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Posted Feb 21, 24 8:03 by Vince King (entechpres)

1954 Postal Card Due


Does card indicia being covered up have anything to do with it?? i.e. not treated as a card??

Posted Feb 21, 24 1:30 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

Feb 12th

Looks like the 12th to me?

Hard call !


Posted Feb 20, 24 20:40 by Stan Grove (alaskastan)

another favor to ask

The attached image is cropped from a cover I posted here on February 12. As long as I've owned this cover I've taken it for granted that the posting date was Feb 13. On looking at it more closely I'm not so sure that it isn't Feb 12. Anyone care to weigh in, perhaps with help of image enhancement?

Help appreciated.

-- Stan


Posted Feb 20, 24 20:26 by Stan Grove (alaskastan)

rate help

It wouldn't be the first time I've failed to properly employ the W-B charts, but this time I'm at a loss -- since the card rate in 1954 was 2c and the special delivery fee was 20c (as I read W-B), wasn't this mailing short by just 1c? Why was it assessed 3c due?


Posted Feb 20, 24 18:28 by Mohamed Nasr (mohamed_nasr)

30c Columbian

Bernard B., John B. & Stan G.- Thank you all.
Thinking about it more after your comments, I think that the line which looks like a backslash in the middle of the dark blob could be a foreign object that absorbed some ink creating the surrounding dark blob and also a "high spot" that left behind the uninked small area.

Posted Feb 20, 24 8:25 by William T. Crowe (wtcrowe)

Albert F. Chang

I received a text this morning from Scott Murphy of PSE that Albert passed away yesterday. Tom Mills called me last night to inform me also. It is my understanding that it happened during the trip between Phoenix and Las Vegas, but was not a car accident. I have no other details.

Albert was a difficult and unique individual who will be missed by many.

Posted Feb 18, 24 8:25 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Postal History Sunday

Postal History Sunday is available to all who might enjoy reading it.

Have a good day all!


PS - if anyone here wants to subscribe and you don't want to follow the "button trail," you may contact me off-board and I can add your email to the list.  I recognize that some people do not enjoy the various stages substack takes you through in the subscription process - and I can provide an alternative.


Posted Feb 17, 24 18:17 by Stan Grove (alaskastan)


I assume that the reason for this 7 oz. rate (+ 8c registry) on a small envelope is that it was sent by a Philadelphia coin dealer.

No evident marks recto or verso.


Posted Feb 17, 24 16:24 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Metal would not necessarily have left a mark.

Many of my age will recall that we used to send coins taped to boxtops for premiums offered by cereal and beverage brands.

Elevating and expanding that idea, in my Boy Scout days I knew clever a money collector who sent letters to small banks asking them to save scarce gold and silver certificates for him, which he offered to redeem for the equivalent amount of specie.

If that cover enclosed, say, silver dollars taped to a cardboard sleeve, I doubt it would look different from one that enclosed a thick stack of folded paper.

Posted Feb 17, 24 15:49 by David Handelman (davidh)

Rate problem

Thank you, Ron, for pointing this out. I had once again misread WB/BW.

Anyway at 3¢ per ounce, assuming the postal clerk erroneously allowed it to be sent with extra indemnity, there is one quite feasible possibility: $1 registration with extra indemnity and one ounce. Much less likely, since the envelope shows little stress, 85¢ and six ounces.

As for the possibility of bullion as suggested by Ken and others, I don't know whether this was allowed US to Canada (curiously, it was definitely allowed from Canada to US, if it was sent as a money packet, a type of higher-fee registration service with extra security but no indemnity). But if I posit a clerical error in the previous paragraph, why not here as well? However, surely enclosed metal would have left a mark on the envelope?

Posted Feb 17, 24 15:32 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Fabulous unlisted rarity

Is this stamp worth forty bucks or a million? I am inclined toward the former. Look very closely.

Posted Feb 17, 24 13:01 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

hi rate to Canada

Outside my period, but -- to a bank. High rates mid twentieth century are insurance for money (or bonds, etc?) Could this have been insured? (If so, maybe mismarked??? Was there some problem re insurance because cross boader??? 8 or 16 ounces of paper would definitely have stressed the envleope. The only alternative that comes to mind would be a sheet of gold or other precious metal, which seems unlikely.)

Posted Feb 17, 24 12:55 by Ron Blanks (rblankshistory)

Rate Problem

Wondering about that 2c per ounce rate to Canada 1949.. how is that known? It looks to be 3c for first-class... 78c/3c = 26 oz. Allow 30c insurance, 48c postage implies 16 oz.

["2c" is possible for Canada to US, or lesser important matter like printed matter from US to Canada, but these aren't applicable here.]

Posted Feb 16, 24 16:15 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Rate Problem

If the contents consisted of bullion metal instead of paper it might have weighed enough to require the postage.

Posted Feb 16, 24 13:46 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

The Blob

Stan, What a crazy beautiful idea. Note the vague connection with the flaking often seen on the 2 cent 1863-1869 (BJ). Brilliant.

Adddendum -- and John -- I didn't read that post initially.

Posted Feb 16, 24 9:25 by Stan Grove (alaskastan)

30c Columbian

In furtherance of Ken's observation, the dark blob and white area appear to be almost mirror images of each other. A bit of ink not adhering to the paper and then wiped over to the left? Would be interesting to see if the dark blob detaches easily.

Posted Feb 16, 24 8:46 by David Handelman (davidh)

Rate problem

Maybe someone can provide a better explanation than clerical error for this item.

There is $1.08 in postage on a 1949 registered legal size letter to Canada. RRR fee (5¢), and first class letter rate to Canada (2¢ per ounce), were the same as domestic.

I suggested (bottom paragraph in description in image) that the postal clerk treated this as purely domestic, and so allowed extra indemnity (not available to foreign countries according to WB); even so, it requires the letter to have weighed 9 ounces. The latter is possible, but not very likely, since the envelope does not show a lot of stress.

There is no evidence for other services, e.g., airmail (which would have been inefficient anyway, since Lakefield to Buffalo to Toronto hardly warranted airmail, and Canada had implemented all-up service by this time), special delivery, ...


Posted Feb 15, 24 16:11 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Dick Sheaff

Does anyone know what happened to Dick Sheaff? He is no longer a member of the Classics Society and my 2016 email address for him got no respoinse. Bernard

Posted Feb 15, 24 15:47 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

30 cent Columbian

Mohammed, the white blob northeast of the "0" was a high spot on the plate, so was wiped clean. That blob could have been a piece of detritus on the plate...

Posted Feb 15, 24 15:21 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Mohammed, I am not sure, but the geometry seems a bit more like a dribble of ink than plate damage. Note that damage is intaglio and dribbles are not, and sometimes one can tell by examining in slant lighting. (In extreme cases, damage will actually show up as paper deformation, as is sometimes seen on the big crack of Plate 2 of the one cent fifty one.

Posted Feb 14, 24 13:13 by Cary Johnson (fastmail)

1914 not so romantic valentine

Colorful 1914 patriotic, but not so romantic, valentine locally mailed to a Univ. of Michigan student on campus in Ann Arbor. Perhaps the letter was exciting? WWI would begin in Europe in a few months.

There are only 45 stars in the flag vs 48 in 1914 so this is a patriotic from the Spanish American War period circa 1898 and perhaps overstock in one of the stationery stores.


Posted Feb 14, 24 10:09 by George Tyson (gtyson)

Something different, continued

Here is the enclosure. The handwriting is hard to make out, so this is what it says:

A Soldier one day was asked of his luck / and replied as he took a good Swigger / I’ve got quite a String but the one on my hook / will be the best one for it is Biggar.

My guess is that the recipient droppped the sender as soon as she received this little token of his love.

By the way, Ralph Poriss used to own this Valentine.


Posted Feb 14, 24 10:05 by George Tyson (gtyson)

And now for something completely different

This "Valentine" (to use the term loosely) should be of particular interest to collectors of fishing themes.

I'll start by showing the dog of an envelope because you need to note the name of the addressee in order to appreciate the enclosure which I will post next.


Posted Feb 14, 24 9:54 by George Tyson (gtyson)

I will be faithful ever

Vince, it goes without saying that the envelope is beautiful but the card is truly exceptional, even by the high standards for Valentines.

Posted Feb 14, 24 9:30 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

Happy Saint Valentine

From Truman & Co's Express


Posted Feb 14, 24 8:07 by Mohamed Nasr (mohamed_nasr)


Thanks, Ken L.

Posted Feb 14, 24 6:14 by Kimberlee Fuller (kimberlee)

Collectors Club - "Early Belgian Auxiliary Markings and Labels" - Dr. Gregg Redner - 2/14/24 - 5:30PM EST

Good morning and Happy Valentine's Day! Nothing spells romance quite like postal history. You know, I met my husband at a stamp show, right?!...anyway, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you to attend our virtual program, scheduled for this evening, Wednesday, February 14, at 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST. Our guest speaker, Dr. Gregg Redner, will discuss "Early Belgian Auxiliary Markings and Labels".

The study of early Belgian auxiliary markings and labels during the period 1892 to 1910 has been left largely untouched by philatelists and researchers. To date, there have been only two limited studies conducted - one in Flemish and the other in French. Join Dr. Gregg Redner as he leads us through this fascinating and challenging collecting area, sharing research which has been carried out over fifteen years. The presentation will include a discussion of the first three generations of Belgian auxiliary labels, as well as thoughts on the appearance of ‘unauthorized’ auxiliary handstamps, which challenged the postally mandated use of these labels.

If you haven't registered already, please click here or copy and paste the link below into your browser or visit our website:

You do not need to be a member of the Collectors Club to view the presentation. Anyone may join!


Posted Feb 14, 24 4:26 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


I think it's a flaw caused by foreign matter between the paper and the plate. If it were a relief break, it should not have a dark shadow left of the colorless area.

Posted Feb 13, 24 22:04 by Vince King (entechpres)

I Will Be Faithful Ever_Card



Posted Feb 13, 24 22:02 by Vince King (entechpres)

I Will Be Faithful Ever

My favorite from the UK in 1857, highly embossed and tied by London / 78 duplex.


Posted Feb 13, 24 19:38 by joe kirker (centuryc3)


Actively seeking a copy of the RED bound copy of the first 5 volumes of the AERO PHILATELIST NEWS (1946-1950) Gold lettering---NOT THE MORE FAMILIAR Black Edition (Vols, 1-8) which came out later. Both are scarce---only 50 or so were printed in the early1950's. Contact me off board if preferred.

None are located at APRL (RED copies) Joe

Copy shown here is ex-Richard S. Bohn


Posted Feb 13, 24 18:55 by Mohamed Nasr (mohamed_nasr)


Here's a normal stamp.


Posted Feb 13, 24 18:52 by Mohamed Nasr (mohamed_nasr)


A plate flaw or just a printing freak?


Posted Feb 13, 24 16:12 by Mark Rogers (markrogers)

Another Valentine

The possibility of this being a postal employee occurred to me as well.

Posted Feb 13, 24 15:27 by George Tyson (gtyson)

Another Valentine

I assumed from the ink and placement that the date was applied by the sender. I also considered the unproveable possibility that the Valentine was sent by the Postmaster or a postal clerk. It was the addition of the date that made me consider that. One perplexing point is that although the date, arrow and heart, and the address are all done very carefully, the M-A-R-Y seems more crude. (My wife is reading this post as I type it and she is questioning why I bother with such minutia. I told her that minutia is the life blood of this hobby.)

Posted Feb 13, 24 13:17 by Mark Rogers (markrogers)

Another Valentine

The thing that I like most about the exploded 3c Valentine is that the sender went to the trouble of spelling out "M-A-R-Y" in each corner of the exploded 3c stamp.

There may be no town postmark on this, just the date of use, but the sender took care of pre-cancelling all of the pieces of the stamp!

Posted Feb 13, 24 10:06 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)


This is not a flashy Valentine, but note the message at the bottom! Hard to read, but it says, "If you don't, I'll die". Primrose envelope from Wilmington, DE, to Chester, PA, postmark 15 February.

Assume the question was "be my Valentine".


Posted Feb 13, 24 9:40 by George Tyson (gtyson)

Another Valentine

This Valentine might or might not have gone through a post office although the envelope was sealed and when it was sold by Siegel several years ago it was described as probably having entered the mail. If it did, it was almost certainly a drop-letter that was overpaid if it was paid at all. (The mutilated stamp shouldn't have been accepted as postage although most examples of this type were.) Although most drop-letters from this time period have a town and date marking, I have several examples that lack them and technically they weren't required. That's because no date marking was needed because the letter wasn't leaving the post office in which it was deposited. And no town marking was needed because there would be no destination post office that needed to calculate the distance that had been traveled in order to verify the rate. (The envelope still contains the original Valentine enclosure but I'm not showing it because it's nothing special.)


Posted Feb 13, 24 9:39 by Mark Rogers (markrogers)


The enclosure is pretty.


Posted Feb 13, 24 9:39 by Mark Rogers (markrogers)


One I've had for decades. A Feb usage of a top row plate 4 Ty II stamp (#7), 8L4.


Posted Feb 13, 24 9:28 by Daniel M. Knowles (eastendfan)


Appleton's Valentine Express offered hourly delivery of valentines in San Francisco for 14 days. This one is addressed to a young woman in the "City". This is the only recorded example of which I am aware.


Posted Feb 13, 24 9:24 by Daniel M. Knowles (eastendfan)


Frey's Valentine Express provided local San Francisco Valentine delivery service during 1864-1865.


Posted Feb 12, 24 17:44 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Feb 13

is International Condom Day. Really.


Posted Feb 12, 24 17:03 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Feb 12

120 years ago, 12 February 1904, my father was born in a farmhouse without running water or elecctricity. It was also Abraham Lincoln's 95th birthday. Dad always said thats why he became a life long Republican, because of the shared birthday. Happy Birthday Dad and Abe.

Posted Feb 12, 24 16:56 by George Tyson (gtyson)

Marysville Valentine

Thanks, Mark. That's the kind of additional information that I really like.

Tomorrow I'll post a Valentine that was most likely another overpaid drop-letter but with no town/date marking.

On Valentine's day, I will post what is likely one of the most misconceived homemade Valentines in recorded history.

Posted Feb 12, 24 16:30 by Stan Grove (alaskastan)

Lincoln's or Valentine's?

Mailed Feb 13, this could have been a day late for the then president's birthday, or a day early for Valentine's Day arrival --


Posted Feb 12, 24 15:48 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)


My favorite CSA Valentine, think i have shared it befoe


Posted Feb 12, 24 14:34 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Speaking of valentines

In his 1887 book History of the Postage Stamps of the United States of America, John K. Tiffany wrote about the 5¢ James A. Garfield memorial stamp of 1882:

"From the correspondence columns of the daily papers, we learn that the [Post Office] Department received the first invoice of these stamps at Washington, the 7th of February, 1882, and that it was expected to begin the issue the 1st of March, following.  [Philadelphia stamp dealer] Mr. [Leonidas W.] Durbin obtained some copies which he used on St.
Valentines day. But the stamps were not distributed from the offices until the 10th of April, 1882 and were then sold only as the supply of the old ones was exhausted."

Ever since I first read Tiffany's book, I have thought that if one of Durbin's covers has survived, it would probably have been saved for the valentine, not for the stamp, so it might turn up outside normal philatelic circles.

In the lingo of today's first-day cover specialists, Durbin's 14 February 1882 covers were "predates" of the yellow brown 5¢ Garfield stamp, Scott 205. The Scott catalog lists the current EDU date as Feb. 18, 1882, which also would be a predate, but the Siskin Berkun compilation states, "All of these stamps sold prior to April 10th are the first series of special printings. Printed 2/7, 2/10 and late February."

I don't know why that should be so. In his 1902 book The Postage Stamps of the United States, John N. Luff presented the opposite view:

"The stamp was issued on April 10th, 1882, and the special printing was doubtless made soon after that date. The soft porous paper, on which the ordinary stamps of the period were printed, was also used for the special printing. The color is a light brownish gray and the impression is very clear and sharp, while that of the regular stamps is usually soft and slightly blurred. The special stamps were not gummed."

Besides that, lot 294 in Robert A. Siegel's sale 511 (April 19, 1977), also noted by Siskin, had this description:

"5c Brown (205). Well-Centered, Deep Shade, affixed to Official POD Form dated Feb. 10th, 1882 & reads "This Stamp is from the first sheet printed and one of the first sold by the Department." This stamp was given in favor, as they were not placed on public sale until April 10, 1881 (see Brookman Vol. III, p. 18). A Rare Historical Item." But a stamp sold earlier than the officially authorized date is not a special printing.

Tiffany described the production in this narrative:

"Soon after the death of President Garfield, it was proposed that his portrait should be placed on the five cent stamp used for foreign postage, and the stamp printed in mourning, as was said to have been done with the fifteen cent stamp, then used for foreign postage, after the death of President Lincoln. The stamp with the head of Taylor, it was said had been hurridly gotten up, and did not correspond with the rest of the series. By direction of Postmaster General James, the American Bank Note Co. therefore prepared the new stamp, after a photograph of President Garfield. Mrs. Garfield was consulted, and proofs in various colors were, it is said, submitted to her. Instead of black, she finally selected a vandyke brown. The first proofs were in black, and at the request of Mrs. Garfield it is stated, the Postmaster General sent one of them, mounted on card and placed in a frame of silver, surrounded by a second frame of gold, on a background of purple velvet, and protected by a glass in an ebony frame, to Her Majesty, the Queen of England."

If one of Durbin's 1882 valentines can be found, it will belong in the Pantheon of United States rarities.

Posted Feb 12, 24 11:10 by Mark Rogers (markrogers)


George - nice Valentine. The Marysville cancel with that is pretty cool.

I thought I'd mention, for whatever its worth, that it could not have been mailed before Feb 1858. That is based on the 3c stamp on the cover, which has an EDU of 2/28/57. Of course it could have been used later than 1858.

Many of these Marysville cancels are on undated covers, which makes narrowing down exact year of use a bit difficult.

Posted Feb 12, 24 10:40 by George Tyson (gtyson)


I have three Valentines to share so I'll post one today, one tomorrow, and one on Valentine's day. (Besides, these examples are from a time period when Valentines were sent throughout the month.)

This Valentine envelope is from Marysville, CA. The CDS reads February 16. I am showing it because of the fancy cancel and the fact that Valentines from the West are scarce during this time period.

I might add that over-paid Valentine drop letters were fairly common during this time period. Perhaps the senders were concerned that their Valentine was over-weight. Perhaps they thought that over-sized envelopes paid a higher rate. Perhaps they weren't familiar with the drop-letter rate. Or perhaps they didn't want to risk that the object of their desire would be charged for an underpaid Valentine.


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