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Posted Apr 7, 20 18:34 by Roger Heath (decoppet)


Looks like 2a

Posted Apr 7, 20 18:14 by Bill Duffney (billduffney)

Postmaster John W. Hill - 3

Family plot.


Posted Apr 7, 20 18:13 by Bill Duffney (billduffney)

Postmaster John W. Hill - 2

Backside of gravestone.


Posted Apr 7, 20 18:12 by Bill Duffney (billduffney)

Postmaster John W. Hill - 1

Like most people I have cabin fever caused by Covid-19 self-isolation. So, I got the idea that I should take walk in a local cemetery and find the grave of Waterbury Postmaster John W. Hill, and avoid as many other people as possible in the process. I was right, no one was there. Even though there are many photographs of his gravestone about, I decided to take my own photos. Use them if/as you wish. Large RAW files are available to anyone that asks for them off the Board.


Posted Apr 7, 20 17:13 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Postage Due

Ray - the genuine cancel seems to me to be the black smudge at top left. The red text looks like sucker bait on my iPad screen ...

Posted Apr 7, 20 17:03 by Ray Porter (rporter314)


I bought this stamp because I thought it was another Pennsylvania handstamp, but looking more closely it is in some strange language ;>).

Anyone have an idea what the first character may be? or corroborate the second character is an "a"?


Posted Apr 7, 20 16:29 by Bob Watson (neopanax)

NZ to RI

Hi John

The total postage is 1s 2d which was the correct postage from NZ to USA via Southampton. That splits into 6d NZ-UK and 8d UK-USA. All on scheduled packets and no private carriage involved. (Carriage Auckland to Sydney was on a couple of possible ships, but all paid by NZ PO.) Since an American packet was involved on the trans-Atlantic leg there was a credit of 8d or 16 cents to USA, plus 5 cents due. I do not own this, but the catalogue description says a cds on the back is dated 18 April 1861 from Auckland. Stamps cancelled by obliterator "1" of Auckland. All perfectly normal EXCEPT the oddity of the London/New York dates. That's where I was seeking help. Was there any other mail that went via London to New York on that date (never mind any specific origin) that displayed similar odd dates? If so, perhaps the possibility is strengthened of incorrectly advanced month in NY date stamp. Bob

Posted Apr 7, 20 16:01 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

United States Mail Steamship Company

Is there any reliable history of this line that ran between New York and Aspinwall during the Civil War? There's an article in The Chronicle 102, May, 1979, by Gene Reed for 1849-1859 and then the company supposedly went out of business, but apparently ships were chartered by the U.S. Government now and then after that. Attached is an ad for one of their sailings in 1864. I have a cover carried on this voyage.


Posted Apr 7, 20 12:01 by Tony Wawrukiewicz ([email protected])

Post Offices as DLO Branches

Chapter Four in my 2016 book Insights into U.S. Postal History, 1855 - 2016 covers this subject in detail. I would be glad to send you this chapter after we talk. First send me a message to my email address, a message that includes your phone number, and I'll be glad to get back to you.


Posted Apr 7, 20 11:12 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

Small PO's as Dead Letter Branches

Through collected material I have evidence of large cities such as NY, Bos, Chi and SFO taking over the duty of returning dead letters. POD provided a supply of penalty envelopes with those post offices named in the card.
Then in later years I have material showing that medium size cities began using a style of penalty envelope that left a space on the card corner for the PM to stamp his/her office name in the space.
My question is, in what year did postal regulations add this duty to the large city offices. Then in what year were middling offices tasked to become Dead Letter Branches.
Thanks for your help,

Posted Apr 7, 20 10:14 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

NZ to RI


You must be right about the Havre Line.

More mysterious is how the letter got to London, since the rate was 6d as from 1 Feb 61.

Are there any postmarks on the back? If not, it must have been carried privately by favor of the guy mentioned on the front. But then why the stamps, and where were they canceled?

Posted Apr 7, 20 9:10 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

World War I war tax

Here is a WW1 war tax piece for a 25-pound registered parcel from New York to Chapel Hill: 7¢ first pound plus 4¢ x 24 added pounds = 96¢, total $1.03 postage to Zone 4, 10¢ insurance fee, 5¢ war tax (1¢ per 25¢ postage or fraction) payable only by revenue stamps.

The revenue stamps are canceled Barnes & Noble, indistinct date.


Posted Apr 7, 20 8:26 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)


"Transportation and communication"?

Posted Apr 7, 20 4:50 by David Handelman (davidh)


Isn't it T & C FPO (FPO: field post office)? But I've no idea what T & C refers to.

Posted Apr 6, 20 23:21 by Rick Kunz (segesvar)

Mystery RPO

This is the second example of this marking I have seen. The previous cover apparently had the notation "Received from AEF" (I'm going from record, not photo) but this one only shows an AEF soldier's return address, and self-censor mark.

Any idea what the "T and C RPO" refers to?


Posted Apr 6, 20 22:51 by Rick Mingee (ramingee)

PMSC steamer arrived in SF around October 18, 1865?


Did not see any reply, this is a little late. I found Golden City arriving on OCT 12. 14 days 23 hrs from Panama.

I did not find anything near 18th or either side by a few days.

Posted Apr 6, 20 22:21 by Bob Watson (neopanax)

NZ to US via London

Hi John

I think the most likely is on the Fulton (Havre) which departed Southampton on 24 July 1861 and arrived at New York on 5 August. That also appeared to be the earliest trans-Atlantic American packet to arrive in New York in August. So it's possible that the date would have been re-set (incorrectly) on first use - the last use for an American packet was 31 July. Just a hunch, but what do you think?


Posted Apr 6, 20 20:22 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

NZ to US via London


If you assume the New York month slug is wrong, on what transatlantic sailing must the letter have been carried?


Posted Apr 6, 20 17:32 by Bob Watson (neopanax)

Inconsistent dates London-New York

I have found this cover while browsing. There's something screwy about the dates. London is dated JY 22 61, and New York is Jul 6. Can anyone explain why it appears a westbound cover arrived at New York before it left London? Has anyone else seen such an oddity on these dates? My hunch is that the New York month wasn't advanced and it was meant to be August. Is it likely that someone hadn't noticed the error six days into the month?




Posted Apr 6, 20 12:01 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Double Circle Free

Barry - The device that made your postmark is not particularly unusual. It was included in the sets of double circle devices sent out to post offices starting in about 1860. The extra device in the set with "FREE" at the foot seems to have been sent mostly to larger offices.

Sometimes you just have to say, postmark unreadable. (Or maybe Indianapolis, a distributing Post Office like Cincinnati in 1862)

The cover below is a cover that Matt Liebson entered into the census.


Posted Apr 6, 20 10:42 by Barry Elkins (elkman3)

Unidentified cover

With the unidentified postmarks on the cover I posted, I have searched the Helbock data base for **NAP****, I have come up with either Annapolis or Bonaparte, which both fit what I can see.  I have no idea what the FREE might be about.  Does anyone have any further suggestions?  Thanks for all of your help.

Posted Apr 6, 20 6:55 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Arlene Dunn Driscoll (March 24, 1943 - April 4, 2020)

Philatelic casualty of the pandemic.

Foster Miller posted this notice on the Delphi forum, copied from the Brookman Stamp Company's Facebook page:

I am sorry to report the passing of Arlene Driscoll, previous owner and publisher of the Brookman Price Guide and previous owner of Brookman, Barrett & Worthen. Arlene and her husband, Bob Driscoll (who passed away in September, 2005) purchased the Brookman Price Guide and Brookman Stamp company in 1981. They were very active attending shows focusing on better covers and First Day Covers. in 1995, they sold the stamp part of the business to Michael Jaffe Stamps but continued to publish the Brookman price guide, sell covers through the mail and attend shows. After Bob passed away, Arlene kept the business going until she suffered from a major stroke in July, 2017. Although slowing improving, Arlene would never return to her business. Her employees kept the company going, but eventually sold the Brookman Price Guide publishing company to Michael Jaffe Stamps in 2018 and disposed of the rest of their inventory through auction. In and out of the hospital since November 2019, Arlene was recently admitted into hospital and succumbed to complications from Covid-19. She is survived and missed by her daughters Kimberly Dunn Spelman and Lisa Spelman McAdams.

Posted Apr 6, 20 4:24 by Nick Kirke (nick kirke)

Eccentric Admirals

My uncle Admiral David Kirke (Flag officer naval air training) had a fearsome reputation. At my commissioning dinner he discovered a piece of egg in his fork. He called an abrupt pause in the celebrations and ordered the manager to remove the cutlery from all the tables to have it washed and polished. The only person in the room who was not acutely embarrassed by this turn of events was Admiral Kirke.

Posted Apr 5, 20 21:47 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Revenue stamps enclosed long ago

I was working on my 1860-61 issue Star Die envelope collection when I came across this 1c blue entire that is docketed "Revenue Stamps". Because the docketing is in iron gall ink it probably dates prior to 1900.

See Cover ID 28541 for details of this circa 1862 cover. Certainly used before July 1, 1863, when rate went up to 2c.

My first thought was, could this have contained a shipment of First Issue revenue stamps to the postmaster of Londonderry, Vermont? But I do not know how or where the 1862-71 First Issue of revenue stamps were distributed. Perhaps revenue specialist Michael Mahler can comment.

However, the fact that this envelope has an ungummed unsealed flap, meant for printed circulars, without any writing permitted on the inside, is damning evidence that it did not contain a shipment of revenue stamps, which were as good as cash. Not an appropriate way to ship valuable government securities.

So I came to the conclusion that probably a contemporary end user of these stamps in Vermont, perhaps a bank, law firm or merchant in the 1860s or 1870s used this discarded envelope as a convenient place to store revenue stamps for use on documents or checks. The unsealed open flap made it easy to take stamps out as needed, and there is quite a bit of wear (wrinkling) on the envelope consistent with such use. As a visual aid I put alongside the cover a mint 25c Cerificate Revenue stamp (R44c) from my collection as to what might have been enclosed.

Another possibility is that a collector from the 1890s or earlier used it to store revenue stamps for his collection. But less likely than the first scenario. Any comments would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.


Posted Apr 5, 20 20:20 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)


An excellent book on the Justinian plague is Justinian’s Flea by William Rosen.

Posted Apr 5, 20 19:20 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Yes. That is what I meant.

Posted Apr 5, 20 18:48 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

The deadliest epidemic in recorded history

Ken Lawrence, I assume you mean the the deadliest epidemic for which actual numbers are recorded. The Black Plague (estimated 100-200m dead) and the Justinian plague (estimated 50-60m) are both “recorded “ but the numbers are estimates. Between the late 1400s (prior to Columbus) and the early 1600s some estimates put the Native American deaths from European diseases at 100m plus. Percentage-wise those were much worse.

Rick Matta - working from home (quite busy), sheltering in place for the foreseeable future.

Posted Apr 5, 20 16:03 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

24¢ Jenny in the pandemic

I have posted this wrapper previously. In my Linn's article about it, I wrote, in part:

            The parcel wrapper is addressed to a married woman at an Army hospital, not to a soldier — “For / Mrs Wm B Kennedy, / Petersburg / Va / Base Hospital / Camp Lee.” I learned from the book Lest We Forget: Base Hospital Camp Lee Virginia, that she was the wife of Pvt. William Kennedy, a soldier from Ford Depot, Va., assigned to hospital duty.

When I perused the Warren Evening Times of November 1918 for clues that might shed light on why a local woman would have sent an insured parcel to a soldier’s wife at the Camp Lee hospital I found a series of letters from a local recruit who signed them “Kilty the Rookie” about the terrible toll that influenza had wrought among the soldiers, together with sorrowful articles about local army recruits who had fallen ill and died of the disease.

I learned that G. C. Wright owned a local business, and that his wife was active in patriotic affairs at the Warren YMCA and in raising money for good causes through her church. Another member of her YMCA group had left for Camp Lee to manage a “hostess house” there. To explain why married women were becoming volunteers at an army camp, one must become familiar with the flu epidemic that had exceeded hospitals’ capacity.  

The Influenza Pandemic of 1918

The deadliest epidemic in recorded history ravaged the world in 1918. In its time, scholars estimated the global death toll between 20 and 40 million. Today’s medical historians think the number was even greater. They estimate that about one fifth of the world’s people contracted influenza and approximately 50 million died from the disease worldwide.

Unlike flu epidemics of modern times, which have posed their greatest threat to elderly people, the 1918 pandemic was most deadly among people between 20 and 40 years of age. The disease infected 28 percent of Americans, and killed an estimated 675,000, including 43,000 servicemen. The death rate was so high that the average life expectancy in the United States fell by 12 years as a consequence.

            A dramatic narrative published online at the Influenza Encyclopedia website tells how the epidemic came to Camp Lee: 

August 1918 was a scorcher in tidewater Virginia. Drilling in uniform in the heat and humidity of Petersburg, 25 miles south of Richmond, must have been grueling for the nearly 48,000 soldiers of Camp Lee. Little did they know that, as bad as the conditions were, they were about to get a whole lot worse. For only a few weeks later, influenza arrived in camp. The first case of influenza appeared in a new inductee, who was admitted to the camp infirmary on the evening of Friday, September 13 with symptoms of severe respiratory disease. Camp doctors were not sure of the illness, but they suspected influenza. Within a few hours, ten more cases of the new malady were reported in different parts of the camp. By the morning of September 17, that number had grown by 500. Two days later, there were over 1,000 cases in Camp Lee, more than could be tended to in the camp hospital. Medical personnel now knew they were dealing with a quickly growing influenza epidemic. 

Before it ended at Camp Lee, approximately 10,000 soldiers were stricken and 700 died of the disease.  

Appeal from a Camp Lee Nurse

            An article titled “Appeal Made to Nurses, Women” in the October 14, 1918, Toledo News-Bee vividly reported on the tragedy: 

How serious is the influenza situation in some of the training camps and how imperative the call for nurses to volunteer their services is told very plainly in a letter written by a Toledo trained nurse doing Red Cross duty at Camp Lee, Va., to a friend in Toledo. The nurse says:

“You can tell any nurse you see, for me, who could come in for this emergency that they will have to answer to Almighty God in this case if they do not offer their services for these boys, for it is awful. The salary is $75 a month and transportation.

“The influenza is no respecter of persons, for chaplains, officers, privates and civilians suffer alike. In all the years of my experience I have never seen anything like this.

“If the nurses who are keeping out for their own reasons could see this mass of poor suffering boys without half enough care I can not believe there is one of them, that there is a nurse living, who would not give her services for this emergency.

“No one who is not here can conceive how terrible it is. There are thousands of boys in the hospital now and during the last 24 hours 395 came in.

“Sixty nurses are now stricken and more are stricken each day. Four have died.”

              During World War I, the American Red Cross recruited an army of eight million female volunteers to provide support for the armed forces, primarily middle- and upper-class women with leisure time, and enrolled 24,000 nurses.

            In keeping with President Woodrow Wilson’s policies, the white professional career nurses who oversaw the program excluded married women and African American women from serving overseas in the Nursing Corps despite strong protests from progressives, but they were accepted as reserve members of the home defense program.

When the flu epidemic struck, according to the Influenza Encyclopedia, “Doctors at the John Marshall emergency hospital were so frantic that they temporarily put aside their prejudice and issued an open letter to all residents asking for nurses of any race or gender.” The Red Cross dispatched formerly disqualified married and black women nurses to care for stricken servicemen in military camps, including Camp Lee.

Perhaps Mrs. Wright, the YMCA activist, had mailed medical supplies or other goods to the camp hospital. Perhaps Mrs. Kennedy, the recipient of her parcel, was among those unsung Red Cross heroines who volunteered after their marital status no longer barred them from serving. Whether or not my speculation is correct, the postal history relic of their correspondence has led me on a rewarding educational journey.


Posted Apr 5, 20 15:52 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Spanish Influenza

Postings remind me of a story my mother once told: In 1918 when the Spanish flu was all the rage, my grandmother got sick and my grandfather had to do the laundry. So the white things came out looking dark and dingy. My grandmother asked how he did the washing and he replied he just washed everything together, including black socks. He got "what for" for that and wasn't allowed to forget it. Or do the laundry.

Posted Apr 5, 20 15:31 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Spanish Influenza

Coincident with the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic in the US was the inaugural airmail service, which began in May of 1918 and saw rate reductions thru December. Thus we have the three Jenny issues (C1-2-3), which have been my passion of collecting and study for over half a Century.

Some sources give early March of 1918 as the time frame for the earliest appearance of the Spanish Flu in the US from a military base in Kansas, probably from a 'doughboy' who had returned from the war front.

By late Spring and early Fall, many Eastern cities were seeing casualties in many thousands. Philadelphia was especially hard hit, as was New York, two of the main termini for the inaugural airmail service, yet mail delivery including airmail, continued. I have collected and referenced literally thousands of flight covers from the US 1918 era, but have yet to see any example with reference to that ongoing flu epidemic, whether handstamp, label of some type, etc.

Years ago Dan Mayo did show me non-airmail late 1918 surface mail examples bearing a handstamp which read something similar to "Flu Kills---Don't Spit!!"

Has anyone else seen any reference to the Spanish Influenza on 1918 or 1919 postings?

The 'masked' mailman posted earlier has been noted as taken October 16, 1918 in New York City. I've also seen reference to it from Denver.


Posted Apr 5, 20 15:09 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

re: transit Markings

Russ, That cover is pictured on p. 506 of my Chicago book. I still have the cover. You need to get a copy of my book -- I think it's still available.

Posted Apr 5, 20 13:21 by Steve Walske (steve w)

Admiral Hyman Rickover

My father worked closely with Rickover at the Pentagon in the 1960s. He told me a story about him that resonates to this day.

Rickover was interviewing a group of six Naval Academy graduates for a coveted position on his staff. The half-day concluded with a lunch in his elaborate private dining room, where the candidates were served steak. Four of them absent-mindedly salted their steak, and Rickover immediately asked them to leave the room. He told the two finalists that he didn't want to work with a person who salted his meal before tasting it...

Posted Apr 5, 20 13:16 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: transit Markings

Afternoon Leonard and all,

Have you ran across this form before? It is new to me. Russ


Posted Apr 5, 20 13:14 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Why not FAM 22?

When FAM 22 service began on 6 December 1941, the Post Office Department had listed 37 countries to which mail could be sent by that route (actually more than 50 destination countries when constituents of colonial federations such as French Equatorial Africa were counted, and when onward transits were taken into account to such destinations as Swaziland, Ruanda, Dubai, and similar others) — essentially all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Malta, Cyprus, Egypt, and the Middle East, all the way to Afghanistan, India, and Ceylon.

Conspicuously missing were the countries of French West Africa — Dahomey, French Guinea, French Sudan, Ivory Coast, Mauretania, Niger Colony, Senegal, and Upper Volta. That was because the colonial authorities of French West Africa were loyal to the Vichy French regime that collaborated with Nazi Germany, and remained so until the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942.

Although the United States was neutral with respect to the European war for the first six days of FAM 22 service, the routes within and beyond Africa traversed countries, dominions, and colonies under Allied control (and whose inaugural declared purpose was to facilitate the delivery of aircraft to beleaguered British forces in Egypt).



Posted Apr 5, 20 13:14 by Steve Walske (steve w)

A favor

Can anyone tell me which Pacific Mail Steamship Co. steamer arrived in San Francisco around October 18, 1865?


Posted Apr 5, 20 13:12 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

A FAM 24 cover?

Here is a cover to ponder. My conjecture might be wrong; I welcome alternative analyses.

Although it traversed a complicated route, which makes analysis uncertain, this 28 December 1942 cover from Paterson, New Jersey, to Niamey, Niger Colony, French West Africa, might have been carried to West Africa on a U.S. Foreign Air Mail route No. 24 (FAM 24) flight.

Had it been sent two months earlier, air mail service would have routed it on a FAM 18 flight to Lisbon, and from Lisbon to France, with onward air transport from Marseilles to Niamey by a French carrier, at a rate of 45¢ per half ounce. But after the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, Nazi Germany occupied all of France, and service from France to its African colonies ceased.

Had it been sent ten months later, a FAM 18 flight would have carried it from New York to Dakar, Senegal, for onward transport within French West Africa. But neither FAM 18 possibility existed at the beginning of 1943, after Allied forces had invaded Morocco and Algeria but had not yet won the North African campaign.

The sender endorsed the cover “VIA CLIPPER LISBON – BOLAMA,” evidently aware that Niger could no longer be reached via France, and that Niger was not a FAM 22 destination. But the Paterson post office nevertheless directed the letter to Miami, the FAM 22 gateway, perhaps mistaking Niger for Nigeria. After examination by a censor at Miami, a clerk at the Miami post office struck the cover with a routing endorsement, “NO SERVICE FROM MIAMI DISP. VIA ­N.Y.

FAM 18 Clippers from New York did call at Bolama, Portuguese Guinea, on their winter return route from Lisbon via West Africa and South America, but the Civil Aeronautics Board had forbidden Pan American Airways to transfer mail at Bolama for delivery to other African counties.

In this case, after being rerouted from Miami, the letter was backstamped 12 January 1943 at New York. It transited Lagos, Nigeria (ironically, a FAM 22 call) on 14 March 1943, and was marked there with a magenta censor mark.

But the governing officials at Niger remained loyal to Vichy France. They had closed the southern border to Nigeria and the western border to Chad, French Equatorial Africa, leaving no obvious route to landlocked Niger. The Free French censor mark of Cameroun is practical evidence that postal officials at Lagos had no way to send it across the Nigeria-Niger border.

So it went south instead. At Cameroun the trail goes cold. I’m not aware of an air connection between Cameroun and French West Africa in 1943, so I suspect it went the rest of the way by surface transport.

But if the cover went via New York and Lisbon, how did it get to Lagos? (Despite the two-month lag between the New York and Lagos datestamps, there was no trans-Atlantic surface ship option except via South Africa.)

One possibility is FAM 24, subject of my article “Foreign Air Mail route No. 24 during World War II” in the November 2014 United States Specialist.*

The POD had authorized American Export Airlines, under contract to the Navy Department, to transport air mail on FAM 24 effective 29 July 1942, “as often as operated on the route between New York, N.Y., and Foynes, Irish Free State, without expense to the Post Office Department, for the transportation of U.S. Mail and foreign transit mail eastbound from the United States and U.S. mail westbound . . .” On 15 October, the Civil Aeronautics Board amended the AmEx certificate of Convenience and Necessity to authorize “during the period from November 1, 1942, to May 31, 1943, . . . westbound via the intermediate points Bathurst, Gambia, and Port of Spain, Trinidad.” The route roughly paralleled the Pan Am westbound winter route, but with fewer intermediate calls. AmEx’s Vaught-Sikorsky VS-44A flying boats had a longer range than PanAm’s Clippers.

Neither the CAB C&N order nor the POD FAM 24 order forbade delivery of mail at Bathurst.

Although Gambia was and is surrounded by Senegal, it had no exchange with French Equatorial Africa, but did have air service from Bathurst to Lagos.

Can a Board member suggest a more likely route?


*Barbara Priddy committed the mistake frequently made by British scholars of assuming that if a U.S. foreign air mail route was operated under a military contract, the Post Office Department did not assign it a route number. She wrote, incorrectly, “As the service was operated under the auspices of the US Navy, this contract did not receive a FAM number. The first time that the airline carried mail under a contract (FAM-24) with the USPO was in October 1945, after it had been acquired by American Airlines.” (“The Other Company Concerned,” Air Mail News, May 2014.) In fact all U.S. trans-Atlantic mail routes during World War II were operated under War Department or Navy Department contracts, and almost all of them had POD route numbers. Pan Am flew FAM 18 routes under Navy contracts and FAM 22 routes under Army contracts; Transcontinental & Western Air operated the FAM 23 route under an Army contract; AmEx operated the FAM 24 routes under a Navy contract. But American Airlines’ North Atlantic service, under an Army contract, had no POD route number.


Posted Apr 5, 20 9:04 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Varioius responses

That's a great piece.  Interesting postal history and story of interest attached as well.  Keep showing all of the neat items you've picked up that have these points of interest.  I, for one, have appreciated seeing them.

Richard F,
Thanks to you as well for putting those exhibits out there and working on the Sperati pages.  I have not had as much time as I wanted to review them of late, but I am trying to do a little here and there.  So far, the design is easy to follow.  A worthwhile effort certainly!

Joe K,
Seeing the picture of postman wearing a mask during the flu pandemic is a good reminder.  People like to keep throwing the word 'unprecendented' out there.  They keep using that word, I don't think it means what they think it means....

Open Mail
To add to the conversation, I present an item that was underpaid, so the foreign mail clerk alertly changed the mail routing to go via British Open Mail.  In this fashion, they avoided wasting most of the postage that was applied the the letter.  I am curious if others have examples of open mail in the 1860's to Switzerland.  For that matter, I'd love to see open mail to any of the other European destinations form the US.



Posted Apr 4, 20 17:56 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWII Postal History

Who says that censors don't have a sense of humor?

Below is the front of a cover sent registered airmail from Berlin to New York City on March 12, 1940, during the "phony war" phase of WWII. It has a nice franking, three copies of the 25pf value of the Leipzig Fair issue, which was issued on March 3 of that year. The franking paid the printed matter rate (drucksache), plus the airmail and registration fees. An unusual rate combination that permitted the use of 3 copies of this stamp.

At the upper left, the cover is endorsed "Via P.A.A. by first Air mail Lisbon to New York without landing in Bermuda Islands." And of course the censor in Bermuda stamped their censor marking right over that endorsement.

Per the receiving mark on the reverse, the cover was received in NYC on April 2, 1940.


Posted Apr 4, 20 16:13 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

Elkins free circle

The last two letters that look like EE might actually be IL.

Edited to add: Maybe the cancel is from a Rail Road?

Posted Apr 4, 20 15:59 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Victory, Vermont (Mis)Remember the Spain!

One of those CDSs is FEB 15 1898.  This is the date the Maine blew up.  (Hyman Rickover wrote an analysis of this explosion and attributed it to a coal bunker fire, not to sabotage.  He does not get credit for his leadership in the area of Naval damage control in WWII -- U. S. became the best in this important area.  One reads about, for example, destroyers surviving horrendous damage in the Battle off  Samar (or sinking only after taking massive hits) or under kamikaze attack.  He had had only one sea command due to his religion and also his peculiar character.)

Posted Apr 4, 20 14:55 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Elkins free circle

I do not have an answer,  but there are two characters before the putative HART, so I don't understand the E HARTFORD idea.  I  have the following, not very convincing, matrix:  1) E (or F), 2) R (P, B), 3) N, 4) A, 5) P, 6) R (H, F, K).   This gets nowhere.
The shade in the image looks like a scarce odd shade from around 1864 or 63 which looks like a pink but is not.  It has a kind of violet or purplish tinge to my eyes.

Posted Apr 4, 20 13:34 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

From the past

Philadelphia mail carrier during the 1918 Spanish Influenza


Posted Apr 4, 20 12:34 by Mark Butterline (mbutterli)

Philatelic Show 2020 still accepting exhibits

Philatelic Show 2020 (Boxborough, MA) is still accepting multi-frame exhibits (OFEs filled). The new application due date is June 5, with the revised show dates being July 24-26. Obviously, the new show dates are dependent on the relaxation of travel and gathering restrictions.

See for more information.

Note that the Grand Award winner will be eligible for this year’s C-of-C in Hartford.

Thanks, Mark Butterline Co-Chairman Philatelic Show

Posted Apr 4, 20 5:43 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

New Exhibits

I just updated the exhibits page here to include links to these new exhibits:

Military Postal History of the 1858 Italian War (Walske, 3 frames)

Postal History of the 1862-67 French Intervention in Mexico (Walske, 3 frames)
The Very Short Official Life of E7, the “Merry Widow" (Gutman, 1 frame)    

Collection-mounted Presentation of Sperati Reproductions (Frajola, 212 page PDF file)

Posted Apr 3, 20 13:37 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Vin Fiz Flyer returns

The April 2020 monthly (April 20 weekly) edition of Linn's Stamp News, now on-line to subscribers, includes my Spotlight on Philately report, "Rare 25¢ Vin Fiz stamp on 1911 postcard is Calbraith Perry Rodgers' family heirloom."

"For the first time since 1930, a Vin Fiz Flyer stamp that has never been sold or publicly displayed comes into view."


Posted Apr 3, 20 12:19 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Scam email going around

There's been a scam email going around philatelic circles the last couple days that has the basic message "XXXX has shared a file with you using One Drive." This gets past ISP's spam filters and shows up as regular email. It looks real, but it isn't. Beware.

Posted Apr 3, 20 7:58 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Before WWI ...

... in 1859 there were French Forces in what is now Italy. Steve Walske's three frame exhibit as a PDF file is here.

Will do both this one and Mexico Intervention exhibits in long page form over the weekend.

Thanks Steve.

Posted Apr 2, 20 23:01 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWI Postal History

WWI-related postal history from German Offices in Morocco is very difficult to come by. In late 2011, Morocco was divided into three zones: Spanish, French, and International. Germany had post offices in 9 cities in the French Zone.

France closed the German post offices in the French Zone on August 4, 1914. Mail sent in August, 1914, or even on the last day of July, is only known from 3 of the 9 German post offices in the French Zone: Casablanca (latest known date August 2), Rabat (latest known date August 2) and Marrakesch (latest known date July 31).

Below is a registered cover mailed from the German PO at Marrakesch on July 31, 1914. It is addressed to Belgium. Initially, the cover was marked as undeliverable due to the war, as the German invasion of Belgium had started on August 4. Brussels was occupied by the Germans on August 20, and a German military government was set up on August 26.

The "zuruck" (Retour) marking was crossed out. The Coln-Deutz censor tape at the top supports the conclusion that the cover was delivered, although there are no receiving (or transit) markings of any kind on the reverse.


Posted Apr 2, 20 18:12 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)

Does anyone Know

The 2013 issue of the inverted Jenny in Scott is
defined as Lithographed and Engraved

I am trying to write up a page showing a PW fake, the authenrtic 1918 24c
stamp and also the 2013 US PO item

the PW fake is often considered as engraved in my opinion is not, the 1918
autentic is engraved

now on the 2013 i can not figure it out; yes the printing is raised but this can be
done with a filled ink,   now peal a stamp from the backing paper and the slick baking
paper is also raised on the surface but not on the back but on the back if you play with the light a slight indenture can perhaps be seen

how was it printed ?


Posted Apr 2, 20 11:29 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

Help on ms. cancel

Russell, I like No Stonington.

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