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Posted Nov 18, 19 20:13 by David D'Alessandris (davidd)

Help Wanted - Via Panama

I'm working on a census of illustrated "Via Panama" covers.  Please share any images that you have of preprinted via panama directional endorsement covers.  I have gone through the on-line auction catalogs, the Ashbrook photo archives, etc.  Since there is already a census of the San Francisco News Letter covers, I'm not including them in my census.  Thanks in advance for any help.


Posted Nov 18, 19 18:10 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

20th Century to Switzerland

Letter addressed to

Mr Otto Antenen
48 Tillierstrasse
Berne, Switzerland

via S.S. Aquitania

I assume the red pencil was used to cancel the stamp.

Posted Nov 18, 19 16:49 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Steamboat cover

Bernard's steamboat cover is apt evidence that good things occasionally turn up on EBay.

Yes, a lot of junk appears there, and yes, there are some sellers who are uninformed and/or devious. But I have owned many examples of why it's worth being patient and spending the time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Trolling on EBay is no different from sorting through a dealers' junk box. Remember a few years ago when an alert troller found a U.S. 1851 Type I stamp (pos. 7R1E) in a junk box and bought it for a pittance?

Posted Nov 18, 19 16:18 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Payment by coin

Somewhere it is written that people would throw the coin in the drop box along with the cover -- not attached. And some parasites would throw in a cover with a paid by coin notation in the hopes of free riding someone elses's coin. Are there no limits to human perfidity?

Posted Nov 18, 19 16:16 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Very Late Use of 1857 on Reay

Ken -- thanks for alleviating my concerns.

Posted Nov 18, 19 14:57 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Help asked on 20th (gasp) century cover

Another ebay thing -- a weak addition to my fancy manuscript cancel collection. Could some 1930s maven fill me in on what the markings (or lack thereof) mean. Verso has only the return address --- c/o Mrs. P. Otticker (or Ottiker?) Box 43 Coytesville, N. Jersey


Posted Nov 18, 19 14:48 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Unique NY/Hartford steamboat cover

Here is a recent unique ebay goodie. New York april19th 1841. It was too late to bag the letter. There are two possibilities -- it was handed back for hand deliver to the mail boat, or it was sent outside the sealed bag, but By The PO, to the steamboat. I should note that very rare covers are known sent as late mail steamboat letters from NYC with NY (that is, town of origin rather than town of "entry") Steamboat markings. This one has the Hartford marking. (Entry meaning the first PO to actually waybill the letter or else, if destination, to deliver it.) The late mail SB letters are an extension of the late mail "way" letters that go back to the 18th century. They can be hard to identify, but in some cases, despite being unwaybilled, they were marked up at the PO.


Posted Nov 18, 19 14:25 by Cary Johnson (fastmail)

Michigan Trime

Here's one from Hillsdale, Mich 1853


Posted Nov 18, 19 7:34 by David D'Alessandris (davidd)


Glen - there are a number of trime cancels listed in the Simpson Alexander book U.S. Postal Markings 1851-61 in the chapter with fancy 3 cent rate markings.  You can download the book for free from the USPCS Webpage here

Posted Nov 18, 19 4:36 by Glenn Estus (gestus)


Matthew Liebson:

I have done a search and a browse of all the Chronicles that are on the Classics Society's webpage. No information/article about Trimes.

Posted Nov 17, 19 21:44 by Chip Gliedman (cgliedman)

Paid by coin

Not quite cancelled by a trime, but paid by a trime.



Posted Nov 17, 19 19:54 by Matthew Liebson (liebson)

I'd expect that there may have been an article in the Chronicle at some point...

Middlebury Ohio unlisted example.


Posted Nov 17, 19 18:51 by Richard Frajola (frajola)


This was a favorite of mine when it resided in my paying the postage collection.

Now it is probably destined to stay in the numismatic world as a rare pattern.


Posted Nov 17, 19 18:31 by Glenn Estus (gestus)

Trime Coin

A picture of a Trime


Posted Nov 17, 19 18:28 by Glenn Estus (gestus)

US Cancels: Trime

A trime was a 3c US silver or nickel based coin from the 1850-1870s originally minted to make it oonvenient for postal patrons to pay the new 3c postage rate introduced in 1851 in the US.

A few post offices used a cancellation based on the Trime.

I have collected these cancels for a number of years and now that I'm having major medical problems, I have the time to expand my knowledge/collection. I have search a number of publications for any articles about trime, but to no avail. I have gone through the America Stampless Cover Catalog and found a few notations there.

Does any one know of other references that they could point me to.

Here's what I currently have in my database. The "x" means I have a copy in my collection.

Eutaw Alabama Fairfield Iowa p. 99 ASCC

Lowville New York x red New London New York Milgram Exhibit page 122, C III / PAID in Circle

Rome New York x

Watertown New York x blue cds, manila envelope to Williamson, NY

Madison NewYork x blue

New Hartford NewYork replica of trime coin

Clarksfield Ohio x red cds

Massillon Ohio x blue cds

Houston Texas x red cds. PF certificate

Craftsbury Vermont Vermont Philatelist 8/95 need

East HardwickVermont Vermont Philatelist 8/95 need

Felchville Vermont Simpson's book need

Hardwick Vermont x VP 8/95, 2/65, blue, double circle ornimented

So. Craftsbury Vermont x VP 8/95, 2/65, blue,

So. Hardwick Vermont x VP 8/95, blue, double circle

Waterloo Wisconsin Milgram Exhibit page 122, C III / PAID


Posted Nov 17, 19 16:36 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

London 2020


I wouldn't bother - the judges will assess what's in the frames. They don't have time to look back at what you used to have, and some judges may never have seen your earlier version.


Posted Nov 17, 19 6:00 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)

London 2020, International Stamp Exhibition, 2-9 Mai 2020

The acceptance letters for London 2020 exhibition where mailed (at least to German applicants by the German Commissioner) yesterday.

My Overland Mail Baghdad-Haifa exhibit was accepted, of course I am happy.

My Question, how other exhibitors handle exhibit additions? In German local shows additions are requested to mention in the application but at FIP shows it seems this is not needed or required.

Is it advised to mention major additions / enhancements in the Synopsis or is counterproductive?

Posted Nov 16, 19 18:02 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

US/France 1860's

Speaking of feedback.

Some time ago I mentioned I was trying to use a blog to help me get notes and thoughts together on postal history, etc of interest to me.  In a couple of instances, it has led to an eventual published article - one just has to realize that writing style must be different between the two venues.

My goal, at this stage, is to try to find a way to introduce the given topic to the audience in an accessible, yet accurate, manner. I don't know that I break ground with new discoveries, but I don't necessarily see that as the purpose of this writing.

I feel that this one: Letter Mail US/France in the 1860's is close to where I want it to be.  If you are willing to give feedback to me on this I will take it either as comments in the blog or via email.

Again, it is important to me that I am accurate and correct in what I say, while making it accessible to those who are not familiar with the topic.

My thanks,

Posted Nov 16, 19 18:00 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Sperati site

Rob - hold your fire please ...

As I wrote someone yesterday:

"The "lexicon" will not be done in the very short term as I my anticipated order is: to get first pass of Sperati images up first (and I have all the big countries left to do), then a second pass adding text on characteristics that I omitted during the first couple weeks, then a webpage on technique with examples, then probably the lexicon, then a country by country edit adding genuine images."

Posted Nov 16, 19 17:53 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Sperati site


That isn't just a little progress!  Well done, sir.

I find the Sperati Notebook a nice addition as well as the links to articles/references.  so, much to look at there.

Do you wish feedback at this stage if there is any to give?

Posted Nov 16, 19 16:01 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Buenos Aires Barquitos etc

The new Sperati site has been growing rapidly over the last three weeks. I just uploaded the Buenos Aires page here. Up to about 90 different "country" pages now live.

Includes one of my favorite classic issues, the "barquitos" (small boat) stamps of Buenos Aires. The Sperati section is highly interesting to me as it includes printed on both sides, tete-beche, proofs, exposure trials and a painted tracing that served as a model for one of Speraiti's forged cancels.

Posted Nov 16, 19 15:12 by Ken Stach (kenstach)

Wells Fargo

Bernard - Legit, in my opinion. Triple rate cover, with only one express fee paid by the printed frank. Thus, the Collect for the additional two express fees (US postage paid by the two tied three cent 1857 issue adhesives).

Posted Nov 16, 19 14:46 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Opinions requested -- Wells Fargo with old stamps

Western expresses not an area I have studied. Could this thing be real (Reay a 1970 issue and the 1857s had been out of use for a long time. Also, what about the Collects and penciled due marking?)

Sorry about the orientation problem.


Posted Nov 15, 19 16:31 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Steve C,

Your terminology is half wrong. Both sheet stamps and booklet stamps were printed from flat plates in 1917 and 1918. Rotary press coil stamps began earlier, but rotary press sheet and booklet stamps, later.

Because the grain orientation on flat-plate sheet stamps is vertical, leaving the horizontal dimension to shrink as it dries after printing, while the grain orientation on flat-plate booklet stamps is horizontal, leaving them to shrink in the vertical dimension, sheet stamps are taller and narrower than booklet stamps.

If the stamp on that cover is a booklet stamp (it probably is), and because the margin appears to be wide enough to show at least the edge of a guide line if one had been present, that one cannot be from a 30-subject AEF booklet pane, so it must be from an ordinary six-subject pane.

Posted Nov 15, 19 16:27 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

"Sale of a Stamp Collection"

Stumbled across while looking for something completely different ----


Posted Nov 15, 19 15:56 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)


John: The technique is to determine the aspect ratios for a stamp of which you only have an onscreen, not one in hand. What I actually do is to take a flat plate stamp with the corners removed (ala Ken Lawrence) and place it on top of the screen while I adjust the image size so the printed top and bottom frames of the image match those of the overlaid stamp ( you have to adjust using the diagonal prompt so that the image aspects keep the same ratio top-to-bottom and side-to-side). If the left and right boarders line up the image is of a flat plate stamp. If the image is wider than the flat plate it is rotary. Using measurement of top to bottom and left to right and determining the ratio with respect to that of a rotary stamp doesn't seem to work as well. I have used the overlay method with excellent success.

Posted Nov 15, 19 15:23 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


I'd put the ruler next to the stamp and scan them together.

Posted Nov 15, 19 14:23 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)

AEF booklet followup

Having laid hands on the AEF cover talked about recently it appears the right side of the stamp was not just rubbed down but was actually a straight edge, hence not certifiable. However, the technique of copying an image from the net, putting it into a format such as Word where it can be size adjusted, and measuring LR and TB aspects with a ruler or other defined known measurements actually works.


Posted Nov 15, 19 5:57 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


As is Bill Crowe, John. Steve Frumkin's closing line — "Has anyone ever heard Bill C refer to himself as an expert? I rest my case." — prompted my response.

Posted Nov 14, 19 18:57 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


But you are a special case, Ken. Because you expertise on a professional basis, it's important for your profession to be known as an expert in the relevant fields.

Conversely, there are collectors out there who are the leading experts in narrow areas, and are known for their skill and experience only by specialists who collect that area. They keep a low profile, seldom or never publish, and make no public claims about their talent.

Posted Nov 14, 19 18:15 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


John, Had I not called myself an expert, and provided evidence to support my claim, I could not have provided expert testimony in litigation that required my philatelic testimony.

Posted Nov 14, 19 15:17 by John Barwis (jbarwis)



I interpreted Frumkin's remark differently. Considering oneself an expert is different from referring to oneself as one.

Posted Nov 14, 19 12:16 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Does anyone besides Steve Frumkin think that members and managers of expert committees who expertise stamps and covers do not regard themselves, and are not regarded by others, as experts? I see no other hands raised.

Posted Nov 13, 19 21:01 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)

China stamp experts

Richard: If you can't tell if its an 8 or a 3 and there is no way to corroborate then it is what it is and you just can't tell (same problem with Os and Cs, Ss and 5s, etc.). I would go with a 3 because there is lateral ink on the 1 that would have filled in part of the 8 front edge if there was metal there to ink (ie no corresponding blank area on the 1). As to whether it is a date I leave that to the experts who can decipher the mark.

Steve: I know I had something good when the dealer I sell to carefully peels a stamp out of the album with forceps and puts it in his checkbook for his own collection. ;>}

Posted Nov 13, 19 20:37 by Jeff Brahin (brahin)

Via Brindisi

John and Rob:

Thanks for your suggestions. John, I actually just borrowed Reg Kirk’s The Postal History of The P&O Service to the Peninsula, which discusses the inception of the Marseilles route, from the APRL. I’ll borrow the one you recommended. Rob, Iwas recently referred to the Moubray book in a recent discussion regarding the Colonial credit. I’ll borrow that one as well. Thanks again!

Posted Nov 13, 19 20:04 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

"China experts"

Can any of them tell me if the apparent "13" is the year or (a) something else, (b) not a "13"? That is more relevant to me than whether the marking is from China (I see those all the time on parcel post stamps). ;-)

Posted Nov 13, 19 19:13 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

China Experts

Regarding Bill C's tongue-in-cheek reference earlier today regarding China experts on the board, I suspect he was referring to DB, JB, RF, and presumably me. The three of them may have too much class to make the following statement, but I have no hesitation in doing so, following this next paragraph.

I've personally known and worked with many individuals whom I considered China experts such as Beckeman, Mizuhara, Holcombe, Alevizos, Chow, and Prescott. Never heard any of them refer to themselves as an expert.

If you ever hear someone refer to themselves as a China expert, I suggest you count your fingers, make sure your wallet is still in its proper location, run (do not walk) in the opposite direction, then check the fingers and wallet once more. Wouldn't doubt there are exceptions to this rule of thumb, but I haven't seen any in more than 40 years.

One more piece of advice for SC and anyone else: All manner of special Chinese items including important undiscovered varieties are sitting, unrecognized for what they are, in collections here in the US. Since China's apparently not your main area, you might want to consider accumulating the China from miscellaneous lots you buy and then selling the accumulation in a good auction. This is based on the combination of personal experience and a slogan I saw many years ago on the side of a Heating & Airconditioning specialist's truck that drove by in 1984: Let a Trained Professional Put It In.

Has anyone ever heard Bill C refer to himself as an expert? I rest my case.

Posted Nov 13, 19 16:27 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Bernard - - and of course, the incorrect street spelling of Cambers which should be Chambers.

Posted Nov 13, 19 12:25 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

New York

In early times there were three ways to get posted letters in NYC -- mail carrier (common from about the 1760s, free beginning 1863), rented box, or general delivery. This letter from Terre Haute has two unusual markings. The blue 3 is probably from Terre Haute and may mean that the postage was paid in cash (or credit) but the stamp put on by the office. The address (note the German style hand -- Terre Haute was a significant beer town and had, at one time, two of the world's largest breweries. When I visited occassionally in the 1950s -- grandfather and other relatives -- it stunk, but I think due to a paper mill.) I have seen on one or two incoming or local NYC covers from the mid 1800s a black penciled "Box." I wonder about the exact mechanism involved, but apparently this had to do with preventing unwanted carrier delivery to a box holder. This or these did not have a Box number indicated initially or with the added note. Perhaps the black "B" on this cover is the same thing. Note that the shade (my reference material is in storage) is compatible with 1863-5 or maybe 6 -- likely after carrier delivery was free and one motivation for blocking it was obsolete.


Posted Nov 13, 19 11:16 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Hahn/Zimmerman Cats

Jim, I think if you see one of the two, you will get the picture. I think descriptions have expanded since the early 70s. Also, a lot of those were group lots -- Reusielle had myriad covers and they were perhaps not as desirable as they are now (or were 5 years ago).

Posted Nov 13, 19 10:05 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Zimmerman Catalog

Jim - I will gift you my copy of #30. Email me your postal address please.

Posted Nov 13, 19 9:43 by Jim Baird (bairdo)

Zimmerman auction cats

There was brief mention (in the morass of China gum) of two Zimmerman auction catalogs featuring transatlntic material described by Cal Hahn. Richard identitied one as his 30th auction, Oct 31, 1973.  Perhaps the other was sequential.  Does anyone know - and have duplicate copies?

I am working on sale of all of my SB collection through Schuyler Rumsey and would frankly like to see Cal's take on how to handle transatlantic material.



Posted Nov 13, 19 8:06 by William T. Crowe (wtcrowe)

Shanghai Postmark

Richard Matta:

There are many China experts on this board, but based on the Mizuhara book your cancel appears to be his "Arrival Date Stamp Type III" which was in use from 1910 to 1922 and is illustrated on page 83. The device also appears to have been used as a favor cancel as illustrated on page 89 of the same book. There he shows a complete set of the unathorized overprints all cancelled with a Dec 9, 1913 version of this cancel.

Posted Nov 13, 19 7:16 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

25c parcel post used in Shanghai

I spent a couple of $$ on this thinking it might be a 1913 use - further examination and retroreveal show it to be a Shanghai receiver postmark. Which brings me back to my original question - it looks like a "13" not "18" - but is it a year date?


Posted Nov 12, 19 21:02 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

via Brindisi


The easiest source is Reg Kirk's 1989 book, "Australian Mails via Suez," The Postal History Society, Appendix 3, pp. 274-284.

This includes the Italian packet company's tender for the packet contract and subsequent GPO responses and postal notices, a map of the overland route, and examples of covers.

The APRL probably has this book, and will send you scans if requested.

Posted Nov 12, 19 20:33 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Brindisi route

Jeff B,
Have you read Moubray yet?

Posted Nov 12, 19 20:31 by Jeff Brahin (brahin)

Research Request - Raguin

Winston and Leonard - thanks for getting back to me. I am attempting to write an article that, in part, discusses the demise of the Marseilles route in 1870 for British mail to the Far East, as well as the inception of the Brindisi route, and I was hoping to quote the original British Post Office notices. Oh well. But now that I’m on the Board, I would be grateful if anyone could identify some good reading material on these subjects. I’ve already consulted Winter, Laurence, all relevant Chronicle articles, the US Post Office Assistant, and a couple of other sources. Thanks!

Posted Nov 12, 19 20:04 by ken harrison (westpaper2)

Wide Format printers

There are a lot of great and inexpensive printers out there. The large scanner surface is a good thing too. I always lean toward Epson or Brother

Posted Nov 12, 19 20:02 by Matthew Liebson (liebson)

Roger - that would make sense.  4x the 18 3/4 rate (150-400 miles) would get you to 75 cents. 

Posted Nov 12, 19 18:15 by Roger Rhoads (roger rhoads)

75 cent Postage

I have a folded envelope sent from Painesville, OH to Urbana, OH (204 miles via Google maps) in 1836 that appears to have originally held legal papers. Would that rate be for 4 pieces of paper (3 enclosed+1 for the envelope)?

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