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Posted Aug 19, 14 23:16 by richard babcock (babcock)

Transit cancel

Another Transit cancel i dug up.


Note: I found a Stanley Ashbrook letter in my covers. Please email me if interested in reading it.


Posted Aug 19, 14 23:15 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

New 2014 Revised Edition of Winter's North Atlantic Mail Sailings 1840 - 75

Late this afternoon, on the United States Philatelic Clssics Society website, the new 2014 Revised Edition of Dick Winter's classic book North Atlantic Mail Sailings 1840 - 75 became available to the public as a download free of cost.

The book contains almost 30 years of additional research and discoveries made since the printed version was released in 1988.  Some general information follows:

New Revised Edition – North Atlantic Mail Sailings 1840-75

     Originally released in print in 1988, Dick Winter’s North Atlantic Mail Sailings 1840-75 has become the inseparable handbook for all those who research and collect mails transiting the North       Atlantic in the period. It is only fitting that Dick’s work becomes the first philatelic book to have its original printed edition revised and issued only in electronic form. 

The downloadable electronic version of North Atlantic Mail Sailings 1840-75 is in Adobe PDF format and can be read by not only Adobe Reader, but many of the other reading software on the iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc. Each change in the original text is so noted in a highlighted yellow. Using Adobe Reader by placing the cursor over the highlighted yellow text and a dropdown will automatically appear with the revised text. In some readers the dropdown is not automatic so simply clicking on the highlighted yellow text will also will reveal the new revised text.

This new and revised edition is made possible by the generosity of Dick Winter and is keeping with the strategic direction of the USPCS to continue to provide the finest web portal relating to classic US philately at no cost to the general public.

A special thanks to Dwayne Littauter and his administrative staff for inputting all of Dick's changes.  Also a thanks to Bill Crowe who has been intimately involved with the technical details not only of this book but also the other 20+ volumes also available free of charge on the website.

Posted Aug 19, 14 14:04 by paul bourke (paulb3)


The cross dresser is where the cross boarder keeps his clothes.

Posted Aug 19, 14 9:26 by John Barwis (jbarwis)



Is a cross boarder one who is angry all the time, or one who is a cross-dresser?

Posted Aug 19, 14 0:15 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)


Here is a scan of the contents of the advertisement stating current fur prices at the time in 1919.


Posted Aug 19, 14 0:13 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Three Cent Offse Re-scan

There was a request for another scan showing more a more enlarged picture. Hope this works.


Posted Aug 18, 14 20:10 by richard babcock (babcock)


I'm in on the cover i emailed you about.Not this cross boarder one.


Posted Aug 18, 14 18:31 by Alexander Haimann (bastamps)

2014 Tiffany Dinner Charity Auction!

Hello All,

This Thursday at the Tiffany Dinner in Hartford, CT - the Third Annual Tiffany Dinner Charity Auction will take place. Last year, we have raised over $10,000 benefiting several different areas of the American Philatelic Society. This year Scott Trepel of Siegel Auctions fame will be our auctioneer.

Please take a look at the 2014 Tiffany Auction Catalog here.

Unable To Attend The Tiffany Dinner Charity Auction In Person? No Problem - Use A Charity Auction Agent!

I will be covering the sale as a Charity Auction Agent for anyone not able to bid in person. There is only one difference between my agent services and typical auction agent services - instead of a % agent fee charged by the agent on top of the winning bid, I will donate a 5% match on any client's winning bid. For example, if you give me bids for several lots in the auction and win one for $500, I will donate an additional $25 to the APS. To arrange charity agent bidding, please contact me at [email protected]

Please help us beat last year's $$$ raised for the APS! I look forward to seeing many Philamercury Board members at the dinner and at StampShow.

Special thanks to Gordon Eubanks, Jim Lee, Rich Drews, Wade Saadi, Robert Boyd, Vincent Cosenza, Janet Klug, Steven Rod & Scott Trepel for donating the lots for this special auction.


Posted Aug 18, 14 15:09 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Registered Mail in 2002


It looks like it started at $7.50, with a return receipt costing extra.


Posted Aug 18, 14 14:35 by Martin Richardson (martinr)

Modern Registry Rates For USPS

My copy of Beecher is old! Anyone know what the registered first class rate was for 2002?


Posted Aug 18, 14 12:37 by David Snow (dwsnow)

White's color book

Here is last page of text for 24c issue of 1861.

The next section is for the 24c issue of 1862 (#78), and includes more #70a (including toned example) plus images of chemically altered examples.


Posted Aug 18, 14 12:36 by David Snow (dwsnow)

White's color book

Here is text from the 24c issue of 1861. One more page to follow.


Posted Aug 18, 14 12:34 by David Snow (dwsnow)

White's color book for sale

I have an extra copy of “Encyclopedia of the Colors of United States Postage Stamps” Vol. I to IV, by R.H. White, Philatelic Research Ltd., 1981. 

Covers 1847-1918 issues, plus the 3c Victory issue of 1919 (#537) and the 6c Airmail issue of 1938 (#C23).
In two custom, maroon, gold embossed five-ring binders with matching slipcases, excellent condition. An invaluable reference work.

Competitively priced at $460, plus cost of media mail (book rate) postage.

You can contact me at [email protected]

As a sampler, here is plate from Vol I: the 24c issue of 1861. Next posts will show text.


Posted Aug 18, 14 9:57 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Offset Schermack

Here is one of my favorite 3 cent offset schermacks.


Posted Aug 18, 14 5:57 by Kevin Preece (ycymro)

1812 - Austrian Army in Russia

If anyone can help with the addressee and destination of this letter from Horodno (today in western Ukraine), I'd be most grateful.

The letter-writer is FML Bianchi, a senior officer in the Austrian Army. FML is Field-Marshal-Lieutenant, an Austrian rank equivalent to Lieutenant-General in other armies.

The seal reads "KK [....] QUARTIER MAISTERS STAABS SIGILL", which I think means "Imperial & Royal [....] Staff Quartermasters seal.


Posted Aug 17, 14 20:35 by David Snow (dwsnow)

200 years ago today

Here is an excerpt from the book by Steve Vogel, page 64, giving a day-to-day account of the British invasion of the U.S. in August 1814, commanded by the ruthless British Admiral George Cockburn.


Posted Aug 17, 14 20:30 by David Snow (dwsnow)

200 years ago

Here is a folded letter that was 200 years old this past Friday; posted in Annapolis, MD, a few days before the British invasion of Maryland that led to the Battle of Bladensburg, an American defeat. Followed by the capture and burning of the White House and the Capitol, and most of Washington's landmarks, on August 24, 1814.

in PhilaMercury cover ID 22376.

Recommended for summer reading: "Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks that Saved the Nation" by Steve Vogel, Random House, New York, 2013. Gives an excellent account of these events as the U.S. teetered on the brink of disaster.


Posted Aug 17, 14 16:29 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Navy Patrol Squadron VP-18

At the time that cover was sent, VP-18 was still in training at Key West. It was deployed to the Pacific in May 1944, later became a bomber patrol squadron VPB-18, saw combat flying from Saipan. In September-October 1945, shuttled passengers and mail to and from Tokyo.

Posted Aug 17, 14 14:31 by richard babcock (babcock)

Fleet Post Office

A letter inside asking for German lessons. Here is the Fleet Post Office in New York 1944 link.


Posted Aug 17, 14 14:29 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Offset Type collection

Nice to hear that Tatham sold these (was that Bill T or his forbears?), but that was 40 or more years ago. Not much help to present-day collectors.

Scott catalogue value total for Mint Hinged #525-30 is $126, perfect for putting together a nice profitable F-VF unit.

Pretty sweet Alaska cover.

This reminds me that I didn't get to meet either RD or DS at this year's March Party, though we were all in attendance. My loss.

Posted Aug 17, 14 14:22 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Acidic paper

As an example of the acidic paper of that group on cut-down pieces, here is the back of one piece postmarked Clover, Utah Jun 6, 1919.

Poor paper quality is similar to some of the World War I censored covers in my collection; yellowed and crumbly like old newspapers.


Posted Aug 17, 14 14:14 by David Snow (dwsnow)

One that escaped the scissors

Here is another 3c offset on cover from that same correspondence that fortunately escaped being cut down like the others.

PhilaMercury cover ID 20780.


Posted Aug 17, 14 14:07 by David Snow (dwsnow)

3c offsets

Here is a group of 3c offsets on cut-down pieces from one correspondence, postmarked May to June 1919. Shows the variety of shades of violet and purple of this stamp.

The envelope paper quality of this group (buff color) is terrible due to the high acidic content.


Posted Aug 17, 14 13:53 by Richard Drews (bear427)


Tatham Stamp Company sold basic type sets for years. Perforated used examples are plentiful and cheap.


Posted Aug 17, 14 13:16 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Characteristic Color

Some heads-up identifying there, Ken. Who says one can't expertise from a scan?

3c Offsets can also found in shades less grayish than the example posted, including a rich deep purple.

Offset printings of the Washington-Franklins came up in conversation this past week, when I was shown an example of Scott #530c, 3c Offset with Triple Impression which, I'm told, is a big rarity.

Although Washington-Franklins is/are not my area, I had a basic grounding in them many decades ago. I recall walking along the beach in Santa Monica reading Johl, and was intrigued by his attention to which common stamps could be used for faking rarities such as Scott #519.

I think US philately has been ill-served by the lack of effort on the part of show dealers and stamp stores to put together and sell Basic Type collections of the Offsets. Historically, due to the circumstances responsible for creation of the Offsets, they rank among the most important US stamps.

Posted Aug 17, 14 5:01 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Characteristic color of 3¢ George Washington offset prints. One reason for switching to offset was because the war had blocked access to purple ink components from Germany previously used to print the engraved stamps, and the local substitute corroded steel plates.

Posted Aug 16, 14 19:52 by richard babcock (babcock)

strange colour

Deep purple almost grey.


Posted Aug 15, 14 16:30 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Pattee cover

Ah, but it is philatelic, or rather, postal  -- the PO has, improperly one might say, but effectively, privatized the cancellation function -- fulfilling the demand of the PL&R.
A few years back I bought, at Siegel's, a wonderful cover PO free cover that was hand illustrated by the PO (or someone associated with the DPM or clerk), and showing, in a charming way, the pick up of the mail by the mail carrier. 

Posted Aug 14, 14 19:09 by Thomas Mazza (tom mazza)

Isn't that the social history that the Australians tried to get accepted as a separate exhibiting class? We decided to go the way of the display class, FIP has created an uncomfortable subsection of postal history. I think the Australians had it right.


Posted Aug 14, 14 16:41 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)


You bring up an important point about what makes a cover philatelic. I see the illustrated covers as important reminders of how the mail was used in the context of the communications systems of the 1850's. Not only do the illustrations add to the texture of the cover but also to the historic record of the time. Take for example the three covers below around the presidential campaign of 1856. Some very different views of Fremont.

As I remember one of Hubert's covers was a Valentine with imperforate stamps. Perhaps Valentine's day is not philatelic but I think of it as the 'postal holiday'.

Regardless of the fact that the Pattee illustrations may not be philatelic and there was no real need for the 1 cent stamp, I love these covers for their beauty and historic significance. It is the social context of the mail during this period that is so important. The lower postal rates of 1845 and 1851 and the move toward mandatory prepayment ushered in the postal age making the post office the center of communications for over 100 years. This transformed society and was one of the enablers of the industrial growth of US and the world.

It would be nice to see other illustrated covers and hear other opinions.

regards, Gordon


Posted Aug 14, 14 15:08 by David Snow (dwsnow)

carmine color shades

Here are two more reference examples of the 2c color shades of the 1903 Hartford issue of postal entires.

Top one is a brick red shade, bottom is red (#U385b). The pink shade (#U385a) is the toughest to find, in my experience. Anyway, studying the color shades is fun.


Posted Aug 14, 14 14:58 by David Snow (dwsnow)

machine cancels & color shades

Matthew Liebson,

Thank you for the information on machine cancels. The top cover (Spokane, Wash.) in this group has a faint "R" at the bottom the wavy lines, theoretically for "Received", but as you state doesn't apply and has no significance in this application.

One more thing; I am showing this group to demonstrate the three listed color shades for this 2c carmine Hartford issue postal entires. Top is pink (#U385a), middle is the usual carmine (#U385), and bottom is red (#U385b).

Although monitor color resolution varies from computer to computer, having all three color shades alongside of each other helps as a reference.


Posted Aug 14, 14 14:13 by Mark Rogers (markrogers)

The Pattee covers are very nice. At times like these, I always hear Hubert Skinner's voice telling me 'thats non-philatelic'. That was one of his catch-phrases. He would always drill me with that, when I had a cover with a nice packet name-of-boat marking or the like. It was actually a very good thing to remember, as it always helped keep me disciplined on appreciating who actually put what marking on a cover, and whether they related to transport of the mail or, were either advertising or for show.

Posted Aug 14, 14 11:35 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

I believe this is a picture of the missing lot 22. Last seen on display at an auction house the day before the auction.

The matching cover to this can be seen on the cover of Siegel sale 998

Scott's post may not be clear but it was NOT withdrawn by Siegel rather another firm in NY.


Posted Aug 14, 14 9:11 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Works of Art on Cover

The greatest U.S. classic covers with hand-drawn illustrations are the Pattee covers, several of which were in the Matthies collection.

One was recently offered in an auction, but withdrawn before the sale. Lot 22. I have a coffee mug on my desk with a picture of it to remind me that withdrawing a much-wanted lot before an auction is a really bad idea.

Posted Aug 14, 14 8:30 by Matthew Liebson (liebson)

David:   large cities in the era used multiple machines; those are machine numbers.  The letters, in theory, were supposed to represent how the mail was collected or why the cancel was being applied (c=collection, d=deposit, r=received, t=transit); I don't have the literature in front of me and Mike Ellingson will correct me if I'm off.  In practice, the letters were rarely used carefully and generally don't have a specific meaning.

Posted Aug 14, 14 7:33 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Boston machine cancels

Roger: Thank you for posting the photo of the Port Townsend post office. I remember climbing up those steps too, and the great view, from the high point of town, of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, separating Washington from Vancouver Island, Canada.

On a different subject, here is a group of Boston machine cancels 1903-04. All from the same sender, and all to same destination. Yet there are different numbers (2, 4, 3) in the wavy line cancels, plus different letters (C or D). I assume they were all posted at the same branch post office.

Is there any significance to these numbers and letters in the cancel? I speculate that possibly each cancelling machine had its own set of numbers and/or letters identifying it. And I assume that branch PO in Boston was very busy and perhaps had several cancelling machines in operation. Thank you in advance.


Posted Aug 14, 14 2:13 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

Port Townsend Post Office

Thought I'd add a photo of my local post office where I walk up those steps to get to the counter.

"The Port Townsend Federal Building – originally home to the Port Office and Customs House, is the oldest federally constructed post office in Washington state, and the only example of Richardson Romanesque design in a federal building in Washington. Still in use today, the building was constructed in 1893. "

The drive to Discovery Bay is about 15 minutes along route 20.


Posted Aug 13, 14 23:09 by Harry Brown (harry01562)

Works of Art on cover

I think the best known group of covers with sketches/water colors + enclosures with additional art were probably by Fredrick Remington, the cowboy/western artist. He is also known for his fantastic bronzes.

He illustrated many of the covers he sent to friends and relatives, and many were published in his book Pony Tracks, all in full color. There is also a later work with many other covers and enclosures, also in color. I own both of them, and it peaked my interest many years ago. Pony Tracks, as I recall, was published in 1928, an oversized volume.

I saw examples of all of his art forms while visiting the Cody Museum on a western trip a few years ago.


Posted Aug 13, 14 18:37 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Port Townsend

Here is another Port Townsend cover in my collection - 1883 drop letter use with "Kicking Mule" cancel. In PhilaMercury cover ID 22363.

My understanding is that a small number of western post offices used this "Kicking Mule" cancel. I have also seen, on rare occasion, off-cover 3c rose War Dept. Official stamps, 1873 issue, with this same fancy cancel. I will have to dig through my literature to find an article written about this popular cancel and offices that used it.


Posted Aug 13, 14 18:12 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Burdin's Express

Ken: Thanks for posting your great cover - the only one I have ever seen from that little known Express. 3c Reay issue postal entire also dates it from that time period. 

Here is meager information on Burdin's Express in "Franks of Western Expresses" by M.C. Nathan.


Posted Aug 13, 14 17:12 by Ken Stach (kenstach)

Port Townsend

My only cover related to Port Townsend...from the rare Burdin's Express, which only operated for a few months in 1871.


Posted Aug 13, 14 16:55 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)


Richard -- Your cover went from Chilton, Wis. (about 120 miles N of Chicago) to Cardington, Ohio (about 50 miles N of Columbus), apparently carried loose to be distributed/routed at Chicago (changing trains, thus the logical place to be distributed).

My book can be obtained from James E. Lee (who also published it), Leonard Hartmann, the APS store, Amazon-listed resellers and others.

Posted Aug 13, 14 16:32 by richard babcock (babcock)


Thank you Were could i buy your book. Here is the front of the Transit cover.


Posted Aug 13, 14 15:20 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Island County, Washington

Dave Savadge: Thanks for deciphering the county name in the docketing of my cover. I have updated my description in PhilaMercury. 

Turns out that Island County, composed entirely of islands, is right across the water from Port Townsend, heading east, as this map shows.


Posted Aug 13, 14 15:05 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

art covers

Two more Edwards minatures.


Posted Aug 13, 14 14:50 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Postal artwork

I have always enjoyed the intricate art that people have added to cards and envelopes.  The Edwards brothers of England created a series of hand painted water colors on covers in the late 1890's and early 1900's that are beautiful miniature works of art in their own respect.  They would send these to members of their family on birthdays and other special occasions.  The address is incorporated into the design.
I save scans of these when ever I find them in auction catalogs.


Added for Dave Snow: Island County  I have a cousin that lives there.


Posted Aug 13, 14 14:49 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Port Townsend

Since we had a discussion of Port Townsend, WA on August 6th, with photos posted, I thought I would post this Washington Territory cover in my collection, postmarked from Port Townsend in 1865.

In PhilaMercury cover ID 22361.

If anyone would be able to decipher the name of the county in W.T. in the docketing at the top of this cover, that would be very helpful.


Posted Aug 13, 14 13:53 by Harry Brown (harry01562)

Hand illustrated Postal Cards

I enjoy these, regardless of the time period of use. I just added 3 of them, 2 first design cards and a UX5, all to the same addressee. Interesting to note that 2 of the cards prominently feature pears in the sketches. No idea what the drawings mean, that was probably the idea, at least in part.

Check the covers, 22358 and following, fun stuff.

Anyone else appreciate the hand illustrated cover/card?