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Posted Jan 27, 15 19:04 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


You should study PMG reports to see when the PMG complained to Congress about cost and burden the POD endured by accepting and transporting mail that addresses declined to pay for. It stands to reason that they would have been more inclined to pay for letters than for junk mail.

Posted Jan 27, 15 12:45 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)


I'm trying to find articles in the Chron or elsewhere that contain either source material or speculation about the 1847 law requiring prepayment of the 3c circular rate.  To me, this was a precusor of the 1851 and then 1855 laws on prepayment.  Was this "test marketing" or softening up the customers for something planned by POD?

Posted Jan 27, 15 9:09 by Roger Rhoads (roger rhoads)

March Party Exhibitors

Just got a first look at the exhibitors at our March 19-21 show, and wow! Doug and Nancy Clark, Mark Schwartz, Guy Dillaway and wife, John Hotchner ( I think first time here as an exhibitor other than judge), Paul Larsen, Larry Gardner, Kathy Johnson, Tom Lera and Greg Shoults (of course). Want to come up against the best? There is still a little room if you want to be with us. Also FDofI for the four Water Lilies ceremony at 11:00 on Friday, March 20. Jay Bigalke will be the MC, and Cindy Dyer who photographed the lilies will be with us. See

Posted Jan 26, 15 13:25 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Wishing all of you in the Northeast to stay safe as the storm moves through. Great time to catch up on stamp stuff! And send some of the moisture to California where we would love to see a big storm.

Posted Jan 25, 15 16:52 by Richard Drews (bear427)


We all owe a huge thank you to Les Lanphear. He not only took wonderful care of the judges but also was in charge of the exhibits and some other aspects of the show. 69% of the exhibits received a gold medal. The other medals were split about 2 - 1 vermeil and silver. There were so many excellent exhibits that we ran out of special awards to give before we ran out of exhibits that deserved additional recognition.


Posted Jan 25, 15 16:20 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

First Transcontinental Telephone Call - 100 Years Ago Today

AT&T built the coast-to-coast telephone system, which included 130,000 telephone poles and 2,500 tons of copper wire that spanned 3,400 miles.

Amazingly that first telephone call in 1915 was between Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson as part of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition that year.

Wouldn't they both be somewhat surprised today!!

Posted Jan 25, 15 15:48 by Steve Pacetti (stevep)

Sandical Awards

Congratulations to Jim Allen and Matt Kewriga on their top awards! See, this is what happens when you're a member of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society:-)

Posted Jan 25, 15 13:54 by Kimberlee Fuller (kimberlee)


Don Brent's multi-frame Denmark's Wavy Line Design, The Surface Printed Issues. I really liked this one!


Posted Jan 25, 15 13:53 by Kimberlee Fuller (kimberlee)


Matt Kewriga and his single frame US & Brazil Steamship Line 1865-1875 exhibit.


Posted Jan 25, 15 13:52 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)


My congratulations as well to Jim and to Matt. Great job, guys.

Posted Jan 25, 15 13:50 by Kimberlee Fuller (kimberlee)


The first frame of Jim Allen's 12c 1851-1861 exhibit.


Posted Jan 25, 15 13:49 by Kimberlee Fuller (kimberlee)


For any of you on FB, Jay Bigalke posted some of the photos I took on the APS FB page here:

Here's Jim Allen accepting his award from Les Lanphear...incidentally, the pottery broke in the back seat of Les' car en route to the awards banquet.


Posted Jan 25, 15 13:28 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)


Congratulations to the winners at Sandical. Jim Allen multi frame grand, Matt Kewriga reserve grand and Matt Kewriga single frame grand.

Jim has expanded his exhibit of 12 cent 1851-1861 8 frames adding 3 frames of perforated. I consider his exhibit the best available reference on the 12 cent '51 stamp.

Matts 2 cent Jackson bank note 8 frame was the reserve grand. His single frame the first US and Brazil Steamship line.

I hope that someone can give more color - I am reporting this second hand.

Posted Jan 25, 15 13:15 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Content of Harpers Ferry letter


" he lives in Smithfield and watches the Corners (?) closer. In fact ..."

"If you think John will switch (?) write to him."

Posted Jan 25, 15 12:19 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas)


Here is the cover and the transcription. I am missing a couple of words, so if anybody can fill in the missing blanks I would be very grateful.


Posted Jan 25, 15 12:11 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas)


From a cover mailed from Harpers Ferry VA in 1857. Campbell ended up winning the election and was the sheriff of Harpers Ferry during the John Brown affair. See next post for the cover and my transcription of the letter.


Posted Jan 24, 15 22:14 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)


Richard Babcock - If you were to look up the address on GoogleMaps and use the street view function you would probably look at the shopping center and notice that it looks fairly modern... as in it probably was not a shopping center in 1953. It's really not uncommon to have land uses or buildings change over time. I have an 1859 cover that has a Philadelphia address that puts it directly under my office. I know the building is not there anymore as my building was built in the early 20th century. So, I think your addressee's abode is underneath a Staples or its equivalent.

The cover to what was originally underneath The Curtis Center is attached.

Andrew Reid


Posted Jan 24, 15 17:37 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)


From Kent County, November 6, 1775 to John Mitchell, Philadelphia

"We are in a miserable defenseless state here, in regard to not having Gun & Powder, We not only have the Force of Britain to dread but have the most alarming accounts from one of the lower counties of several companies raising for the King...I would be extremely glad if you could promise me one or two casks of powder,...if a cask can be had please to put it in a larger cask with coffee on the top of some of the Officers of the Crown might meet with it on the way...Jonathan Worth"

This is an average, OK early Constitutional Post letter made better by it's contents. Early Starbucks.



Posted Jan 24, 15 16:59 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Contents of Hawaii cover

Honolulu H.I. May 15th 1859
My Dear Sister
Though I have not heard from you for a year, now that the hand of God is upon me I must inform you of the event. My wife has been called away and I am left desolate. 
I wrote you some month since of her recovery and return to me, but it proved only for a short season. She was sick this last time 7 weeks during which time she enjoyed the full passion of her reason and died calmly on the 6th inst in full hope of a blessed immortality.
 Stunned by this blow I have not yet decided what I shall do in the future. I have four little children the oldest 9 years last December and the youngest 1 year last Dec. I hope to be able to keep them together and shall try to do so, but feel that they will lack a mother’s care and council. Frances was a most devoted and exemplary wife and mother and will be much missed in this community as well as in this household. 
In her last moments she calmly gave directions and made requests for the future and safely trusted all in the merits of Christ. Oh that my last end be as peaceful as hers! Isabella is now at an age where she most needs a mother’s council and care and for her I am deeply solicitous. 
The boys I can do well with for a season and the baby is too young to know its loss. But my trust in is God believing that he will guide and direct me if I ask him and to where else can I apply. 
Too deeply affected to write at length and hoping that you are all well.
I remain your affectionate brother.
R.A.S. Wood

Posted Jan 24, 15 16:58 by Ray McIntire (ray.mac)


New poster please be gentle!

Found a 3c 1861 from Pittsburg a couple of years ago, looking for shades of the 3c 1861 and it didn't have a year date.  Completely missed the fact that there was a newspaper article inside.  Article was about the Privateer ship "The Florida" and Captain Maffit trying to outfit the ship in Havana.  Knowing nothing about either, I found googling that The Florida was the #1 Privateer ship for the South in the War, and lots of stuff about John Newland Maffit--  with the most interesting thing being that he was the real-life inspiration for a character we've all known lifelong, Rhett Butler. 

I found a site managed by his great-great grandson in Wilmington, NC, and contacted him about the article, and he told me that his grandfather had women who loved him in every port, and that Margaret Mitchell's book (finished after her death with permission from her estate) "Rhett Butler's People" was basically a biographical story on John Newland Maffit.

Thought it was pretty cool for a non-descript 1862 3c cover from Pittsburgh.....hope y'all enjoyed hearing this...
Ray McIntire


Posted Jan 24, 15 16:58 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Contents of a cover

From my friend's collection of death related covers, this Honolulu origin contains a letter describing the hardships felt by a father after his wife died.  I posted the cover here on the message board a ways back, and received much helpful information.  Letter and transcription to follow


Posted Jan 24, 15 14:15 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

More Contents: Barque Fatima en Route to South Australia handed off to inbound Ship en route to England

This March 1850 cover contains a lengthy letter written by Sir Rowland Hill's brother-in-law and his sister, plus five children, who are emigrating to South Australia on board the Barque Fatima. The letter is addressed to Sir Rowland Hill at the GPO in London and contains great detail about the voyage to date. Somewhere near the Canary Islands, the Fatima sights a vessel heading the opposite direction and sends a boat over with the mail (the vessel is actually inbound to Gravesend from Calcutta and apparently is disappointed that the Fatima is not India bound). The letter is then carried back and marked as an India Letter (unpaid) and delivered to Sir Rowland. The letter bears a pencil note which I attach here that directs family members to pass it around and return it to him when done. An interesting personal piece of Rowland Hill rather than the many that are strictly related to Post Office business.


Posted Jan 24, 15 14:04 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

More Contents (1849 Panama to Scotland)

I acquired this October 24, 1849 FLS from Panama to Leith, Scotland (via the West Indies Packet) that I thought was more interesting due to the contents referencing "packet days". The sender appears to be Wm Nelson, the agent of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company and (until around the time of sending) also the US Consul there. I think the content might be of help to some of our Gold Rush specialists due to the references... The mails left Panama on October 26 and arrived in Great Britain on December 4 in this case.


Posted Jan 24, 15 10:49 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

Very Useful Article Relating Values from the 1700s to Todays Values

This article covers a litnay of different topics; wages, food stuff, travel across the Atlantic, etc.  Probably very useful for those of us that exhibit and everyone that writes up their material.

“Price indices miss the point. There’s no dollar income today that would put you in a comparable position to 250 years ago,” said Michener, who has researched the colonial New England economy. “It was a different world. I’m skeptical about the analogy between specific dollars today and money then.”


The differences that Michener notes range widely, covering technology, attitudes, and the abundance of natural resources. If you were down and out in colonial New England, you could eat lobster, which was plentiful. The poor today cannot survive on lobster, he said. If you got a minor cut and it became infected, it could kill you. But, today, we have penicillin.


During the 1980s, historian James B. M. Schick undertook a creative exercise in colonial American history to try to bridge the economic gulf Michener believes divides the past and present. Schick’s experiment in “how much” highlights the dramatic differences.

Posted Jan 24, 15 10:33 by Rick Mingee (ramingee)

Contents - A 49er on the way to San Francisco

Here is the letter. An August 1, 1849 San Francisco straightline (the last usage date of this marking). Ex Hugh Feldman.


Posted Jan 24, 15 10:31 by Rick Mingee (ramingee)

Contents - A 49er on the way to San Francisco

The letter has a log of the ship longitude and latitude and is written as a form of journal. It is from Valparaiso to San Francisco in 1849. I fetched all the data out of the letter and plugged it into Google maps and it plotted the voyage. Pretty cool! I love Google maps.

Anyway, here is the map product based on the data in the letter.


Posted Jan 24, 15 10:01 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

Travel Recording Video Security Camera For Your Phone

I ran across this security phone app and feel that any philatelist that travels with material, especially exhibits, needs to review this article.  The phone app is really beneficial!!

The app  works on an "extra phone" BUT it also works on the current phone one carries everyday!!!

Demo Video

I will use this anytime I separate from my material when traveling.

Posted Jan 23, 15 22:19 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Contents - 1938

The attached letter has to be one of the sadder and more ironic things that I have found in a cover, ever. It is a letter from 10 Downing Street from Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's Private Secretary thanking the addressee for their thoughtful gift of a vase from their home in the Sudetenland. The latter is dated the week of the infamous Munich Agreement (Peace in our time). Given the events that followed, it is quite poignant. It was inside a cover from Downing Street to the addressee.


Posted Jan 23, 15 22:09 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)


From an 1860 cover from Ballyclare, Ireland to West Troy, NY. "The Departed"?


Posted Jan 23, 15 22:06 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)


From an early 1808 cover from Great Britain to Kittery (then Mass) with a full ledger accounting for the capture of the ship "Two Brothers" under a Captain Paul. I have never been able to find any information on this...


Posted Jan 23, 15 17:11 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Bottle Letter (cont.)

Catalog description from my Net Price sale #1


Posted Jan 23, 15 17:06 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Bottle Letter

A letter from the Gelston correspondence (maybe 30,000 pieces all togther, most donated to Mystic Seaport Museum) found in a barn in Long Island. I went through maybe 25 year dated groups of letters (each year between boards with the year burned into covering shingle). I could not believe what I was seeing ... had to start a War of 1812 collection after the find.

Item is now owned by a board participant. Congrats!


Posted Jan 23, 15 16:12 by richard babcock (babcock)

outer contents

found last night in my collection U.S.cover from Cfo Memorial hospital Virgina 1939.


Posted Jan 23, 15 15:38 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)


modern item


Posted Jan 23, 15 14:55 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


1) letter written quaker style from a woman c1850s -- she gets more an more worked up until she recommends that the recipient go straight to hell. 2)Early on in my Salem collecting, I found a PM free franked letter c1844 in a five dollar bin that was the PM telling an early Salem historian (in Boston, I believe) all he could find out about the history of the Salem PO. Although the PO went back to about 1700, he lost the trail in the 1780s as I recall. 3)Somewhere I have a long letter from the first non Royal PM of Portsmouth NH recounting his history with the PO. I have never even read it. And then there is the enclose from the Moyle.

Posted Jan 23, 15 12:20 by Bill Longley (longley)

The best item of content was an 1800 letter from Nova Scotia to England that contained a piece of native art - bitten birch bark to make the design of a warrior holding a spear. The letter even mentioned it being enclosed. 200 year old document art!

The most recent (last night) was a WWI letter from a Canadian serving in France that enclosed a few flower seeds. My daughter is going to research the seeds, try to grow them and if they flower, write an article for our local paper as a WWI anniversary story.

The there was the time I bought a box of junk Canadian FDCs from the 1960s and inside each cover was a mint single and block as well as a $1, $2, or $5 bill from the 1960s. In every envelope. The best FDC box lot I ever got.

Posted Jan 23, 15 11:53 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)


This sounds like a great opportunity for people to share the most interesting or unusual contents that they have found inside a cover (whether written or an object). I feel certain that the condom cover will make a guest appearance, but I'm sure there are some great stories out there.

Posted Jan 23, 15 1:12 by John Shepherd (tas philatelist)

You never know what you may find inside an old cover ...

An elderly man who's wanted kids his whole life just learned that he's had one—for 61 years. Tony Trapani and his wife tried for years to have their own children, and when he was cleaning out her filing cabinets after her recent death, he discovered a bombshell of a letter from another woman mailed in 1959: 

"I have a little boy. He is five years old now. What I'm trying to say Tony is he is your son," the woman wrote. 

Now Trapani, who's 81 and lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., has met his 61-year-old son, Samuel Childress, who grew up in Pennsylvania assuming his father didn't want to know him, reports the New York Daily News.

"He's my full son that I've had my whole life, but why my wife hid that letter is beyond me," Trapani tells Fox 17. "I don't know. She wanted children. She couldn't have any. She tried and tried." Chimes in Childress, "Just to know him now is so important to me—it's going to fill that void." They do, however, plan to perform a paternity test to be sure that the big news is more than just a good story.


Posted Jan 22, 15 16:37 by Steve Walske (steve w)



From what period? The Civil War ones are cataloged in "Special Mail Routes" by Walske/Trepel.

Posted Jan 22, 15 16:32 by paul bourke (paulb3)

Adams Express

Can anyone direct me to a catalog of Adams Express Company markings?



Posted Jan 22, 15 13:29 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Julian's 21

I recall seeing one of these at some point also. I will need to review my image library to be certain.

Posted Jan 22, 15 13:23 by Steve Walske (steve w)



Thanks. Should have checked first, but that is a new listing. I had an unfortunate experience with mygrandmasgoodies on an earlier try.

Posted Jan 22, 15 12:57 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Starting at $34.95 on

Posted Jan 22, 15 12:19 by Steve Walske (steve w)

Looking for Tabeart

Does anyone know where I can find a copy of Tabeart's "United Kingdom Letter Rates"?


Posted Jan 22, 15 11:09 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

circular 21


Very interesting.  I will keep my eyes open and re read your work again with more attention to detail.

I think it is very safe to say that the cover you illustrate below went on the Allan Line rather the Inman simply by virtue of the Chicago transit mark.


Posted Jan 21, 15 15:44 by Julian Jones (jonesjh99)

Mysterious circular 21 CENT accountancy mark

I have posted a research request on the USPCS website concerning the circular 21 CENTS mark on the cover shown below. This is one of 9 known covers bearing this mark, six of which were already recorded by Dick Winter before I came up with two last year, and another UK collector then sent us an image of a third. 

The mark is most likely a British mark but it is not recorded in the available impression books. The research request is for scans of any other covers showing this mark, and especially any that contain additional evidence of where the mark could have been applied.

The research request at this link

contains a futher link to an article (pdf) written with inputs from Dick Winter and Colin Tabeart outlining what is known so far. It contains a table listing the known covers. But there is no strong proof of which exchange office might have 'owned' this mark, and where it was applied. The article also shows the more usual non-circular 21 CENTS marks for comparison.

Any further inputs with scans of both sides of the covers would be much appreciated.

Thanks to Dwayne Littauer and Charles Di Como for getting me this far.


Posted Jan 21, 15 15:26 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

War Tax on parcel

Here's a regulation example. 31¢ for 7 pounds to Zone 4 plus 3¢ postal insurance plus the 2¢ war tax for a parcel that required postage greater than 25¢ up to 50¢.


Posted Jan 21, 15 13:35 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Unusual Item For The Day

This unusual piece caught my eye on ebay the other day. The use of a narcotics stamp with coils was one of the unusual things about the use. After a closer look I discovered the bottom strip of the 5 cent coil has a rotary press splice, or paste-up making it even more unusual. The last thing I found unusual about the piece was the bottom strip of the 5 cent coil was separated with an different type of affixing machine.

I took the piece to our local Collectors Club meeting and was able to get a new opinions about the use. One member informed me it was a parcel post use. The 34 cents in postage fits the war rate parcel post use requirements. The narcotics stamp was used by mistake instead of the war tax stamp to pay the 2 cent tax on postage from 26-50 cents, or a penny for every 25 cents.

Any other ideas are welcome, too bad the entire cover or wrapper is not present:)