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Posted Oct 13, 15 8:47 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)


Jim B.
I am flying American to arrive 1430 hours but don't know which of the three AA terminals it will be.  I suspect that will present a challenge trying to link up unless it were at Baggage Claim.  If you are flying American let's exchange flight numbers off board.
Let's all pray the airline software works on Thursday.
[email protected]

Posted Oct 13, 15 3:15 by Nick Kirke (nick kirke)


Jim, looking forward to seeing you!

I arrive DFW on Wednesday evening 9.43 from JFK and will be taking a taxi. Would be happy to share with anyone else arriving around that time (I'm the chap with a beard carrying a long telescope).

Posted Oct 12, 15 16:01 by Jim Baird (bairdo)


My flight arrives in DFW at 1400 on Thursday.  I have a rental car & will be happy to give anyone needing one a ride.

Jim Baird
[email protected]

Posted Oct 12, 15 9:25 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: year date postmarks

Morning Ken and Bob and Alan and all,

Thanks for the comments and information.

Ken, I plan on looking at the PL&Rs and PBs as soon as I can to it. The patent application comment is also interesting. Will try to find any reference to a reason if I get lucky.

Correct me if I am wrong. The first USPO requirement that PMs only use devices provided (directly?) by Washington was in the PL&R of 1902? Is this also the date the USPO finally provided devices to third and fourth class post offices without charge regardless of the $$$$ of postage they sold?

The quests continue .....

Best regards, Russ Ryle

Posted Oct 11, 15 19:03 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

To add to what Ken L. said about year dates. As he said it applied to first class and other time-sensitive material. For services such as printed matter, any dating is often left off so the quality of service is harder to measure. Even into the 1950's.

Posted Oct 11, 15 14:30 by Tim Henninger (pälzer)

Hallo John,

wow, now everything fits. About Hamburg the 14 Kr-tarif was from 1868-06-01 - 1870-07-01 and the Silesia fits too = super +

thank`s a lot !


Posted Oct 11, 15 13:35 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Tim H

The backstamp is indeed a Philadelphia postmark. Tom Clarke's 1990 book lists the date range as 13 May 1870 - 6 September 1872.

How about HAPAG's "Silesia", which left Hamburg on 6 April 1870, and arrived at New York on 19 April?

Posted Oct 11, 15 13:16 by Tim Henninger (pälzer)

VIA ENGLAND and another question

Hallo Richard,

thank you for your comments, very much appreciated ! The next cover comes from bavaria and must have been sended via Bremen on a ship of the north german lloyd, but I have a problem: which one in which year ?

In Hubbart/Winter North Atlantic Mail Sailings I cannot find the right connection. The paid 14 Kreuzer based on the postal-contract USA-Bremen in the period 1868-01-06 - 1871-10-01. Is the arrivalmark on the backside the one from Philadelphia ?

Best Regards !



Posted Oct 11, 15 13:10 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Year Dating Required?

I'm not aware of such a requirement. The purpose of dated postmarks was not to guide future historians, it was to show that first class and other expedited mail was meeting its promise. Even after year-dated devices had become ubiquitous, many of them had fixed year slugs that were not easy to change, which has led to disappointment of many collectors who think they have found early uses of stamps and postal stationery that supersede established EDU dates.

However, at some point the POD revised its procedures to allow hand-back service that  previously had not been allowed. Anecdotally, but not proven as far as I know, the reason for the change was to permit inventors to document the priority of their claims by enclosing descriptions of their inventions in sealed envelopes canceled with dated postmarks, often registered. I haven't searched the PL&Rs or Postal Operations Manuals for a requirement that the year be included, but perhaps someone can find such a rule. 

Posted Oct 11, 15 12:08 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

Year Dating Required

Russ -

Interesting question.  Schenectady became a Presidential office in 1839 so tracking its postmarks may tell us something.  First year dating appeared with introduction of the 3rd government device, upping the size from 30 to 32mm cds 1857.  Year dating continued with introduction of the 26 x 13mm DCDS of 1860.  That dcds was temporarily replaced in 1863 by the very similar 26 x 14mm DCDS which continued year dating until 1867.
From 1868 until 1876 - a time span during which one or both of the 26mm dcds's were in use - there was no yeaar dating at all.  a thick bar slug was used to fill the mortise.
In mid 1877 Schenectady introduced one of two vulcanized rubber duplex devices that both used year slugs and violet/purple ink.  These were discarded under POD instruction in 1880.  Every government postmark thereafter had room for year dating in one way or another.
So the question is: since year dating seemed to have solidly been in place since 1857, how can i explain the period 1868 to 1877?


Posted Oct 10, 15 23:58 by Alan Campbell (alan campbell)

Year Date in Postmark

Russ: Can't say when exactly when the POD standardized the requirement. But in the Banknote period, I see year dates first appearing in the CDS in Washington, D. C. and New York City in 1877, in Philadelphia in 1882, in New Orleans in 1883, and in Boston in 1884. For the commercial vulcanized rubber cancelers sold to small town postmasters, I see them appearing as early as 1877.

Posted Oct 10, 15 22:53 by Richard Drews (bear427)

year date


It's well past my 1861-68 period. I've been accumulating 3 cent covers and stamps with month day and year cancels to show what shades appear where and when. Lots of year dates from 1861 into 1865. They drop off sharply from then on and are very rare on the grills unless they are revenue cancels.


Posted Oct 10, 15 20:39 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: when was a year date first required?

Good evening, all

I previously learned from this board a year date first appeared in a postmarking device in 1853. However, I am having trouble establishing when the USPO first required a year date to be included in all postmarking devices at all classes of post offices. Can anyone share an answer to this trivia question?

Thanks, Russ Ryle

Posted Oct 10, 15 18:11 by Chris Records (crecords)

scott 65

thank you for your responses. I was really after a 1847 stampless letter the US to China in the lot that the stamps were in. I figured someone was a little quick to write "rare" in it.

Posted Oct 10, 15 17:59 by Richard Drews (bear427)

narrow 65


Try lining up the designs, not the stamp margins. There appears to be very lttle difference in the width of the designs; nothing beyond paper shrinkage. The narrow stamp is misperfed way into the design at the left and either trimmed at the right or a stamp from the right edge of a left pane that was separated into the design at the left.


Posted Oct 10, 15 17:56 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Not a stamp error, but a freak

This is a right sheet margin stamp from a sheet that had its vertical perforations out of alignment.  The user tore the stamp along the perforations, giving it the squashed look.  The adjacent stamp over to the left would have the same off center design, show the full margin between the stamps, and a tiny portion of this stamp at the right side.

Posted Oct 10, 15 17:42 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Paul B's cover

It is Geneva, Georgia

Posted Oct 10, 15 17:07 by Chris Records (crecords)

Asking the experts Scott 65 error?

This came with a group of letters I purchased. It was marked "rare wrong size". Is this an error or a common variation of a #65? Does anyone have any info on this?


Posted Oct 10, 15 14:47 by Michael Schreiber (michaelschreiber)

Georgia cover

Genoa, Ga., same as the city of the docketing at left side of cover

Posted Oct 10, 15 14:02 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

Paul's Cover

My reading is that the P.O. is in Georgia.  The town in which Dr. Wyman lived, G***coa, seems too small to be listed in y 2002 Road Atlas.  That town in not in Virginia either.


Posted Oct 10, 15 13:49 by Roland Austin (rolandaustin)

Wake Island December 1941


Thanks for the info. I did not realize there was no "regular" mail delivery to Wake Island, but only as any ship may sail that way.

Posted Oct 10, 15 12:02 by William Robinson (3wbrob)

Paul's cover

Long shot:
If we credit the postmaster with somewhat better handwriting, and assume the initial letter of the PO name is "G" and it ends with an "a" followed by a little flourish leading into a "V" in the state name (thus "Va"), can we chase that down?
(I tried and faiiled but the search was fun)

Posted Oct 10, 15 10:51 by Terence Hines (thines)


Richard -
        liiliss Alralredel C thy ete

Gee, anyone should be able to read that!

Posted Oct 10, 15 7:51 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

as long as we are deciphering handwriting

what does this say at the top?


Posted Oct 10, 15 7:41 by Ginny Nightingale (ginnyflo)

Post Office Name


Posted Oct 10, 15 7:20 by paul bourke (paulb3)

Post Office name

Can anyone decipher the name at left -- Someplace, GA? The same name is in the manuscript cancel but in equally unusual handwriting. Many thanks,



Posted Oct 10, 15 6:48 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Bill Gross

From this week's Barron's report:

"The complaint begins like the first draft of a memoir—with a 'colorful' recounting of Gross’s early years as a professional blackjack player and Navy service aboard a destroyer in Vietnam—and quickly takes on the tone of a John le Carré spy novel."

We shall await Stanley Bierman's sequel.

Posted Oct 9, 15 16:35 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Defaults ... Vibrating Mail

Not sure I have linked this website only article (that needs to have some additional disruptions added) on the board before ....

Posted Oct 9, 15 15:45 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Adding to what Richard wrote, it's more typical to see either no sender's endorsement, in which case the post office sent it by the fastest route consistent with the service paid for, or the sender specified a particular vessel, which the post office obeyed if posted in time for departure. But the VIA ENGLAND endorsement was regulation, if not typical. 

Posted Oct 9, 15 14:25 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Via England Directive

Tim - Although not my period, maybe my thoughts will be of some use. First, the handstamped directive was applied by the sender, not the post office. These usually meant that there were multiple routes available. In this case it would be probable that the default route was not via England - instead a direct route to Germany was available.

In looking at the steamer departures, the British steamer Etruria departed on January 16, 1891 for Liverpool and proably carried your cover. The German steamer Sorrento also departed for Hamburg the same day. There was also a steamer departing for Havre.

Posted Oct 9, 15 4:53 by Tim Henninger (pälzer)


Hallo togehter.,

I wonder about that handmark "VIA ENGLAND" on the cover below, which was posted in january 1891.  What made it necessary to use such an indication of transport-route ? Wasn`t it standart via England in this times ?




Posted Oct 9, 15 4:17 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Wake Island December 1941

Roland A,

I see two possibilities for your cover. Either it never left Hawaii, or it was dispatched to Wake Island on the USS Tangier relief mission that departed December 15 but was recalled before reaching Wake. 

I think all westbound mail from Hawaii was held for a period of time while events unfolded. No one could have known that the Japanese conquests would succeed so effectively. But eventually it was rerouted to destinations that could be reached by other routes or was returned to the senders. Your cover was surely held until after the Wake defenders surrendered, and then was returned to the sender.

I have not recorded other covers from the last surface mail USS Wright departure from Wake. Al Kugel's comprehensive article on Wake Island mail in the Summer 2012 Military Postal History Society Bulletin did not mention that trip, but did include a Marine cover that arrived on the last Clipper flight from Wake and other rare covers. Perhaps Maj. Ted Bahry USMC (Ret.) knows the answer; he is the Wake Island expert.

Posted Oct 8, 15 19:26 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

Bill Gross - Article Today Wall Street Journal

Bill Gross Sues Pimco for Breach of Contract, Seeks at Least $200 Million

Bill Gross sued his former employer, Pacific Investment Management Co., for breach of contract, alleging that managing directors plotted to drive the famed bond investor out of the firm because of "power, greed, and a desire to improve their own financial position," according to court documents.

Mr. Gross, a co-founder of Newport Beach, Calif.-based Pimco and the firm's former chief investment officer, abruptly left the company in September 2014 after increasingly erratic behavior and disagreements with the firm's other executives. He has since joined Janus Capital Group Inc. Mr. Gross, a billionaire, is demanding a jury trial and damages of no less than $200 million.

Posted Oct 8, 15 18:08 by Roland Austin (rolandaustin)

Wake Island - Last Surface Mail


I was thrilled to see your "Dec. 8" cover from the last surface mail going to Wake Island! Amazing that it survived. Is there much mail from that last shipment?

While your cover is from the last surface mail COMING FROM Wake Island, I am posting my cover which, possibly, was in the last surface mail GOING TO Wake Island. It was mailed in the middle of the week that the Japanese attacked, Postmarked Dec. 3, 1941, at U.S. Naval Station Pearl Harbor, to one of the few officers at Wake, Ensign J. J. Davis, Supply (and Accounting) Officer. I am happy to say that James J. Davis survived the war. Was it still in transit when Wake was attacked?

Since there was no post office on Wake at this time, the auxiliary markings -- "Returned to Writer" pointing finger and "MISSING IN ACTION" -- must have been applied at Hawaii. My question would be, when were the markings applied? Who would have known any serviceman was missing in action until after December 23? Was it held until after the loss of Wake before being returned to the writer?

Does anybody know the date of the earliest WWII "MISSING IN ACTION" marking?


Posted Oct 8, 15 14:19 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

1869 - West Coast of Africa

Thanks, that ties it together nicely.

Posted Oct 8, 15 13:56 by Bret Janik (exponet)

NORWAY - 30 ÖRE / 7 skilling postage stamp 1906 (Mi. 65) with inverted overprint

It is such a rare stamp that it is not even mentioned in catalog Michel in this form. It is quoted in specialized catalogs of Norway (number 88b) and Scandinavia, e.g. in catalog Facit it has number 86v2 and is commented that it is known in 5 (!) pieces only, all stamps cancelled Konsberg. Displayed item comes from the estate of Ladislav Dvoracek, long-time President FIP. Attached is a certificate of F. C. Moldenhauer jr. (significant Norway expert and AIEP member) since 1993. This world rarity is known two times fewer than the world's most famous stamp Blue Mauritius and for example four times fewer than the rarest Czechoslovak stamp 50/50 Postage due. 1.000nd free online exhibit on Exponet


Posted Oct 8, 15 11:22 by Bill Weismann (billw2)

French mail cover to Australia


Thanks for posting that, it's the first I have ever seen of that rate, and once that I have wanted to see (Up there with the 24c Bremen-Hamburg rate to Portugal, of which I have never seen an example of).


Posted Oct 8, 15 3:56 by Kevin Preece (ycymro)

Puzzle Cover - 1869 to Lawrenceville, NJ

Andrew, your cover originated in West Africa. The Liverpool datestamp marks the arrival of the African SS Co steamer "Lagos", which had sailed from Fernando Po on July 29, calling at various ports before reaching Liverpool on August 31.

Posted Oct 7, 15 21:47 by Roland Austin (rolandaustin)

Unpaid Military Mail


Many thanks for the information on Clarence Foster. Always interesting to know what became of the persons responsible for "creating" items in our collections.

Posted Oct 7, 15 21:20 by David Kent (davekent)

Unpaid Military Mail

The distinctive large-letter postmark on the sailor's card was manufactured in the Philippines at the direction of the admiral of the Asiatic Fleet when his requests for standard-issue US NAVY postmarks were ignored by Washington (or actually New York). We record it as having been used by more than 30 different ships, so it is impossible to tell which ship Clarance Foster was on. Clarence is listed by the American Battle Monuments commission, which manages the nation's military cemeteries, as being "in" the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines. However, the records are vague as to whether his grave is there (it has 17,201 graves), or he is listed on the Tablet of the Missing (36,285 names).

Posted Oct 7, 15 21:10 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Puzzle Cover - Reverse

Reverse of cover.


Posted Oct 7, 15 21:09 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Puzzle Cover - 1869 to Lawrenceville, NJ

For some reason, this cover has me scratching my head. I'm sure someone can point me in the right direction.

It is backstamped "Liverpool Br. Packet AU 31 69' and 'New York Sep 14 X'. However, the front has some interesting markings, with a "6d" erased, a '30' h/s in black, and a '20c' m/s in black. Addressed to Lawrenceville, Mercer County, New Jersey. Did this cover perhaps originate outside of Great Britain or am I overthinking it?


Posted Oct 7, 15 20:58 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

Applicaton of AI to philately

Russ, et. alia

I think most comments on this subject include exactly your point:  how do you synthesize a lifetime of study such that new insights arise without unanswered questions?  I doubt any of us has experienced a Pure Answer to any question regarding philately.  If we ever did, it may have also come with directions how to load the shotgun and where our mouth was.

Of course, that last comment is meant as a joke.  Richard, if it did not come across as a joke please erase the whole post.


Posted Oct 7, 15 19:42 by Roland Austin (rolandaustin)

Unpaid Military Mail before April 1942

Here is the reverse.


Posted Oct 7, 15 19:40 by Roland Austin (rolandaustin)

Unpaid Military Mail before April 1942

Here is an example of an "I am Well" postcard mailed prior to April 1942. I believe this card demonstrates all procedures related to Section 515.

The sender, Clarence C. Foster, wrote the address and "Sailor's Mail" on the front with the signature of "J F Fairbanks Jr" (officer of the unit) underneath. Mailed unpaid and postmarked Dec. 28, 1941, with a large U.S. Navy hand cancel. Although it does not state "postage due," a 1c postage due stamp indicates one-cent was collected by the delivery office, showing they knew the correct procedure.

The reverse was filled in by the sender. Note the initials "JFF" at the bottom right corner. I assume this was showing that the officer approved or "censored" the message, although there is no censorship marking.

I have a similar card from a sailor onboard the U.S.S. Blackhawk, but I am unable to locate it at this moment.


Posted Oct 7, 15 17:16 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: AI in the year 2525; if man is ......

Mark, Bob, and all,

The technical capability that is available today, and will be available tomorrow, is somewhat astounding to this old school historian who spend hours hand copying Indiana Postal Contracts from the US Serial Set back in the early 1970's. Today, all of this is easily searchable on line.

I learned much s-l-o-w-l-y creating my precious notes I would have missed just googling, cutting, and pasting this information. I had time to think what it really met.

Mark, facts are easily processed by AI. Bob, how can we include the wisdom from years of study of the Kens and Richards, and others in this resource. This is the challenge.

Best regards, Russ Ryle

Posted Oct 7, 15 16:19 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Computers and Common Sense

To the questions about automatic analysis of stamps and covers. Image recognition is pretty proven today and no doubt could recognize different stamps. Not sure how well it would deal though with same designs in different colors. I know that Ron Cipolla did some work on this using Google's Picasa photo organizing application.

Analyzing a cover is much more then image recognition. There would be some images (handstamps, addresses, stamps etc) to first identify. Just like we do now. What is described in the posts is an expert system. The challenge is not really about programming it is about capturing and organizing the knowledge from experts. American Express for decades has used this approach to determine if they should accept a charge (vs. having fixed credit limits). Once you have the knowledge base (rules) programming part is easy and was easy 40 years ago. The value is harder to assess.

I think of Dick Winter's extraordinary books an example of a knowledge base that works well with the human brain to help solve this problem. Making it an application seems to add minimal value and suck all the fun out of the process. As I remember Dick's volume 1 starts with a outline of how to approach analyzing a cover ... this is an expert system.

We could have the same discussion about plating but again why would we want to kill the fun.

Posted Oct 7, 15 10:59 by Kimberlee Fuller (kimberlee)

Greater Richmond Stamp Club - October 2015 Guest Speaker - David Zlowe

First off, many thanks to Steven Zwillinger for taking the time to come and speak at the GRSC back in June. Our members thoroughly enjoyed your presentation and we very much look forward to having you back!

This month we are honored to have a special guest speaker, David Zlowe. The subject of his talk is, “The most interesting stamp of the U.S. and why”. As some members of this board may already know, David began collecting widely across the first hundred years since the first U.S. stamp issue, but narrowed his focus to the 1-cent stamps of 1851-1861, and the 1923 definitive flat and rotary press stamps. He disposed of the 1923's some years ago to focus on classic U.S. stamps and uses. David interrupted his research on the 1-cent stamp after 9/11 to work for the federal government, which he does today. Several years ago, he began to compile his research, and that effort resulted in his first, major article in the Chronicle, "Evolution of the Types of the 1-cent 1851 Stamp." It won the Susan M. McDonald Award for the best Chronicle article of 2014. He has submitted a series of articles to the Chronicle on the subject he will be presenting, a remarkable feature of the 1-cent 1857-1861 stamp. It is expected that those articles will appear in 2016. That topic will also be the subject of a Court of Honor exhibit at NY2016.

Our meeting will take place less than a week from now on Tuesday, October 13th at 7:30PM at Trinity Lutheran Church in Henrico, VA.

More info about the GRSC can be found here:

If you are interested in becoming a guest speaker at the oldest stamp club in the state of Virginia, please let me know. I am still working on securing guest speakers for 2016.

If you are interested in buying or selling stamps at our club and member auctions, we have them every other month. November is our next auction.

If anyone was wondering, I'm now living in NYC and working at Spink USA. It's been a whirlwind cross-country relocation and I am very happy to admit that I love my new job; it's my dream job! We just finished finished production for two upcoming November auctions, Sale 152 - Charles W. Adams (Canada) and Sale 153 - The Collector's Series...and I am anxiously in the process of becoming a licensed auctioneer!

Posted Oct 6, 15 22:05 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

Applicaton of AI to philately

Mark -

As interesting as the subject - application of AI to philately - may be, as a small time collector and hobbyist researcher I doubt I'm an interesting revenue stream for the developer of subject.  I'm willing to take a crack at elementary particle physics for $29.95 taught by Cal Tech's Sean Carrol because a well-known developer of college and graduate level courses has spent decades creating a large group of disciples who have tested their promise of a lifetime guarantee to return your money if you return their media.  Even at that price they stay in business, so you can guess a bunch of us think they can do almost no wrong.  AI for philately may some day get to that point, but I'm with John Barwis: the collection is not the point, it's the journey that matters.

But I enjoy the conversation, so don't give up!  Maybe we move it off-board?


Posted Oct 6, 15 21:28 by Rick Mingee (ramingee)

And A Stage Cover

May something-something (illegible) 1860, San Fran to Philly.

Overland Mail via Los Angeles logo. 


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