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Posted Sep 17, 19 13:00 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Illegal Use of US Stamps From Canada

Bernard is correct in the law effective 1 July 1851. Here are two covers from Canada, one accepted one not accepted.


Posted Sep 17, 19 10:47 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Postage Due -- stamps abroad

Under the 1851 agreement with Canada, the only stamps of the country of mailing were considered valid, but they made a little agreement that they would leave the recognition or not of destination country frankings up to the destination country. Richard had one such that passed successfully in a sale, probably around 1983 or so.

Incidentally, those covers with dues used as postage -- if they were put on by the sender rather than a demented clerk -- how did the public get unused valid postage due labels?

Posted Sep 16, 19 22:25 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Postage Due paid with coil

Postage due paid with coil for excessive writing


Posted Sep 16, 19 22:18 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Postage Due Paid W/

Incoming mail from India, one of my favorite covers


Posted Sep 16, 19 16:05 by Terence Hines (thines)

Blue 0

I've never understood why the USPOD charged postage due when a US stamps was cancelled by a foreign country. After all, the stamp(s) had been bought so the POD did get their money. It was the country of origin that was out the postage, not the US.

Posted Sep 16, 19 13:18 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Frajola due exhibit

Thanks -- that confirms my wild guess. I note in the exhibit a couple of examples of postage dues put on at origin and apparently illegally paying the postage. Seems likely, but perhaps there is the off chance that some ignorant clerk was trying to indicate postage due, not postage paid, and put the stamps on. This of course would be totally misguided. It think it an unlikely, but not impossible explanation.

Posted Sep 16, 19 9:52 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

UPU - blue crayon O

See page 46 in pdf file here. After purchasing the John Irwin collection of postage dues, I added a few things and mounted it all as an exhibit. First link is to the postal history portion and the proofs / stamps / precancels are here.

Invalid stamp ...

Posted Sep 16, 19 9:37 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Due 6

What is the meaning of the blue 0 under the U.S. label? Is it an indication that it had no value when used in England??? The guy who soaked the dues off obviously had no clue he was degrading a rare and interesting item.

Posted Sep 16, 19 9:14 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: Registry Service At New York City

Morning Wayne and all,

Congratulations on three beautifully displayed informative frames of material.

Wayne, I would like to share with you off board images of a few covers that will generate some questions for future discussion and research. Also look at the Registered U.S.A. data base over on Stamp Smarter for some additional material. I have more to add once fall sets in and I can cycle off of the outside to do list.

Please email me .

Best regards, Russ Ryle

PS: are you working up the oval marks types 6 and 7 as well? How about the later NYC markings?

Posted Sep 15, 19 8:50 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Registry Service at New York City

I just uploaded three single frame exhibits contributed by Wayne Schuetz:

New York City Registry Labels, 1883-1911

New York City Examiner Markings, 1873-1883

New York City Examiner Markings, 1882-1902

Thank you Wayne!

Posted Sep 14, 19 22:36 by Ray Porter (rporter314)



Yes. It is probably the case the stamps were removed by an avid collector.

Advertising. This is done only after there has been an attempt to deliver the mail. Thus the NYC foreign exchange duplex circle rating would not account for advertising in Brooklyn.

NYC was particularly conscientious in using their singular appearing large oval advertising handstamp. I do not have an example of Brooklyn advertising in this time period.

If we disregard the NYC foreign exchange office rating, we would have a routine UPU single rate letter with an invalid use of postage or Due 10 cents. So what possessed the clerk to rate it as Due 6 cents? A ship letter would have been rated as Due 4 cents. A non-UPU letter would have been rated Due 5 cents. And of course any speculation about ignoring the invalid use makes it even more bizarre.

The "best" explanation I can imagine (as I am still shaking my head) is the clerk read the British tombstone handstamp as short paid 15 centimes, which would make the letter Due 6.

Posted Sep 14, 19 14:17 by Matthew Kewriga (mkewriga)

Postage Due


The missing stamps are probably just postage dues that were removed by someone, a collector?

Also, is it possible the extra 1c is for advertising? The extra stamps were cancelled by date straightlines, but obviously New York did not mark "Advertised" and the 6c is a foreign department handstamp. The ship letter rate at this time period was 4c

Posted Sep 14, 19 14:14 by Ray Porter (rporter314)


I think I need another person checking behind me. Yes I found some residual gum precisely where B Biales noted at bottom  right. What I thought was a smudge turns out to be a combination of smudge and gum. It appears there were as indicated  2 stamps which have now been removed.

Bundling. I have been slowly researching this and this becomes a complex endeavor. Early on after the 1879 PL&R there was a POD form for total number of dues stamps used sent with mail from one office to another. I have never seen the form or seen any other references to one, so can only comment on what PL&R says. This was sort of stopped in one of the Postal Guides but is still not clear to me. The only bundling I have seen during the period 1879-1894 are from Boston.

The use of a NYC exchange office handstamp indicating postage due does not seem as a likely indicator of bundling. In addition a rating of Due 6 does not comport with a "return due" or "forwarding due" use. I think that less likely.

Handed to payer. I suspect that may have been more likely much earlier. The PL&R indicates the protocol is not to hand over money and receive a stamp in hand for shortages. Postage Due stamps are bills and receipts for services rendered to be affixed to mail. However I do not discount anything involving dues. It seems I continue to find strange and unusual uses and ratings.

PO's. The PL&R makes the distinction between free delivery offices and all others regarding the handling of postage dues. There are differences between forms used, time of affixation, and handling drop letters.

Brooklyn. As I preciously stated, I continue to find new previously unreported due items. My noteson Brooklyn cancels used on dues are the colorful early "donuts" both large and small lasting until about 1888. After 1888 Brooklyn used mostly double ovals and some geometrics. This particular cover appears to have a lightly applied date handstamp which tied a couple of dues to cover.

Thanks for seeing what I did not see.

Posted Sep 13, 19 12:55 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Postage Due

Possibly postage due collected on more than one item, stamps for the aggregate amount affixed and canceled on one representing the lot. Possibly charged to account and stamps affixed to receipt.

Posted Sep 13, 19 12:05 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Due 6

1) Not the clean cut off of the partial markings at bottom and right. Are there lost labels that were barely attached? 2) I like less the idea the stamps were cancelled and handed separately to the payer. 3) Don't understand the comment about differential handling depending on level of post office. What is the operational difference?

4) It would be interesting to see if other Brooklyn covers in period used a dater as postage due canceller.

Posted Sep 13, 19 10:38 by Ray Porter (rporter314)


I buy these kinds of covers because they are confusing to me. Here is latest example.

Mailed from Port Talbot with US stamp, it was properly denoted as an invalid use of postage payment and rated as deficient 25 centimes.

The exchange office in NYC apparently ignored the British handstamp and rated the letter as "due 6" which should translate as a double UPU rating for a short payment of 15 centimes.

The are no indictions of any due stamps applied. In this case there should have been at least 2 stamps used. Also note POD regulations required postage due stamps to be applied at destination (unless the PO is an ordinary office in which case due stamp should be applied when called for delivery). As Brooklyn was a 1st class office due stamps should have been applied. My notes on Brooklyn cancels used on postage due stamps does not indicate precancel use at this time period.

The only explanation I could imagine is the Brooklyn PO ignored all the rating handstamps and accepted the invalid use as valid and simply delivered the letter without penalty. Could there be another explanation? Please educate me.

The reverse only has a Brooklyn receiver and no residual gum.


Posted Sep 12, 19 11:38 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


As a child, Irving was blessed by the newly elected President, George Washington, whose bio he later wrote. An important late 18th century Salem correspondence is the Crowninshields', whose covers, including an amazing series of forwarded items c 1812 grace my and now Mark's expanded holding. In "The Devil and Tom Walker", a Crowninshield name graces one of the trees listing the Devil's victories. It turns out that the Irvings were doing illegal (but common) trade with the British during the Second War of Independence" and got caught by the great Crowninshield privateer America, yielding a rich prize. Irving got scant revenge in the short story. "Cleopatra's Barge", by a man who married into the family in the 20th century has some amusing tales.

Posted Sep 12, 19 8:51 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Washington Irving


The ship is Washington Irving, not Washington Irvine. She was named after the author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Irving also served as U.S. Ambassador to Spain.

Posted Sep 12, 19 0:43 by Winston Williams (winstonw)

Washington Irving

John, Thank you, the clipper aspect explains the relatively quick sailing time. Your post prompted me to remember that a couple of years later Joseph Kennedy immigrated to Boston on the Washington Irvine. I've seen one ship letter carried on that voyage (letter had no Kennedy connection), although I imagine there are others carried on that voyage still in existence.

Posted Sep 11, 19 23:13 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

Boston Ship Cover

Nice find. Thanks John, and thanks to all who responded both on- and off-board.

Posted Sep 11, 19 15:55 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Washington Irving

Here is a record from the Salem Register.

"Washington Irving" was a clipper ship designed and built by Donald McKay in Boston. At the time his ships were the world's fastest vessels under sail, and they remain a marvel today.


Posted Sep 11, 19 13:21 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)



My error. The letter does seem to read 1847. The contemporary New Bedford papers note that the Washington Irving arrived at Boston on April 10.

Posted Sep 11, 19 12:38 by Winston Williams (winstonw)

Boston Ship Letter

Sorry, I don't agree with 1846 - sailing ships did not cross that quickly then, especially westwards! From the English side the Washington Irvine sailed on 21 March 1847, which would be the day after the letter date, if the year is 1847, although arriving on 10 April would be a relatively quick westward crossing.

Posted Sep 11, 19 12:08 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Boston Ship letter

George, I’d bet on it. The dateline is a day or two before the Washington Irving reportedly left Liverpool in April 1846. Everything fits.

Posted Sep 11, 19 10:02 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

Boston Ship Letter

Thanks, Mark. The cover isn't mine and I was asking for someone else. The owner thought the letter was dated either 1855 or 1857, and the attached scan is of poor quality. I suppose the date could be 1847?


Posted Sep 11, 19 9:42 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Boston Ship letter

George, First, the markings were applied at Boston. Second, is the letter dated? The markings are appropriate for a letter rated per the Act of 1845, with 5¢ for a letter sent up to 300 miles, plus a 2¢ ship fee. Hard to tell, but the CDS could be one used only in red from April 1842 through Oct. 1847. And the Washington Irving is reported to have arrived in Boston from Liverpool around April 19, 1846.

Posted Sep 11, 19 9:21 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Mary Harris

No need to apologize.  I suspect everyone here is just happy to see you post.
Rob Faux

Posted Sep 11, 19 9:03 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

British cover

Am I correct in my supposition that this cover was 7-cents due (Postal Act of March 3, 1851 specified unpaid mail up to 3000-miles charged 5-cents; 2 cents for Ship's Fee)?

Also, were the '7' and 'Ship' markings applied in Boston or in GB, and was the red ink used for them indicative of an unpaid letter?