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Posted Jan 23, 17 22:36 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

R.F. Outcault

Interesting Per Wiki: "Richard Felton Outcault ... was an American cartoonist.... creator of the series The Yellow Kid and Buster Brown..... and is considered a key pioneer of the modern comic strip...."

Posted Jan 23, 17 21:26 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

First Fright

When Wilbur first went to Kitty Hawk in 1900 (later they used Kill Devil Hill(s)) they did verious tests, then he got on board to ride the thing as a kite.  He very quickly got agitated and started calling out "Let me down!  Let me down!"   Interestingly, Orville only gave up flying long after Wilbur's death and because of the pain due to the residua of the terrible crash during the Army tests in 1908.  But at some point, I am guessing around 1908, Wilbur got fed up with flying.  And he had been the brother who first committed to seriously following up on their interest in flying.  Another thing that might have put him off after Orville's crash, which killed one of their competitors, was the death of several of their exhibition team, who insisted on doing prohibited maneuvers.  Orville flew in the C-69, perhaps the most advance transport in the world in the copilots seat a year or two before his death.

Posted Jan 23, 17 21:00 by Gary Loew (garyloew)


JW: re "One senor citygent", it looks like you lost a tilda. I'm perfectly willing to lend you Matilda!

Posted Jan 23, 17 17:55 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)


Nice one Bernard. I love word play. One senor citygent.

John W.

Posted Jan 23, 17 16:47 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Wilson's apologia

I guess you had a cenor momemt.

Posted Jan 23, 17 12:24 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Wright Card

For those who don't know, there really is a Cahoots, New York.
It is the site of the giant warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant  has been stored since the late 1930s.
(Actually, one of the great mysteries of the world is the nature of the ark of the covenant that Is stored -- and taken out, but not uncloaked -- in Ethiopia.   Do we have any special forces types who would like to go on a mission to take the first photo?

Posted Jan 23, 17 12:17 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Outcault's Santa Claus

Richard - The greatest Santa Claus cover I ever saw! It is ex Risvold sale where it brought $5,000 plus the buyer's premium to a telephone buyer. I know one very good editor and philatelist from Chicago who collects "Outcault" related stuff ... hope he bought t.

Thankfully, there is a world of philately beyond the ebay site.

Posted Jan 23, 17 11:23 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

santa claus cover

Wow, sold at Siegel auction for $4500. Several years ago I bought one of these for $16 off ebay and thought I did well re-selling it at $175.


Posted Jan 23, 17 10:48 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Wright Card

It must have been an alternative flight.

Posted Jan 23, 17 7:27 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Three-sided censorship seals

I think there is more to be written about those, but probably requires another trip through the archives. It is probably a story similar to the one about revealing secret writing, which brought about a growing formulary of chemical reagents and multiple brushes to swipe the letters.

Why cut off three sides of an envelope when one will do? (The secret U.S. examiners at Bermuda did not open watch-list envelopes at all. See below from one of my old Linn's columns. Besides the illustrated illumination stick, they also were equipped with long slender two-tine forks that made it possible to roll up the letter, remove it, and return it without breaking seals on letters on which the seals were, in today's retail argot, tamper-evident.)

I found a microfilm copy of declassified U.S. counterintelligence manual that pictured a German microdot in situ, on the underside of the envelope flap of an otherwise inconsequential letter. That, or some similar discovery, might have prompted Imperial Censorship to devise techniques to examine the envelopes closely, possibly including candling them to see if anything was under the seams.


Posted Jan 23, 17 7:21 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Gambia Imperial Censors

Gary, The Bathurst group (5) were posted to Lagos at the end of 1942 and were thus absorbed into the large Lagos operation in which Nigeria had its own censor code (PP). There were no individual censor/examiner numbers and Morenweiser lists no reoccurrence of the Bathurst numbers after 1942.

The Nigerian "tombstone" cachets do have numbers e.g PP/12 or PP/21 and so on, but the numbers indicate location, and not examiners. Any more questions, send them to me direct.

John W.


Posted Jan 23, 17 6:59 by Gary Loew (garyloew)

Gambia Imperial Censors

After the Imperial Censors left Gambia for Lagos, did they continue to use the same censor numbers or were they assigned different numbers? If the former, I don’t recall seeing those numbers in use outside of the Gambia period. Are they out there? If the latter, we know the names of the individuals. Do we know the new numbers they used?

Posted Jan 23, 17 6:49 by Gary Loew (garyloew)

So called Wright flight card

My sincere apologies to Bernard and perhaps others. This card is a complete send up. It comes from the Cahoots NY Historical Society in the mythical town of Cahoots. An absolutely hysterical one frame exhibit of totally fictional "postal history" was created by the curator of this imaginary society. The accompanying presentation, delivered with deadpan seriousness, was one of the most enjoyable examples of philatelic humor I've had the pleasure to witness. I was ready to board a Greyhound bus to Cahoots (the airport had closed many years prior).

Posted Jan 23, 17 5:29 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

I should learn to type

"Cenorship"? Actually I prefer "interception and examination" since "censorship" implies redaction or removal of material. And of course the labels use "Opened by examiner" for British, and "Examined by" for US intercepts.

John W.

Posted Jan 23, 17 5:24 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Cenorship comin' an' goin'

We were serious about reading the mail in 1942. Following on from the interception of mail into Sweden during July 1942, the same process was used in mail travelling the other way. Once you get involved with WW2 airmail it leads you in many directions.

John W.


Posted Jan 23, 17 2:12 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Bahnhof covers

Roger Heath,

Thank you for your recent posting of your very short distance traveled Swiss railroad covers. I will see if I can dig up some Bahnhof (Railway station) Austrian items in my collection.

Such as this 1900 Villach Bahnhof postcard to Wien (Vienna) Nordwest Bahnhof, with appropriate RR post arrival marking and train on picture side. See cover ID 24745.


Posted Jan 23, 17 0:20 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Dec. 14, 1903

Come to think of it, the Dec. 14 cards have it all over the first Dec. 17 start -- shorter distance, higher altitude, and crash cover to boot  rather than merely forced landing out of control.

Posted Jan 22, 17 23:33 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


I guess that makes it a Whopper whopper.

Posted Jan 22, 17 23:27 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Long gone

Steves boule is way cool.  I had an 1860 cover to Mexico which sat there for over twenty years and was finally forwarded to Massachusetts in 1883 with a USPO official seal stamp.  There were a number of hung up covers UK-US in the War of 1812 and one to Canada.

Posted Jan 22, 17 23:04 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Wrong stuff

Incidentally, I wonder what happened to the cards Wilbur carried on the December 14 flight?

Posted Jan 22, 17 22:56 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Early aerial mail -- of a sort

I believe aerial leafleting was done during the Napoleonic wars and earlier by the Chinese.
What I would like is the aerial pass George Washington gave to (I think) Blanchard in 1793.  Presumably does not exist.

Posted Jan 22, 17 22:52 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

So called Wright flight card

    The handwriting on the card does not match examples of Wilbur's hand circa 1901-2.  The signature does not match Wilbur's signature.  The recipient's name is not in the indices of McFarland nor Crouch.  More speculatively, I would have thought Chanute, Katharine or the Bishop or other relatives, Charles Taylor, and George Spratt would have been ahead of this person for such a sending.  For what it is worth, I have never heard of such a thing.
    Actually, the flight was a little over 120 feet, near as they measured it, probably by pacing it off.  Probably only the 5th start of the Whopper was carefully measured, and it is not clear that was a continuous flight.

Posted Jan 22, 17 22:13 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Wright note.

Is that real???   If so, super super amazing item.
Actually, all the the flights were crashes or forced landings -- in one case, two on one start.  Out of control on every flight.  A bit of a myth but a great myth.
Wright Flyer I an anachronistic name.  Normally called the 1903 machine.
Also called the Whopper.
What is the story behind that item;
There are other people more likely to get such a card -- are there more of them?

Posted Jan 22, 17 21:17 by richard babcock (babcock)

First Flight

Oct 11-16- 1937


Posted Jan 22, 17 15:48 by Geoff Dunlop (geof270)

US Weather Bureau Report

When I started in 1978, we would forward hard copies of our weather observations(after radio transmission of same)to a PMO, port meteorological officer, at our return to stateside. If we had a large envelope filled after sailing US(forgot to mail), and the voyage was to be months, we handed envelope to agent at foreign port who delivered it to a US Consolate or Embassy. If not, agency would mail it back to states, charging shipping co the postage. I remember Yokohama was one port where it went to Consol. Nowadays PMO's are located in all major ports, although foreign PMO's work for an that country or International organization.

Posted Jan 22, 17 14:59 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

Lausanne to Yukon January 1902 page 2

page two


Posted Jan 22, 17 14:58 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

Lausanne to Yukon January 1902

I may have posted this cover before but I like it.

Registered letter from Lausanne to Dawson City, forwarded to Hootalinqua on the Yukon River. The interesting aspect of this cover is that is went by horse sleigh 830 miles on the Yukon River, the only winter horses were used on the frozen river. Prior to this winter, dogs sleds were used, and after, a new road had been cut overland shortening the distance significantly. Today I only have these two jpg files of my article, having sold the cover in Switzerland.


Posted Jan 22, 17 13:19 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Auburn Mourning Cover

That's a New York PAID ALL exchange office marking of the type used from about 1877 into the 20th century.

Posted Jan 22, 17 12:43 by Gary Loew (garyloew)

Auburn Mourning Cover

This 1891 mourning cover from London to Auburn has a New York transit cds with an incomplete circled "PAID" adjacent to it. Can anyone tell me whether those two marks are a single canceller or anything about the PAID mark?



Posted Jan 22, 17 10:10 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Shortest distance

Gary, Enjoyed your posting. I suspect many of us know who you are in "Cahoots" with. :-))

Posted Jan 22, 17 9:53 by Gary Loew (garyloew)

Shortest Distance!

Re the discussion on shortest postal routes, I offer a First Flight Cover that surely must hold the record for the shortest completed airmail route. In the November-December issue of Kelleher’s Collectors Connection, I wrote an article entitled “Orville Wright, Commander Geordi La Forge and Captain Nikolai Pulinš”. Allow me to quote from that article:

“[This is] the first appearance in print of a spectacular and unique postal history rarity. I am honored to present to you the first flight cover carried by Orville Wright on the maiden voyage of the aptly yclept aircraft, “Flyer 1”, at Kitty Hawk, NC on December 17, 1903! Recently, there has been some discussion in other journals of the shortest flight documented by a FFC. At a total distance of 120 feet, this is surely the FFC with the shortest complete flight path. Moreover, Wilbur Wright’s message adds immensely to our understanding of early aircraft development! I am deeply indebted to the Cahoots, New York Historical Society for allowing me to share this unique aerophilatelic treasure with all of you. The curator of the CNYHS, humbly (and perhaps with good reason) has requested anonymity.”

Had the pilot of this craft been less careful, this might also have been the shortest crash cover.

I just love postal history!


Posted Jan 22, 17 0:34 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

US Consul Role For US Weather Bureau Report

Here is an interesting 1911 Penalty mail of the Weather Bureau under Dept of Agriculture used from Hong Kong. What is interesting is pre-printed instruction for the weather reporter to turn in the report to the US Consul at the port in question.

It would be good to know when US Consuls at major ports around the world were asked to provide weather information to the weather Bureau?

Thanks in advance.


Posted Jan 21, 17 20:57 by Peter Miselis (peterm)

Another Long Time in Transit cover

While delivery of this cover was less than 100 years, it's not exactly overnight.


Posted Jan 21, 17 17:10 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Lack of Mail Blockade

Andrew - The blockade stopped goods on the Baltic - basically forced all trade thru Prussia and overland. Commercial mail is abundant between France and Revel for example. Mail via Prussia continued from Great Bitain and France to St Petersburg and some even to Odessa but your is the first I have seen to what is now Finland.

Posted Jan 21, 17 17:01 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Crimean War Baltic Blockade

This cover has always made me curious about the blockade in the Baltic and mail service during the Crimean War. Sent from South Shields (near Newcastle) to Jacobstadt, Finland on September 21, 1854. Prepays 11 1/2d rate and endorsed via Ostend (Belgium) and St. Petersburg. Addressed to a Lieutenant Schauman.

Given the state of war, the blockade, the apparent ability to send mail from Britain to Russia (Finland was then a part of Russia, and I believe that Jacobstadt was bombarded during the hostilities) is puzzling. Any explanations? It is not as if this letter was bootlegged or disguised in any fashion, and being directed to an officer (in what entity undetermined) is even more curious.


Posted Jan 21, 17 16:38 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Short Distance and Historical Irony Cover (1938)

October 7, 1938. Letter from Prime-Minister Neville Chamberlain's Private Secretary to a Mrs. van der Hoek, thanking her for the kind gift of a vase from her old home in Sudetenland. The date is significant, the Munich Agreement having been signed a few days before. I can just imagine a package being delivered to 10 Downing Street with a vase and a note - not sure if the irony apparent at the time or if the note is classic understatement.


Posted Jan 21, 17 16:32 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Short Distance and Historical Irony Cover (1938)

Flip the cover over... "10 Downing Street, Whitehall SW1". Hmmm.

Oh, and there is still something in the envelope.


Posted Jan 21, 17 16:30 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Short Distance and Historical Irony Cover (1938)

October 7, 1938 from London SW 1 to Hampstead NW 3. Domestic Three Half-Pence rate. Looks like a pretty routine and common cover that is of no particular note, except to Mrs van der Hoek, the addressee.


Posted Jan 21, 17 12:32 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

British unusual censorship

Several years ago I purchased copies of wartime counterintelligence chief Guy Liddell's diaries from the National Archives at Kew, not knowing whether I was wasting effort. I was rewarded. The cross-index pages, not included in the sanitized published edition, in many cases reveal the subjects of pages that have been redacted. From these I learned, for example, about the secret program that intercepted and examined the contents of diplomatic bags, and with that tipoff I found examples elsewhere in the archives, one of which I published recently in the Civil Censorship Study Group Bulletin. That program was code-named TRIPLEX (XXX, triple-X, more secret even than the XX double-cross operation run by John Masterman). After the war all the TRIPLEX files were destroyed, but because Anthony Blunt had been the person who ran it and summarized the intercepts, spymasters in the Soviet Union read them almost as quickly as Churchill's cabinet did. Copies that survive in the Russian archives have been retranslated into English and published, filling out the picture. More generally, the Liddell diaries shed light on subjects and targets of special interest as they arose, and instructions to the censors that ensued. I began this study to interpret my LATI collection (phonetically spelled Lahti by Liddell's stenographer). With these in hand, one can anticipate dates, origins, and destinations of mail that merited extraordinary scrutiny. 

Posted Jan 21, 17 11:25 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Myrdal cover

John Wilson cut to the heart of my interest. Ordinarily (by agreement) the United States and Great Britain did not duplicate censorship. There were too many letters that needed to be examined to waste effort. Yet after the Office of Censorship at New York passed this letter, Imperial Censorship took a second look. That made the cover special. Famous names on it are a bonus.

Posted Jan 21, 17 11:23 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Cover to Sweden

Just to complete the story on "P" tombstone cachets.


Posted Jan 21, 17 11:11 by Paul Dessau ([email protected])

Fake Adams Express

Thanks Richard-luckily, I paid very little for it and will mark it accordingly :-)

Posted Jan 21, 17 11:00 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

A Cover from Sweden

A Swedish detour ca. Crimean War


Posted Jan 21, 17 10:41 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Cover to Sweden

Also note the "tombstone" censor cachet P-214. This seems to indicate that there was a single UK examiner attending to this job. The "P" cachets were allocated to special use, as in the P-202 and P-203 used in The Gambia from February to July 1942.

Posted Jan 21, 17 10:38 by Rick Mingee (ramingee)

Not the Furthest, not the Longest, but...

Walske wins the how long it took to deliver contest. How about suckiest routing...

There will be worse but I always liked this New York to Connecticut...via San Francisco! Circa 1866 and assuming overland default route, about 7000 miles out other the way give or take.


Posted Jan 21, 17 10:35 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Cover to Sweden

In July 1942 the British intelligence community launched a serious investigation into Sweden's involvement with Nazi Germany. This had a lot to do with (a) Swedish ball bearing industry supplying German industry and (b) Sweden allowing German troops to pass freely through Sweden en route to and from occupied Norway. Mail into Sweden was intercepted and diverted to UK for detailed examination, indicated by the use of "three side" opening of mail and the British re-sealing tape bearing the crown imprint. Here are examples. What is unusual? I guess the identification of UK censorship on airmail into a "neutral" country.


Posted Jan 21, 17 10:31 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Myrdal cover

All true, but I did not consider it unusual for Myrdal to be writing to his university administrator. What else about the cover is noteworthy?

(In this country Gunnar Myrdal's authorship of An American Dilemma was probably his most important contribution, a major influence on the Supreme Court desegregation rulings.)

Posted Jan 21, 17 9:50 by Terence Hines (thines)

Cover to Sweden

The cover is from Gunnar Myrdal who won the 1974 Nobel Prize in Economics. The addressee Eberstein was an expert on copyright law, especially the specialized area of copyright for photographs.

Posted Jan 21, 17 9:19 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

World War II cover

Let me play Greg Shoults's  game. What is unusual about this cover?


Posted Jan 21, 17 7:14 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Fake Adams Express

Paul D - Welcome!

I am afraid that the "Adams Express Company" magenta handstamp marking represents a fantasy marking faked onto an otherwise genuine cover.

Adams California branch went out of business on February 23, 1855.

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