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Posted Jun 24, 18 6:14 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


These clauses are from a New York Times review of a book about To Kill a Mockingbird, but it applies to many of our exchanges here — "ubiquity and quality are not the same thing (and neither one is necessarily the same thing as importance)" — except that here the first word would be uniquity.

Posted Jun 23, 18 19:06 by Mohamed Nasr (mohamed_nasr)

C in Circle

MS Hsieh:

Glad to see you here:-) Welcome to the board!

Yes, the C in circle is a German censor. It was mainly used between Sep 1940 and Jan 1941. Colors used: black, blue, red or violet.

Posted Jun 23, 18 17:08 by Mike Ludeman (mml1942)

WW2 German Censorship

One of the best references for German Civil Censorship during WW2 is:

Die Zensur von Zivilpost in Deutschland im 2. Weltkrieg" (The Censorship of Civilian Mails in Germany during World War 2), by Horst Landsmann.

It is in German, but I got some decent translations support from the on-line "DeepL" Translator, which I thought did a better job than Google translate.

I found a copy on eBay.


Posted Jun 23, 18 6:44 by Ming-Shu Hsieh (mshsieh)

WW2 German censorship

Dear Ken Lawrence,

Thank you very much!

The meaning of this marking has bothered me for several months. I am so happy that I finally got the answer here. I checked another cover with similar marking and it is actually "Ag" not "Fg".

I have another postcard sent from China to Germany with violet "Ab" and "C" markings. Did this violet "C" marking also belong to German censorship markings?


Posted Jun 23, 18 6:07 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

WW2 German censorship

That's actually a poorly struck Ag marking for Vienna. The code was a = Konigsberg, b= Berlin, c = Cologne, d = Munich, f = Hamburg, g = Vienna, h = Berlin POW, k = Copenhagen, l = Lyon, n = Nancy, o = Oslo, t = Trondheim, x = Paris, and y = Bordeaux.

A stood for Ausland (foreign).

Posted Jun 23, 18 5:07 by Ming-Shu Hsieh (mshsieh)

German censorship markings

Dear sirs,

I am new to this board.

I hope someone can tell me the meaning of this violet circular "Fg" German censorship marking on this postcard, which was sent from Shanghai on April 10, 1943 to Sweden. I think this card was sent through Siberia, Turkey, then to Sweden. I have also seen covers sent from China to Sweden also tied by this violet "Fg" German censorship marking.

To my best knowledge, "Ab" represents Berlin and "C" seems to represent Wien. Both "Ab" and "C" markings can be seen on covers/cards sent from China to Germany or Wien.

Hope someone can give me information about its meaning.

Thank you!


Posted Jun 22, 18 20:54 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

StampShow 2018 Hotel Reservation - Columbus OH

Seems the APS show hotel is already sold out .............. again!

Does anyone happen to have a room reservation at the Crowne Plaza Hotel August 8th - 12th or August 9th - 12th that they are not going to use?

If so, I would be thrilled to assume the reservation.

Please email me at [email protected] if available.

Posted Jun 22, 18 20:06 by George Tyson (gtyson)

I think that importance is in the eye of the beholder - each of us has our own idea of what are the most important covers. In that regard, we are biased by our own collecting interests - and that's completely O.K. On the other hand, value is in the eye of the market. One individual doesn't determine what a cover is worth.

With regard to the issue of Bill Gross' collection, I'm not aware of any evidence that he is less knowledgeable or less passionate about what he has collected than many other very wealthy - and respected - collectors in the past. However, he differs from most of them in donating the very considerable proceeds from the sales of his collections to worthy charities. From my perspective at least, he has been nothing but an asset to our hobby.

Posted Jun 22, 18 17:31 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Importance and value

If you can convince someone to pay a million dollars for those important stampless covers, you've got a future in stamp dealing.

Also, if you'd like to trade the Blue Boy cover for those, deal.

Posted Jun 22, 18 16:08 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Contrived conjoined bisects

I've seen other Canadian Jubilee issue bisects (most all philatelic inspired) but none with a conjoined issue---the 1898 Map stamp (1899 use)


Posted Jun 22, 18 15:46 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Important vs Expensive

I think the first voyage Sirius and Great Western covers, each unique, would be examples of importance over dollar value, compared to the Blue Boy or the inverts. (I recently gave a talk on the greatest US baroque and classic covers -- a lot of them turned out to be stampless).

Posted Jun 22, 18 12:44 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Genuine JULY 1853 NEW-YORK postmark


Posted Jun 22, 18 12:29 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

NOT 1853 NEW-YORK year-dated

The cover with this stamp and cancel is currently being offered for sale on eBay (192572842995) together with a 2013 Philatelic Foundation certificate that identifies it as a genuine July 1853 NEW-YORK postmark. It isn't. It's a smudged or deformed 1857 postmark. The font of genuine 1853 postmark digits is significantly different from this.


Posted Jun 22, 18 10:18 by Paul Dessau ([email protected])

Pony Cancel

Thanks Richard :-)

Posted Jun 22, 18 9:40 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Pony Cancel

Paul - Possibly a use from Carson City, NV - compare with WFC handstamp on cover here.

Posted Jun 22, 18 8:34 by Paul Dessau ([email protected])

unusual cancellation

I recently acquired this pony express US Scott 143L3 with an interesting cancellation. Is it missing the central date lettering, or the word "Express" in textura font, or just a weak impression?


Posted Jun 22, 18 8:20 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

POW cover Returned to Sender

The POW formular lettersheet to Lt. Eldon Schmid was sent at the concessionary air mail rate on 3 August 1945, three days before the Hiroshima atomic bomb effectively ended the war and brought the POWs home. By that date there was no possibility of letters from America reaching Japanese POW camps in Asia. That's a significant feature of WW2 postal history.

Posted Jun 22, 18 8:19 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

War seen via postal history

Anyone interested in this area of philately should own "the Paper Trail," by Kees Adema and Jeffrey Groeneveld (RPSL, 2018, 699p.)

The authors use postal history and other paper artifacts to tell the story of the German invasion and occupation of the Netherlands in WWII. It is exceptionally well written and illustrated. A terrific book - I read it front-to-back and found it hard to put down.

Posted Jun 22, 18 6:21 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

WW2 Thailand and Burma

David S,

I think the answer depends on how you plan to build your collection. For myself, World War II is an epic that hasn't yet met its Homer or Virgil. I attempt to tell it through postal history, which requires gathering and arranging enough cards, covers, V-mails, Airgraphs, and other mailpieces to bring out the drama of each major high and low point while moving through the larger narrative. The story of the POW slave laborers who built the Death Railway through Burma and Thailand is legendary because of the fictional Bridge on the River Kwai motion picture, so it belongs in the collection. The great majority of those captives were British. A handful were Americans, including the Schmid brothers from Texas, members of the Lost Battalion. Letters to them are precious. My collection includes letters and cards to Ells (recorded in military archives as Ellis) and Eldon from their original deployment en route to the Philippines (coded named Plum), diverted to the Dutch East Indies, captured there, and as prisoners on the Burma-Thai Railroad. Dick Keiser appears to have the balance of that correspondence. Once it's gone, you probably won't see another chance to buy it.

Posted Jun 21, 18 23:13 by David Shawah (stampboran)

Bridging the Continents in Wartime

Dear Ken

sorry i missed your first reply i am on the road checking here intermittenly

i emailed Ken Sanford about ordering the book....thanks so much

i am also studying the several Covers offered by Dick Kieser as well...he has four letters listed in ebay to Lt you think its worth purchasing all of them eventhough only one is to Thailand and was returned to sender....the others to Burma

please let me know what you think

Posted Jun 21, 18 22:45 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

While my original post was not really about Bill Gross but rather how exposing stamps and collecting to 6 million or so views of the website was good for the hobby.

I will add to Ken's post the Bill Gross also donated well over $10 million to create one of the or the best Postal Museum in the world.

To use a worn out and charged metaphor philately is a village - it takes all kind to make it work.

Posted Jun 21, 18 20:36 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Steve C,

It's evident you haven't followed Bill Gross's investment newsletters for the past couple of decades, which often included philatelic commentary. Furthermore he has generously made his material available for public viewing, beginning with his Pacific 97 Court of Honor exhibit of his United States 1847 material, which was my first opportunity to study such treasures. (That was where he joined APS.) For profiles of similarly great collectors of past generations I recommend Stanley Bierman's two volumes of the World's Greatest Stamp Collectors. I've never met anyone who collects anything without knowing and caring a great deal about it. I know several who don't allow their collections to be viewed by strangers, but even they enjoy exchanges of philatelic knowledge.

Posted Jun 21, 18 20:03 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Philatelist definition


The decision to embark on such a project and then stick with it...seems to me that those two factors are enough to make one a notable philatelist.

Posted Jun 21, 18 19:50 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)

Philatelist definition

(Non constructive content deleted by RCF)

Posted Jun 21, 18 19:41 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Bankers Dispatch Corp.

The website sine nomine had this patch for sale.  The Bankers Dispatch courriers apparently wore uniforms!  What did those look like?!  And seem to claim to be the successors to the Pony Express!!  And, that they serve all of North America!!!  Could the formless yellow background be the universe itself?

Anyway, to prevent this fabulous item from falling into non-philatelic hands, I made the executive decision to buy it for $7.99 postage included (but not delivery by BD - that was 3c more).  I think this belongs in an exhibit of the BD stamps and covers.  If  anyone here wants it for that purpose - or has some other compelling need for it - let me know and it's yours for $8.99.

If there are more than one who really desire  this item -- it that possible?  -- I will deal with that if and when it arises.



Posted Jun 21, 18 19:11 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Comments about History Channel Piece

Reading the snarky comments here makes me feel even better about investing heavily in a media and communications firm to help promote the Gross sales to the general public. The History Channel story was a direct result of our efforts.

I wish the APS, ASDA and other collector organizations would do something to get exposure through a media outlet with a 7 million person audience.

Maybe a little less "critique" and a little more "do" would help show the broad public how fascinating philately can be.

Posted Jun 21, 18 18:32 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Most Valuable

The block of thirty of the 1847 probably last sold for order of magnitude $15000. Still, I would think it has, at least, substantial notional value. Was Charade a comedy? I recall it -- and that was over 50 years ago -- as a light thriller. (Yes, Aristotelean "comedy" -- the hero wins out in the end.)

Posted Jun 21, 18 18:32 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)


These are historic, but not exceedingly costly. Still very important historically. Tim


Posted Jun 21, 18 16:09 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Number 1 is not "Debatably the rarest stamp error in U.S. history."

And more than two blocks of four Jenny Inverts exist.

Posted Jun 21, 18 15:31 by Mark Rogers (markrogers)

Its good to see some publicity for stamps around the Gross sale.

I didn't, however, realize that the Hawaiian MIssionary was a US stamp.

Posted Jun 21, 18 14:50 by David D'Alessandris (davidd) Article

Glad to see that I have a copy of the #3 "most valuable" US stamp - if only that were true.  It isn't even my #3 most valuable US stamp  (and it isn't an almanac stamp either), 

Posted Jun 21, 18 14:38 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Interesting article.

Great to expose those interested in history to philately and collecting.

Posted Jun 21, 18 14:33 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: "Universal Service and the Postal Monopoly: A Brief History"

Farley and Ken,

Thanks for the education and pdf file. Boy, the information and statistics in this document is a fascinating summary of USPS operations.

Can anyone else share info on other similar covers, etc. ?


Posted Jun 21, 18 11:31 by David D'Alessandris (davidd)

RIP Quill v. North Dakota

The Supreme Court today overturned its 1992 holding in Quill that states cannot collect sales tax from a retailer without a physical presence in the state.  Look for sales tax to be collected on your upcoming auction invoices. 

Posted Jun 21, 18 10:50 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Bridging the Continents in Wartime

I posted the information yesterday. Ken Sanford reprinted the book. Buy it from him at Aerophil. Here again is the link.

Posted Jun 21, 18 10:41 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Bankers Dispatch Corp. and the Postal Monopoly

"Universal Service and the Postal Monopoly: A Brief History" is on line here . On page 15, it provides further info about the rulings that Ken referred to and states that "letters" were determined not to include " 'commercial papers' (for example, legal documents, contracts, mortgages, blueprints, maps, and stock certificates)".

Posted Jun 21, 18 10:37 by David Shawah (stampboran)

1939 Airmail Bangkok to Sweden with Palestine Censor

Dear Steven

thanks for the help

please see pic of the back side there are additional 45 Satang in stamps...nice block

do you know where i can find the book Bridging the Continents in Wartime by Hans E. Aitink and Egbert Hovenkamp....i have been searching internet with no luck....

any help and info is greatly appreciated



Posted Jun 21, 18 10:26 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Banker's Dispatch

No postage was required unless the envelope contained a letter. For purpose of the Private Express Statutes, the definition of a letter was different from the definition of first class mail sealed against inspection. The POD Solicitor was frequently called upon to rule on whether particular contents were subject to those statutes, which were published serially and then occasionally codified in a booklet titled (surprise!) The Private Express Statutes. Briefly, contents are considered letters if they include information upon which the recipient can be expected to take action or to refrain from taking action. If that envelope contained, say, only canceled checks, it probably wasn't a letter.

Posted Jun 21, 18 10:17 by Paul Dessau ([email protected])

cover question

Here is another cover with a "ticket dater" which helps date the NYC combination cancel. The 5 and 10 cent stamps may not belong.


Posted Jun 21, 18 10:01 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Basrah to Anvers

The sender of this letter could have been anywhere in the Arabian Gulf on a business trip and simply used his company stationery.

I doubt the letter went to Europe by sea. The distance from Basrah to Suez is 6,622 km, a 15-day sail at 10 kts. Add another day for canal transit. But Basrah to Haifa is only 1,510 km, the first third of which would have been by rail to Baghdad. Say one week total to Haifa.

Posted Jun 21, 18 9:56 by Mike Ellingson (mikeellingson)

Cover Question

John Flannery,

The marking on your Blackjack cover is not a postal marking, but rather a 'return address' type marking from a business, produced by (likely) a device made by Chamberlain, which used a ink ribbon.   They are sometimes called 'ticket-dater' markings, since they were commonly used by railroad agents in that time period.

I actually have one of the devices around here, and could post a picture later if needed.  One of Chamberlain's patent can be found here which should show what the device looked like.

Posted Jun 21, 18 8:00 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: Banker's Dispatch Corp.

Morning Farley and all,

Not sure about the shape or numbers. The numbers must have had some function but not sure what. Posted the item in hopes someone could at least tell me how the use of this service with its own postage stamps did not violate postal laws.


Posted Jun 21, 18 6:36 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)

Paquebot Cover from Dubai by Overland Mail


yes, thats another theory.

A shame that the cover doesnt have Baghdad transit at least.

Posted Jun 21, 18 6:24 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Maybe the letter went by ship from Basra to Europe despite the endorsement.

Posted Jun 21, 18 3:39 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)

Paquebot Covers, how where they handled by Postal Administrations

A friend of mine showed me a Paquebot cover send in 1928 apparently from Dubai (as per the senders Address on the envelope) via Paquebot to Belgium. As per the Transit Markings of Basrah/Iraq it entered the Iraqi Postal System on 22 July 1928 and then eventually carried to Baghdad for onward carriage by the Overland Mail Baghdad-Haifa thru the Syro-Iraqi desert and then to Belgium. The rate of 3 Annas however does not relate to the Overland Mail rate of 3 Annas postage plus an additional 1 ½ Annas Overland Mail surcharge that has been in place at the time the letter was sent.

Hence my question, did the Postal administration usually accepted short paid letters and sent it the requested faster and more expensive way even the rate was not paid for????


Posted Jun 20, 18 23:09 by John Flannery (jbfiii)

Cover Question

Does anyone have information on the date stamp and stamp cancel on this Black Jack cover?


Posted Jun 20, 18 22:23 by CJ White (cjwhite)

Bankers Dispatch Corp.

Farley -

1. Is the irregular yellow background shape supposed to represent anything?
As far as I can tell it just looks like a blob of color?  I'm not sure if I know of anything in particular it could represent.

2. What does 1411-1740 mean?
My first assumption was that it might be a control number.  When I was researching LA local expresses, most of them included printed control numbers (see photo attached).  However, on second thought that doesn't seem right in this case.  The numbers are the same on both labels.  Even if this was supposed to represent the number of stamps included in a single booklet, that would mean the labels were printed in booklets of 329, which sounds like a strange number of labels per booklet.

So all of that is to say... I don't really know.  I'd be interested to hear other theories.


Posted Jun 20, 18 17:49 by Barry Jablon (friday)

Volney Belknap

Volney B was Postmaster of North East, PA from Feb. 1869 through Feb. 1879, per the Official Register (Thanks to our host for making it accessible here!) I've become fond of his Masonic "seeing eye," and wonder if any of you have others of his cancels?


Posted Jun 20, 18 16:14 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Bankers Dispatch Corp.

Two questions-

1. Is the irregular yellow background shape supposed to represent anything?

2. What does 1411-1740 mean?


Posted Jun 20, 18 15:07 by CJ White (cjwhite)

re: more modern private mails - Bankers Dispatch Corp.

Those Bankers Dispatch Corp stamps are very interesting, Russ! 

I always enjoy seeing new private posts - so it sparked my curiosity.  From what I've found, this company operated primarily in the midwest (founded by Jerry Stergios out of Chicago.)  It started by delivering cancelled checks and other material between banks.  In one news article I found, it mentioned that a branch of the company (BDC Couriers) didn't even drive their own cars for the service - some used taxis to travel between banks.

Apparently by the 1970s the company also made small deliveries for stores, hospitals and factories.


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