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Posted Dec 17, 17 14:11 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

U.S. Stamped Entires for Leonard Darwin

and from Asa Gray (Cambridge, Mass) in Oct. 1862 to Charles Darwin:

This heavy mail for you is merely for the purpose of carrying a 30 cents stamp for Leonard, so you must distribute the contents to oblige him.1 Do not prepay the continental letters, unless required, as I think is not the case.

Enclosed is a cent stamp, the like of which is new to me, & perhaps to the young gentleman. Tell him, also, that I have to-day bought stamps on envelopes, of 12, 20 & 24 cts. which I shall make do duty—like the present 30 ct in carrying my letters, and then they will go into his collection.— These make up all his desiderata, except the 90cts—which I never saw, but I will invest in this, whenever I have something heavy to send.

Link to "stamps" search in the Darwin papers (here) has numerous interesting hits.

One particularly interesting letter from J.D. Hooker regards the science of collection and mentions John Edward Gray (stamp catalog, etc). Link here.

Posted Dec 17, 17 14:05 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Darwin's son a stamp colector ...

(following edited extract from the Darwin Correspondence Project)

Charles Darwin Letter 5 March 1863:

One of my Boys (Leonard Darwin) has the common passion for collecting Postage stamps: he tells me that you issue some peculiar kinds:[footnote 1] I know not in the least what they are & perhaps they are for India [footnote 2] (at least I have never met with them) & can only be sold in number; but if you have odd copies & could enclose one or two of each kind deducting amount from your cheque, I shd. be glad to please my Boy, but of course you must not think of this for a minute if in in anyway inconvenien〈t.〉

Pray believe me | Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin

[footnote 1] From 1857, firms were given the opportunity of having their names and addresses embossed on a circular collar placed around standard issue British postage stamps. Smith, Elder and Company was one of the first companies to make use of this facility, registering their collar in October 1857. It consisted of a plain circular band forming a complete ring around the stamp, with the name of the firm on a plain cartouche above the stamp, and the address on a similar cartouche below (Huggins 1970, pp. 167–70).

[footnote 2] Smith, Elder and Company were also East India agents (Post Office London directory 1863).


Posted Dec 17, 17 14:04 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

December 14

A most auspicious day! Our latest philatelist-in-training shares a birthday with Pope Francis. And for those fans of the Big Bang, also Amy Farrah Fowler and Halley Wolowitz. Welcome to the board Xena.

Posted Dec 17, 17 12:52 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Willard Circular

I added some new covers to stock today including the Charles Willard circular (front shown below) which I wanted share. An image to the full text is linked from description and I have not seen the complete circular illustrated before.

The link to census listing is here.


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


And we now have generation XV. Congratulations Kimberlee and Matt! Quite a philatelic phamily.

Posted Dec 17, 17 8:36 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)

Xena Vermillion

For Gen Y and older, Xena is the "Warrior Princess". Watch out. Tim

Posted Dec 17, 17 3:55 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)


Welcome to the new owner of the iconic St. Barts cover!

Posted Dec 17, 17 1:19 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Xena Vermilion

Congratulations to both Kim and Matt!

Posted Dec 16, 17 21:52 by Matthew Kewriga (mkewriga)

Xena Vermilion

After a bit if an ordeal, Xena arrived at 00:55 December 14th. The owl has landed!

As Richard said to me, its our job to make a philatelist out of her. Although I did not chose it, her middle name is after the first specialized collection I built and started exhibiting at age 16 (Cancellations on the US 2c Vermilion Bank Note). I think she will have no problem getting exposure from her parents. Her first trip to the Collectors Club of NY will be in June 2018.

Thank you to everyone for the well wishes and congratulations! We received the best Christmas present possible!


Posted Dec 16, 17 19:34 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Kimberlee, Matt, and Xena

Congratulations! With collecting DNA from both parents, her future is bright.

Posted Dec 16, 17 16:47 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

Translate PF Cert

Never mind. I found the Cert and it is a J6.

A large auction house has it as a J13. I so advised them.

Posted Dec 16, 17 14:15 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Congrats to Kimberlee and Matt.  I look forward to seeing images the new cutie.

Posted Dec 16, 17 11:46 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

Translate PF Cert

there is allegedly a J13 in an auction which is described as with an undated PSE cert. I am looking at PF cert DB and found a cert #166683 which appearsa to be the exact same stamp. I am confused with the notations at bottom.

J13 -- J6 gen (genuine?) brown

I have interpreted this to mean it is a genuine J6 being brown and not the dark brown of the special printings.

Am I correct?

Posted Dec 16, 17 11:39 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)


Thank you for the info and examples Farley !

Posted Dec 16, 17 11:23 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Vermilion Stamp

Here is a vermilion stamp fitting of a warrior. The crossed kukris (knives of the Gurkas) in lower part of design are less clear. The top part of the design is from the Kewriga coat of arms (bow and arrow) of course.


Posted Dec 16, 17 10:45 by Rick Mingee (ramingee)


I did not see a post on this recently, and slightly out of place (maybe) on this board, but CONGRATULATIONS to Matt Kewriga and Kimberlee Fuller for the new collector (we can hope!) born two days ago...

Xena Vermilion!!!

I can speculate what color stamps she will collect one day.


Posted Dec 16, 17 2:32 by Farley Katz (navalon)

More Canadian O.H.M.S. Stationery

This is an image of a printed O.H.M.S. cover.  The cover bears the code 300M-3-32 and is cancelled Jly 7, 1936, so the 3-32 presumably means Mar. 1932.  Also an image of a printed O.H.M.S. card with the code 200M-1-21 and cancelled August 1921.


Posted Dec 16, 17 2:29 by Farley Katz (navalon)

1916 O.H.M.S. Cover

My mistake; M.F.B.201 appears to stand for Militia Form B. 201 (not Military Form).  See page from Canadian soldier's records below.


Posted Dec 15, 17 22:23 by Michael Schreiber (michaelschreiber)

1916 cover

300 m. 9-15. = order of 300,000 O.H.M.S. envelopes, September 1915

Posted Dec 15, 17 19:08 by Farley Katz (navalon)

1916 Cover


Your 1916 envelope originated in Canada.   M.F.B. 201  stands for Military Form B 201.  You can see a variety of these form designations on a Canadian WWI soldier's records on line such as M.F.B. 218a, M.F.B. 263, M.F.W 23, etc.  See here   A similar cover with form no. M.F.B. 299 is on line here, page 758 bottom  Presumably, H.Q. stands for Headquarters.  The cover must have been sent to England and returned from there.

Posted Dec 15, 17 17:10 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

Today's British cover conundrum

This 1916 cover mailed from Folkestone, Kent to BC, Canada is pre-printed with OHMS at top. At lower left, also pre-printed, it reads:

M.F.B. 300m -- 9-15. H.Q. 1772-39-95

The lower left inscription has me stumped. Any takers?


Posted Dec 15, 17 16:55 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)

Ed Proud Books

for a listing of his books, please see
those that should be in stock are priced


Posted Dec 15, 17 10:26 by Mark Robbins (funcitypapa4051)

OCD and intellect

I don't know whether there is any proven relationship between OCD behavior and intellect but it would not be a stretch to speculate how OCD which derives personal comfort and security from "order" and "control" might lead someone with that background into fields like physics and mathematics also seeking to create order out of disorder and chaos.

Posted Dec 15, 17 10:02 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Glenn T. Seaborg

My cousin Jane was married to Peter Seaborg, the son of the famed physicist. I recall meeting Glenn Seaborg once when I was a young kid.

Both father and son were geniuses, obviously. Some of that genius was responsible for odd behavior, such as insisting that five to ten cereal boxes be specifically arranged in order. I don't recall the order (alphabetical, grain type, box size?), but I do remember other family members wondering if these OCD tendencies went hand in hand with advanced intellect.

My cousin and Peter Seaborg divorced, and I never saw him again.

Posted Dec 15, 17 9:45 by Richard Frajola (frajola)


Victor - No logic or accounting for what Scott's Catalog lists sometimes. Should not be listed as a cancel in my opinion unless the US had a Post office there which they did not. No premium would be attached I think.

So, it may exist but just as a stray cancel applied on arrival or by an error on a cover sent from Curacao.

A nice use to Curacao is here with an arrival pmk (Grassi collection). Possible that a cover with a similar use received an arrival postmark on the stamp.

Posted Dec 15, 17 9:36 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Curacao cancel

The Philatelic Foundation certified this cover as:


AND WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT It Is Genuinely Used On Cover


Posted Dec 15, 17 4:04 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

History of British Army Postal Service


Many thanks for info, but the picture I posted was of my own copies together with an additional volume on the history of the Indian Army postal services. I had no idea that these were scarce. I'm happy to have bought them when they were originally published. They are certainly comprehensive and useful.

John W.

Posted Dec 15, 17 1:17 by Victor Kuil (vickuil)

Curaçao cancel

A Curacao cancel on a USA stamp is listed in the Scott Special at SC 146. Can any board visitor show this cancel?

Curacao was and is a Dutch overseas island. I presume (but do't know for sure) that mail between USA and Curacao was not covered by the postal agreement between the USA and The Netherlands.

Why would a postal employee in Curacao cancel a USA stamp after all?

Posted Dec 14, 17 22:30 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Glenn T Seaborg

Seaborg (I think he had a collaborator) began the chemical characterization of Plutonium on the way the the implosion weapon.  The amount they initially used was no larger than the period at the end of this sentence.

Posted Dec 14, 17 20:56 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)


Thanks all, in particular Ken. Its amazing how much history can be ferreted out starting with just a single, mundane-looking envelope.

Posted Dec 14, 17 15:31 by Ken Stach (kenstach)

The Ship John N. Gossler

I am doing some research for an article and was wondering if anyone can point me to where I might find an image of the ship named the John N. Gossler (alternatively Gosler, with one S)? Thanks in advance.

Posted Dec 14, 17 14:08 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

History of British Army Postal Service

John, there is a full set on Abebooks this morning. $253.14

Proud-Bailey, 1982. Cloth, Orig. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 3 vols. Bound in original cloth with original illustrated dust wrappers. Volumes combined cover 1882-1962. A very good set. Bookseller Inventory # 014476

Posted Dec 14, 17 10:50 by David Snow (dwsnow)


I find it interesting to observe the unusual first names used on some 19th Century covers.

Such as this 1862 cover addressed to "Miss Thankfull Johnson". See cover ID 26615

"Thankful" is an archaic name for a girl in New England; it was one of the many virtue names used by the Puritans in the 17th Century.

I am also thankful for the tiny, petite envelopes used in that era, many times graced with an ornate embossed design, simulating a seal, on the rear flap. Just as in this example.


Posted Dec 14, 17 4:23 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

British Field Post Offices

Ted Proud did a huge amount of work on this. Try and locate copies of his "History". See picture.

John W.


Posted Dec 13, 17 20:53 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

BAOR cover, back

The sender, Sgt. Andrew C. Turner, was actually O. Pollaschek (1919-2011), a Jew from Czechoslovakia whom the Nazis had imprisoned at the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps in 1938. He was released only because the British Labour Party arranged for him to enter England as a refugee, arriving in August 1939, just before the war began.

During the war Turner had served in the secret inter-allied Ten Commando unit, the most highly skilled special force in the British Army, whose members conducted some of the most daring and hazardous missions of World War II. He had been a member of the commando’s X Troop, 88 exiles from Germany and Nazi-occupied countries in Europe, nearly all of them Jewish, whose members spoke perfect German.

According to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the troop was designated X, the mathematical symbol for an unknown number, “because they will be unknown warriors.” Later in the war X Troop became Troop 3. X Troop members became experts in clandestine operations. They specialized in parachuting, piloting small boats, climbing cliffs, and effective use of explosives and all types of German weapons.  Some learned to pick locks and drive trains.

According to Ten Commando 1942-1945 by Ian Dear, “They were by far the most highly trained group in the British Army, but then, as will be gathered, they were almost all men of extremely high education and intelligence.” For their protection in case they were captured, members of X Troop were given English-sounding cover identities. Half became casualties — 21 killed in battle or executed after capture, 22 wounded. The ones who survived the war kept their noms de guerre and became British citizens under those names.

In Italy and France members of X Troop were dispersed among other units as interrogators, interpreters, captured document analysts, and for occasional infiltration, snatching prisoners, and rescue operations behind enemy lines. One officer and 41 men of lower ranks landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, most of them on bicycles.

Following the German surrender, they tracked down and arrested Gestapo and SS members, heads of war industries, and war criminals, feigning sympathy with Nazism as an effective ruse to round up whole networks of fugitives. After their unit disbanded in September 1945, Ten Commando veterans tracked war criminals, translated captured documents, and conducted interrogations.

Pollaschek’s B.A.O.R. headquarters “37 D.C.U.” address on the envelope flap probably identified a Document Control Unit. The addressee on the cover, Glenn T. Seaborg (1912-1999), shared the 1951 Nobel Prize in chemistry. 

It’s tantalizing to imagine what Pollaschek might have sent to Seaborg. The downtown Chicago P.O. Box 5207 mail drop kept the MetLab location secret, but later became the public address of Argonne National Laboratory in the Palos Hills forest outside the city. (Another secret Manhattan Project address in Chicago was P.O. Box 6140A.)



Posted Dec 13, 17 20:53 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

BAOR cover, front

Glenn T. Seaborg, addressee of this January 9, 1946, cover, was co-discoverer of plutonium and other trans-uranium elements. From 1942 to 1946 he directed plutonium research at the Manhattan District’s Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago.  The downtown Chicago P.O. Box 5207 mail drop kept the MetLab location secret, but later became the public address of Argonne National Laboratory in the Palos Hills forest outside the city.

On January 3, 1946, the captive German nuclear physicists headed by Werner Heisenberg had been returned to the headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine (B.A.O.R.) at Bad Oeynhausen in the British occupation zone of Germany. There they were confined for another month at the nearby village of Alswede while their activities continued to be monitored.


Posted Dec 13, 17 20:52 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)


Thank you Ken.....awesome !

Posted Dec 13, 17 20:04 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

FPO locations

Charles Entwistle's booklet A Priced Checklist of British Army and Field Post Offices 1939-1946 is the handiest WW2 guide I'm aware of. Ted Proud's various postal history books include FPO numbers and locations for each subject country.

FPO 764 is listed as B.L.A. (British Liberation Army, renamed British Army of the Rhine BAOR).

CAOF is here.

Posted Dec 13, 17 18:25 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)


Thank you David. 'Field' would make the most sense for this cover.

Posted Dec 13, 17 17:21 by David Kent (davekent)

British FPO

A British military postmark "FPO" would be from an army Field Post Office. The British have never had post offices on their ships. I don't know much about possible British naval bases outside the home country, but if they had post offices I suspect they would have been part of the general Field Post Office system. I don't have any references on locations of British field post offices.

Posted Dec 13, 17 17:01 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)


I realize that in The States, F.P.O. indicates a Fleet Post Office. Does the same apply for British Soldier's Mail as seen in the image's date stamp? I'm assuming the manuscript CAOF at top right indicates: Canadian Army Occupation Force (correction encouraged). I also assume the SC 764 in the date stamp is the army unit? Is this correct and can anyone shine some light on it as to who and location?


Posted Dec 13, 17 16:12 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Tony Wawrukiewicz has written about A.O. mail. Probably Henry Beecher also, but I might be recalling personal correspondence.

From a postal history perspective a label is no different from any other endorsement (manuscript, printed, stamped), so I think you would need to study literature on etiquettes if you need something more about them in particular.

Art Groten is the expert on etiquettes, cinderellas, and poster stamps. He probably has them in stock.

Posted Dec 13, 17 16:00 by Gary Loew (garyloew)

A.O. Labels

Farley - Thanks for pointing out that typo in my posting. Fortunately, I've been searching using that correct ("objets") spelling.

Ken - Yes, those were among the first places I looked. I've got the CFRs available on my disk drive.

The eBay cover is a new one for me. I've not seen Monaco before. Much appreciated.

My larger issue is that I'm not able to locate much in the philatelic literature other than the PLBs I mentioned and a brief piece by Peter Ibbotson. Could it be that there has been that little philatelic research out there?

Posted Dec 13, 17 15:56 by Gary Loew (garyloew)

A.O. Labels

Farley - Thanks for pointing out that typo in my posting. Fortunately, I've been searching using that correct ("objets") spelling.

Ken - Yes, those were among the first places I looked. I've got the CFRs available on my disk drive.

The eBay cover is a new one for me. I've not seen Monaco before. Much appreciated.

My larger issue is that I'm not able to locate much in the philatelic literature other than the PLBs I mentioned and a brief piece by Peter Ibbotson. Could it be that there has been that little philatelic research out there?

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

A.O. mail

CFR definition


Posted Dec 13, 17 14:41 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

A.O. mail

from the Code of Federal Regulations 1949-1984


Posted Dec 13, 17 14:28 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

A.O. label on cover



Posted Dec 13, 17 14:22 by Farley Katz (navalon)

AO Labels

Try searching "autres objets" and "A. o." on line

Posted Dec 13, 17 13:14 by Gary Loew (garyloew)

A.O. Labels

I'm doing some research on A.O. ("autres objects") rates and uses.

The use of A.O. rates typically shows up with an encircled A.O. auxiliary mark. But labels were also used. In particular, France used these labels before the handstamp markings replaced them. The cover below, from Papeete, demonstrates that French colonies used the labels. The "sheet" seems identical to the label on the cover, although it is reportedly from Ethiopia. I am uncertain about that origin, however.

I am having difficulty locating good examples of the labels (although the handstamps are plentiful). Moreover, other than a few articles in the Postal Label Bulletin, I have been unsuccessful in finding any references to the labels in the philatelic literature.

Any scanned examples or citations to the literature will be greatly appreciated.


Posted Dec 13, 17 9:45 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

Reply mail

Further examination on the inside shows a neat quarter-sized opening that was covered over, likely there was a coin inside the envelope, perhaps taped to a card, that broke through.

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