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Posted Mar 7, 21 8:17 by David Handelman (davidh)

book on PUAS

John: could you give us details on your book? Title, where to get it, etc. (By the way, PUAS is a lot easier to remember than the other acronym, which I've already forgotten as I write this.)

And for consular mail, when were registration and other fees covered (or not covered)?

Posted Mar 7, 21 5:47 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Madrid Convention

Dates for the record.
John W.


Posted Mar 7, 21 3:16 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Madrid Convention

From my book - hence references to "book". Hope this provides background info.
The first Postal Union for South America was convened at a meeting in Montevideo on 8 January, 1911. The member states were, at that time, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and the adopted title was “Congreso Postal Sudamericano” (South American Postal Congress). The United States of America and Spain joined the Union at the Spanish-American Postal Convention in Madrid on 13 November, 1920 and membership by the United States ratified in 1922.

The Convention covering the period of this book is dated 1936 when the title of the organisation became “Union Postal de Las America y Espana” (UPAE). The official language of the Union was Spanish, although member states were permitted to use their own language where necessary. Canada had joined the Union in 1931. On the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal did not become a member until 1990 and this raises the question of the early membership of Brazil, where the official language is, uniquely in South America, Portuguese.

 The Madrid Convention in 1931 adopted the English language title of the “Postal Union of the Americas and Spain” (PUAS) and this acronym is commonly used by American collectors and researchers. In this book, the abbreviation UPAE has been used throughout in recognition of the fact that the organisation is still headquartered in Montevideo and the official language is still Spanish.


The UPAE was free to set the surface rates for postage between member states and in some cases, as in Brazil, differential rates were established for air fees where an inclusive surface + air rate was applied. Application of UPAE rates does not seem to have been universally employed, and observed franking needs to be carefully assessed before making a judgement as to correct or incorrect payments.

 One wartime surface rate change was made in mid-1942 in Portugal (although not a member of UPAE) when the UPU surface rate of 1$75 was reduced to 50c on all mail to Brazil, seemingly recognising that Brazil was, in effect, closely linked to Portugal by language and culture.

 For the purposes of this book/text, the terms UPAE and PUAS are interchangeable.

John W.

Posted Mar 6, 21 17:48 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Treaty of Madrid

I believe this is an example of the Treaty of Madrid where a number of South American countries could send first class mail at the 2c rate per ounce instead of the 5c UPU rate for the first ounce.


Posted Mar 6, 21 16:25 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Front and Back Madagascar

Here is a scan of both sides of the printed matter


Posted Mar 6, 21 13:25 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

PM to Madagascar - COOL

Greg S.....

I would surely say that Madagascar is a "good" destination for printer matter!!!!!

Since the stamp is void of parallel straight-edges might you cut it loose.

Interesting what pops up.


Posted Mar 6, 21 9:15 by Mike Ludeman (mml1942)

Help with Mexico Cancel


I believe that Ken is correct about the origin being Mexico city. The cover below has a similar postmark which is more legible.

The DEPTO DE BUZONES in the top part of the cancellation indicates the cover was picked up in a collection box.

Most registered mail from Mexico to the USA East Cost was routed via Laredo, while mail to the West Coast seemed to go through El Paso. This is based on my archive of Mexico registered covers. I assume but cannot verify that the same applies to surface mail, but it seems reasonable that this would be the case.



Posted Mar 6, 21 8:58 by Rick Kunz (segesvar)

Back of Mexico SD cover

Little Rock & Ft Worth RPO transit marking; RPO clerk's dater on reverse


Posted Mar 6, 21 8:56 by Rick Kunz (segesvar)

Help with Mexico Cancel

Thanks, Ken. The cover doesn't provide much more information; no return address, but here it is. A couple of us are writing an article about the routing - it has one US RPO backstamp, but knowing the actual origin City would help pinpoint where it crossed the border.


Posted Mar 6, 21 7:43 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Butterfield Stage

Here is a fairly comprehensive summary of the horse & wagon business that carried mail 2,800 miles in 25 days.

Posted Mar 6, 21 5:59 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Rick K, It might help to show the whole cover, but that fragment looks like the familiar MEXICO D.F.

Posted Mar 6, 21 3:40 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


I am reading one of the excellent volumes in the Oxford history of US series.  The guy takes Richard John to  heart.  He gives stage coaches at 8-10 mph on good roads and 11 on the best in the country.  That 200 miles per day is obviously but  a fraction of the theoritical speed of a choo choo at speed for, say 20 hours.

Posted Mar 5, 21 23:05 by Rick Kunz (segesvar)

Help with Mexico Cancel

Can anyone help discern the origin, I believe town marking in this cancel?


Posted Mar 5, 21 22:06 by Daniel Pagter (parcelpostguy)

Canadian Parcel Post Insurance Rates

I am trying to determine the period of contemporary use for an undated Parcel Post Calculator used to calculate Canadian Domestic Parcel Post rates.

I have determined that Canadian Parcel Post Insurance began in 1921 (Per Canadian National History Museum) with a two tier system $25/$50; 5 cents/10 cents. That is what the calculator indicates (on side not shown). Per the USPOD Postal Guide January Supplement, 1923, page 27, when insured replaced registered on parcel post matter sent between the USA and Canada beginning 1-1-1923, the Canadian parcel post insurance was four tiered, $5/$25/$50/$100; 3/6/12/30 cents.

Can someone say when Canadian Parcel Post Insurance went from the original two tiers to more than two tiers?


Posted Mar 5, 21 21:50 by Daniel Pagter (parcelpostguy)

Bell & Company

Bell & Company in Orangeburg was required to use parcel post stamps on its sample (pills) mailings. Thus it normally used a 2 cent and 1 cent parcel post stamp on each envelope with the placement usually two on left and one on right with the two cent getting struck by the CDS. This stopped in mid April 1913 when it began to use the newly avaiable 3 cent parcel post stamp.

The two examples you show are quite late in the process. The EKU (as far as I am aware) for the 3 cent is a Bell & Company a day or so later. I think there are three recorded Bell & Company 3 cent covers cancelled in April 1913. I know of no other dated 3 cent April 1913 on cover/tag/wrapper usages.

Note: I just joined to post a question (but this is my first post) and I may not be good at navagainting or answering the message board. I apologize in advance.

Posted Mar 5, 21 20:29 by Winston Williams (winstonw)

Travel Rate - English Railways

A major British rail route for transatlantic mail was London to Liverpool. In 1839 the average time for the mail trains was 11½ hours for the 210 miles. By 1850 the typical time had reduced to 8 hours.

So for that major route somewhat quicker than Bernard's useful approximation in the US of 200 miles a day.

Posted Mar 5, 21 14:39 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

Printed Matter

Gregory, You would probably be interested to see cover ID# 27254 in Philamercury.

Posted Mar 5, 21 14:33 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)


Bummer. But that is no question the right call.

On the plus side the Fairfax Stamp fair will go on as planned tomorrow, and the room is big enough that social distancing is not a problem. Temps are checked at the door and everyone is masked up.

Posted Mar 5, 21 13:47 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)


The Washington DC area's WSP show scheduled for June 4-6, has been postponed with no mention of projected new dates.

Posted Mar 5, 21 9:50 by Frank Kaplan (mrfancycancel)

Disinfection Cover?

Got this cover in a large lot and it has a series a punched holes. Is this a disinfected cover. I remember reading something about this. Thanks for any help.


Posted Mar 4, 21 22:25 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Printed Matter

Good destination???


Posted Mar 4, 21 22:23 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Rear View

Here is the back of the envelope with the stated regulations for mailing combustible material.


Posted Mar 4, 21 19:34 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Minor Aspect of the License Plate Cover

The 15c Statue of Liberty stamp appears to have a Mattituck New York precancel.

Posted Mar 4, 21 19:03 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

The Franking on Richard's air mail cover

Richard, Ken, and all.

Agreeing that the fifteen cent stamp does not belong on this item we are left with five six cent air mail stamps and thirth-six cents franking in three regular stamps. Would not the simplest solution to this puzzle be the C1 pays the first unit of air mail postage plus the first class special delivery fee of ten cents then the other stamps that total sixty-six cents in postage pay the next eleven units of air mail postage?

Therefor we have a twelve ounce air mail item sent special delivery.

Posted Mar 4, 21 18:23 by Charles Lemons (tankcurator)

Airmail cover - superfluous 1 cent

Did you notice that the 1 cent stamp appears to be the last one added? It is canceled once and has been placed over the cancellation that ties one of the 6-cent airmail stamps. The 15-cent obviously does not seem to be original to the cover.

Posted Mar 4, 21 13:32 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Travel Rate

Riders could do around 50 miles per day.  Serious expresses much faster.  (E.g.  Paul Revere and the war news.  He must have been tough as nails -- copper or iron).  I think the Stagecoaches did better.   Weather and roads permitting.  A useful approximation in the areas with developed railways in the mid century is 200 miles a day.  Transatlantic -- the ships eastbound did around 100 miles a day,  more like 50 westbound.  With steam, more like 170/150.  The telegraph was a bit faster.

Posted Mar 4, 21 11:23 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Airmail could be any class, depending on the contents, but in this case it was pretty obviously not first class.

Posted Mar 4, 21 9:47 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

Rate question

Thanks, didn't notice the 15c with all the clutter. I've been confused as to whether airmail was or was not considered with first class, maybe so was the sender.

Posted Mar 4, 21 8:43 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Rate question

I can't see an exact rate. However, the 15¢ stamp did not originate on the cover, and the special delivery rate was 15¢ for other than first class. That still leaves the 1¢ stamp as superfluous.

Posted Mar 4, 21 8:37 by Florian Eichhorn (minatobay)

Translation, suppl.

To be more precise, it means a bookshop or bookstore.
Nowadays  the term used is a bit oldfashioned.

Posted Mar 4, 21 7:03 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

Rate question on modern cover

Can anyone make sense of the rate on this 1938 cover? This has 97c less 10c special delivery = 87c which isn't divisible by the 6c per oz airmail rate. I would consider it an overpayment except why add the 1c stamp? Underneath the label it says "Motor Vehicle Plates" and "Remove Card Inside this Pocket" so it likely contained a license plate drop shipped directly from the manufacturer on behalf of the state.


Posted Mar 3, 21 20:32 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

Stagecoach and Horses

Roughly... the distance between many towns is around 30 miles. Which is how far a horse can travel in one day.

Posted Mar 3, 21 18:02 by Stefan Jaronski (thebugdoc)

U S Post Office Location Records now on-line

I am not sure whether anyone has posted about post office location records before (my search of the Message Board did not have any "hits.")  I was delighted to find PO location records now on-line at the National Archives "Reports of Site Locations, 1837 - 1950", M1126, as National Archives Identifier: 608210 with a link to the initial page being,
The records are alphabetical by state, then county, then office. (I used to have to trek to National Archives to seen these microfolims. Now they are all online. "Miracle of the Internet.")

Posted Mar 3, 21 17:40 by George Tyson (gtyson)

Stagecoach travel time

In February 1861 the cover would have been carried on the Southern Overland Route (#12,578) by John Butterfield's Overland Mail Company. The requirement was 25 days or less between S.F. and St. Louis. Ordinarily, the coaches made the trip in under 25 days. However, on February 18, all of the Federal forts in Texas were surrendered, thus ending much of the protection that the coaches had enjoyed against Native Americans (and later Confederate sympathizers). At that point the travel time became more uncertain. The travel time of specific trips is known (see the book by Walske and Frajola), so you could probably use the date the cover left S.F. to gain more specific information. In any case, the travel time from St. Louis to Ohio by train was approximately two days. So the total travel time would ordinarily have been well under a month (and not much different than the travel time by ocean mail).

Posted Mar 3, 21 16:43 by Roger Rhoads (roger rhoads)

Ship from West Coast vs. Stagecoach

I have a cover from San Francisco dated June 1860 to Painesville, OH east of Cleveland) that went by ship thru Panama to NYC in 22 days with ca 7 days to get to the sender's mother. In Feb. 1861 a cover was sent by the same person, again to his mother, via stagecoach. About how long would it be expected to be delivered?

Posted Mar 3, 21 12:00 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

I called it 1867 (not 1967) because that was the year of issue for the overall grills contrary to the seller's 1870 title.

(To clarify -- I meant the year of the purported stamp, not the true date of the underlying stamp and postmark.)

As I write, five bidders have posted 15 bids, currently at $112.50.

Posted Mar 3, 21 10:56 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

overall grill of sorts

Ken -- I assume you are calling attention to the fact that the postmark appears to be pre-1863.  Also, the intact perforations are very rare on a genuine A grilled stamp.  Indeed, why do you call it an 1967 cover?
Incidentally, a bunch of A grills were used in 1869 (normal uses Aug. 1867 to late in '67 or maybe early '68).   At least some of them carried the announcements for the 1869 issue.

Posted Mar 3, 21 8:18 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

"USA 1870s Grill 3c on Cover"

That is how the seller listed this 1867 cover on the despised auction website, started at $10 with this description: "3c with grill on a cover with a tear, stain and some age discoloring." Several bidders are competing for it.


Posted Mar 3, 21 4:59 by Michael Gutman (mikeg94)


Florian, thanks very much for the translation.

Posted Mar 2, 21 18:10 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

un Free, Locked Letters

My impression is that the misuse of FREE CDSs at Wcity was mainly prior to the 1861 issue.  In the absence of a census, I would suggest that it may have slightly preceded the war and run into only the very beginning of the war.  Or not.
That business with the 400 year old dead letters.  What silliness.

Posted Mar 2, 21 17:18 by Florian Eichhorn (minatobay)


Two line vertical, the right one "Tai Ying Co.", the left one "Honorable Manager".

Posted Mar 2, 21 16:35 by Mohamed Nasr (mohamed_nasr)

Whashington Free

RM: That's possible too. Thank you.

Posted Mar 2, 21 16:24 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)

New Book

Now in Stock, exclusive US source
Spanish Colonia and Mexican Mail in the United States
by Yamil H. Kouri, Jr.
2021, 342 pages, card, $72 + $3 pp (actual postage $4.01) = $75 for US delivery

Posted Mar 2, 21 15:47 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

Washington "Free"

You will find a lot of covers in the 1861-62 time period with Washington "Free" (though usually inside the circle) - at that time, my guess is they had so many soldiers sending mail home that they simply canceled them with any device they could get their hands on.

Posted Mar 2, 21 15:33 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Stampless locked letters

Here are computer generated images from the article Ken noted , showing the virtual opening of a late 17th century letter still sealed to this day.


Posted Mar 2, 21 13:39 by Mohamed Nasr (mohamed_nasr)

Whashington Free

RF: Thank you :-)

Posted Mar 2, 21 13:12 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Washington Free

M - I usually try not to guess what is in the mind of a postal clerk, but ...

The majority of mail coming out of Washington DC at this date was sent "Free" and I would venture that it was exceptional for someone to want to prepay for a letter. So, just force of habit to use that datestamp with a free (either in eror or deliberately) and just cross off the free. As to the blue cancel, again, probably that device was not used much and had a separte ink pad obviously.

Posted Mar 2, 21 12:50 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Belgium/France Letter Mail

For those who have interest, I have updated and refined my reference blog post for letter mail between Belgium and France in the 1850s-1875.  A number of inaccuracies have been corrected.  It's less of an 'easy read' like the Postal History Sundays, but I use it as a repository for my understanding of these mails.  By writing it down and sharing it, I hope to improve accuracy and my comprehension - so feedback always welcome.


Posted Mar 2, 21 10:22 by Paul Dessau (paulorgantech)

easy photostitch tool

Irfanview is a fine photo editing, downloaded free, tool and it is very easy to join photos with it. I can show cover front and backs in one post.


Posted Mar 2, 21 9:33 by Mohamed Nasr (mohamed_nasr)

Crossed out FREE

I'm trying to figure out why the Washington D.C. post office didn't use a simple device instead of using the FREE duplex and crossing out "FREE."
Also, why didn't they use one ink color with both CDS & grid?


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