Washington. Richard has a article I wrote about the Chain a number of years ago, with a full description of the letter. In case some are interested, the URL of the article is below.


Posted Apr 26, 17 10:25 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

Fake or Real Deal

As a PD collector I viewed this cover more for mental database for possible future considerations.

I am not an expert but the cover looked "funny" to me. There are two areas of concern. Notice on the 1857 stamp how the lightly smudged cancel leaves a small blank area between stamp and cover (I think there is a name for that). But on the 1861 stamp the "Paid" cancel leaves no daylight between cancel and stamp. It could be I suppose light cancel versus heavy cancel, regardless, I still thought it a little strange.

I see similar problems trying to guage whether a cancel is a precancel on postage dues or SON cancel or simply a lighter (or off centered) impression which did not make it to the cover.

Posted Apr 26, 17 9:58 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Pentagon Philatelic Society

Founded by Col. James DeVoss, does anyone have any other info concerning the Pentagon Philatelic Society? Probably long since disbanded, or possibly merged. Any info will help. Thanks--Joe

Posted Apr 26, 17 9:51 by William T. Crowe (wtcrowe)

Boston Patriotic

I am not a Boston expert, but the cover looks legitimate and all of the Boston markings were in use at the same time in 1861 according to Blake and Davis.

Posted Apr 26, 17 9:45 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Boston Aug 22 1861 Cover

Charles - looks like a probably genuine cover to me.

The 3c 1861 stamps were first available in Boston on Aug 21, 1861.

Posted Apr 26, 17 9:27 by Charles Hanselmann (southern*patriot)

Fake or Real Deal

Good Morning All,
Your thoughts on this cover?


Posted Apr 26, 17 9:12 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

War of 1812 Express

See page 15 in my net price sale here.

Posted Apr 26, 17 8:57 by Jim Baird (bairdo)



I was not aware of the War of 1812 POD express; and that there was an express offered the public as a service w/o cost in additional postage - and therefore paid for by the POD.

Thank you.  Something more to research.


Posted Apr 26, 17 8:55 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

Special delivery on postcard

Probably was more useful when long distance telephone was costly - I once had a postcard from the early part of the 20th century that was mailed special delivery from NY to outside of Baltimore - a man telling his wife that he would be home later that same day. Time stamps suggested it was mailed around 9 am and probably was delivered by 4ish.

Posted Apr 26, 17 8:41 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)

Colonial expresses

Jim, Bernard

Shown is one from 1690 from New Castle NH, a letter that went as fast as possible, "Praying all Justices & Constables to be Aiding and Assisting", as the author, an official in New Castle, tried to catch up to a scofflaw who was fleeing his debts. This is my earliest of this variety, and I'd rather label it a "special delivery" or maybe some other expedited service; but one letter does not constitute an "Express". I've not seen any mention of express or express rates in the Neale Patent, Act of Anne nor George III Act. I'll search some more for the earliest use of the word express on an address panel; but at this moment I think it was during the AWI, when Gen'l Washington and Congress set up a "Chain of expresses" so as to expedite intelligence. Maybe John Olenkiewicz would show his letter ! In short, I favor Jim's understanding of the situation. Tim


Posted Apr 26, 17 8:34 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Post Office Express

Jim - I think having the express service available to the public differentiates nicely the military and private expresses from the post office expresses. So, I classify expresses into categories:

private express (operated by a private person or firm not under contract to any government entity)

military express (operated and paid for by a branch of the government other than the post office, may be military carriers or contract carriers)

and post office express (paid for and contracted for by the Post Office Department).

I would classify the Natchez Trace express a post office trial to "prove" a service without additional information. The earliest post office express I am aware of operated during the War of 1812 (Mar 1813 until Feb 1815) between Washington and the West. It was available to the public without additional cost.

Posted Apr 26, 17 7:33 by Jim Baird (bairdo)


BB -

Thanks for introducing postal history onto the board.  I have a special interest in the word "express" as it realates to the posts.  As a noun, in the 18th and early 19th century, the word  "express" was used to denote private (not POD) mail carriage by a rider paid to carry a letter from source to recipient point to point.  The undertaking was private and paid for, generally, by the sender - although not always.  The motive was generally to insure speedy delivery and certainty in an age when neither was available through the posts.  Expresses - still a noun - were often used by government officials in public service outside the post office (same reason) and the service cost was reimbursed by the department for which they worked.

Express mail (adjective) was a POD service denoting "fast" mail within the POD system.  The earliest use of the word by PO officials of which I am aware was in 1803-1804 for a period of 3 months - and my understanding of it is that it was essentially introduced by the PMG (Granger) to see what speed of delivery he could achieve over the Natchez Trace route Washington to Natchez.  The effort was directed from Nov 03 thru Jan 04 and was a miserable failure. Although the PMG made it known by a single newsopaper story, its purpose was not to provide wso much a service to the public as to see what could be achieved after the POD had thoroughly embarrassed itself in its failure to provide essential communications needed by government officials during the port of New Orleans "deposit" crisis in Oct - Nov 1803.  The officials, SOS, SOW, Governor of MS Territory had to resort to the use of "express" riders to communicate with each other during the crisis.

Your post suggests, as I understand, that there was an "express" service (noun) provided by the POD in colonial times and later.  I am ignorant of that.  Put me onto the references, please, by which I can learn more.

Thank you

Posted Apr 26, 17 7:00 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Type 2 Shield


Posted Apr 25, 17 23:38 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Special Delivery

Example with a fourth Bureau paying the post card rate.


Posted Apr 25, 17 23:37 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Special Delivery

Here are a few Special Delivery uses paid with coils on post cards. Not very common.


Posted Apr 25, 17 21:25 by richard babcock (babcock)

Type two

Are these 319 Type two's?


Posted Apr 25, 17 20:52 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Real expresses

The Colonial Post Office would get a horse and rider to carry a letter express to -- well I guess wherever you wanted.  It was fearsomely expensive.  When that service disappeared, I know not.  It does not appear an any of the Provincial/United Colonies/United States laws or regs that I know of.
What we call expresses were a degenerate form of fast mail or private mail.
The earliest US PO express I know of -- that is one shot special service -- carried British packet letters from Boston in the 1790s.  Similar dealies occurred for ocean mail at New York in the 1830s and Boston in the 1840s.  Also I found a case where a govt special messanger during the War of 1812 carried private letters from Europe as he went down the coast by land to DC.  But this was not a PO operation.

Posted Apr 25, 17 19:56 by Terence Hines (thines)

Another 60 ct. special delivery on postal card.

Here's another.


Posted Apr 25, 17 19:03 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Gold Centimes

Ken, In solving the mystery of the New England Old Tenor covers, I found I had to invent a non existent currency.  (Blake had tried something similar, without explaining it, when he unsuccessfully attacked the problem after discovering it.)  I later learned that such things are called (pure) "currencies of account" in economics.  The New Englanders used this thing, in one form, for thlirty five years or so after the currency had become obsolescent, and for about 21 after it was obsolete.  People were keeping accounts in money they may never have seen, except as a rare curiosity.

Posted Apr 25, 17 18:57 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Special delivery

I just bought a special delivery with two special delivery stamps and a single 3 cent (single rate).  There is nothing else unusual about it -- Fresno to L.A. in 1952.  What gives?  The only thing I can figure is that the sender was a afraid the addressee would be away, and provided for Special Deliver Forwarding in that case.
OMG -- I bought a mid twentieth century cover.  Please don't tell anyone.
For some reason the address won't paste into the message, only the subject!

Posted Apr 25, 17 18:50 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Withdrawn bids on ebay

Of course there is the possibility there was a shill bid involved.
Very recently, I was the under under bidder on an expensive lot on ebay.  The winner supposedly bailed out.  The underbidder (whom I know) negotiated a price around or jest above my bid, which, of course, is the proper procedure.  Buying at one bid below the busted bid makes no sense at all!

Posted Apr 25, 17 17:58 by Roland Austin (rolandaustin)

Special Delivery Stamps on Postal Cards

By my experience (and from others), the 45c and 60c special delivery stamps are very scarce to rare on government postal cards. I know of one other 45c use (on my 11c airmail postal card, which pic I cannot locate right now).

Here is the only 60c use I have seen on a postal card (I am sure there are others out there).


Posted Apr 25, 17 12:31 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

Special delivery use on postcards is uncommon to rare, but this one  turned out to be rather exceptional.


Posted Apr 25, 17 9:22 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Don Jones---AAMS

Has anyone heard from or seen Don Jones (of the American Airmail Society)? Many fellow collectors have been trying to reach him for many weeks and are getting very concerned. Saw him last at the NY 2016 show where he also exhibited (US Governmental flights) No luck with emails or phone calls.

Posted Apr 24, 17 22:09 by Russell Crow (cornwall2)

Postage due cover

The cover is addressed to John Prentiss Poe who was dean of the University of Maryland Law School. The law school is located in Baltimore while the University of Maryland - College Park is located right outside of Washington DC. I am assuming the cover was handled by the Baltimore post office. I seriously doubt the law school would have had a PO. The University of Maryland did have a PO that operated from 1859 to 1890 and it was Agricultural College. Then in 1890 the PO name changed to College Park and that office is still operational. The recipient died in Oct of 1909. He was a nephew of Edgar Allan Poe.

Posted Apr 24, 17 21:49 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Jim Forte's website does not list a University post office in Maryland.

Posted Apr 24, 17 17:13 by richard babcock (babcock)

postage due

Thank you every one. Was the post office in Maryland located in the University?I ask because Queens University here, has had one since they first opened.

Posted Apr 24, 17 15:13 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Doubling was supposed to occur on the UK side.

Posted Apr 24, 17 15:00 by Farley Katz (navalon)

16 cents postage due

So, double weight GB letter 2.5d x 2 = 5d, less prepayment of 1d = 4d, x 10 = 40 centimes equivalent = 8 cents deficiency, doubled to 16 cents?

(Rates from 1891 Vienna Convention table)

Posted Apr 24, 17 14:18 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

16 cents postage due

Ken,  That's functionally correct, though I probably wouldn't state it that way.  I prefer to say that the 40 indicates doubling of the equivalent 8 cents underpayment.  I try not to gloss over whether the originating post office doubled or not.  The whole point is to avoid the confusion for those who don't know about the change in marking procedure in 1906.

Posted Apr 24, 17 14:06 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


So in this case 40 gold centimes equaled 16¢, not 8¢.

Posted Apr 24, 17 13:58 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

16 cents postage due

Ken, that's correct.  That changed with the 6th UPU Congress in 1906.  So, when interpreting postage due, you have to know when the cover was postmarked and when the changeover in marking occurred -- from rating what was unpaid to marking double the unpaid deficiency.  This can be very confusing if you don't take this change into account.

Posted Apr 24, 17 13:27 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

According to Tony's book, the Rome UPU convention changed the system so that the doubling was done by the originating post office.

Posted Apr 24, 17 12:40 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

16 cents postage due

The interpretation is very straightforward.  Liverpool added the notation 2/40.  The 2 indicates two letter rates (see Treaty of Berne, 1874, Detailed Regulations, Article 4, par. 1).  The 40 indicates deficiency in centimes (referenced in Article 4, par. 3).  The defiency was doubled by the receiving country for collection from the addressee.  When the UPU was set up in 1875, 5 centimes was equal to 1¢.  So 40 centimes underpaid was 8¢, which was doubled for 16¢ postage due.  Dispatching countries started doubling the deficiency in their notations in 1906 so that the receiving country didn't have to multiply by 2.

Posted Apr 24, 17 12:32 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Camp Warner

Great article. I especially enjoyed the Fort Bidwell connection also. In the mid-1990s I lived in Modoc County, CA and I used to ride over Cedar Pass into Surprise Valley and Cedarville, then up to Fort Bidwell and back over via Fandango Pass. My main memory of Fort Bidwell was the old school building and then the pack of dogs that we had to outsprint every time we went by (not easy on the legs after several hours of riding). That part of the world is not that much more developed than it was in 1870, if I'm frank!

Posted Apr 24, 17 12:03 by George Tyson (gtyson)

Camp Warner

Fascinating story, great research, write-up, and presentation. IMHO a little gem of postal history. Thank you for sharing it.

Posted Apr 24, 17 11:54 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Year ofthe Jenny Invert

I attended Ameripex '86 every day but one and made a mental count of C3a's offered or displayed at the dealers' stands -- I counted 37.

Posted Apr 24, 17 11:44 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Year of the Jenny Invert

While searching old files for something else I found this Weill Brothers souvenir handout from Ameripex 86. 

The only block of Scott C3a not in their display at Rosemont was the Princeton block, which was at Ken Wenger's stand along with Positions 1 and 100.

I wonder how much this card would be worth today on eBay.


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