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Posted Dec 7, 18 17:59 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Early Adams with imaginary 5 cent

I had one of those Adams with the extra 5 cent stamp.  I didn't think it belonged, so I soaked it off.  (Kidding -- but remember what was done with those 9X1 covers with the local stamps not tied -- so they soaked them off so the authenticity would not be questioned -- an example of philatelic wrong headedness of a high orrder.)

Posted Dec 7, 18 17:53 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Philatelic editorial policy


You seem to think that this is a new cause for me. It isn't. Quality of philatelic writing and publishing has been my beat for 30 years, ever since Barbara Mueller chose me as her successor. 

Here's what Charlie Peterson said in 2004: "Ken Lawrence is probably best known to the hobby as a writer. He served six years as editor of The Philatelic Communicator, quarterly journal of the APS Writers Unit 30, and raised the attention-getting quotient of that publication to a level never attained before or since." [The full tribute is in the April 2004 Chairman's Chatter.] Those 1988-1994 issues are still worthy of study, including my monthly Pick of the Litter-ature awards.

At the time, I was a Linn's columnist, hired by ML because I was a real-world journalist. Among my first appointments as editor was to assign a column called "Watching the Weeklies" to Bob Greenwald, who favored Stamp Collector over Linn's, to counter any pro-Linn's bias I might have had.

Posted Dec 7, 18 16:36 by Chip Gliedman (cgliedman)

Editorial Policies


I'm glad that your Wake Island Shipwreck article found a good home in the American Philatelist. Perfect place for it. I look forward to reading your articles, regardless of where they are published. I learn things with every one. I just don't seem to understand why a single rejection of this article as inappropriate for this journal seems to have set you off on a public condemnation of the Chronicle's editorial policies.

I reread the article today and was again amazed that the survivors were both able to find Wake Island and then navigate to Guam for rescue. However, other than the illustration of the note - the cover of which is unknown - there is very little, if any, philatelic content to that article. In fact, you quote a second letter from contemporary published accounts without even illustrating that cover or discussing anything else about the philatelic aspects of that second letter either.

I could suggest that there wasn't even enough philatelic content for the American Philatelist - nothing there but the picture of one letter that was enclosed in a lost envelope. As such, maybe the Manuscript Society or Smithsonian Magazine would have been a better match? Regardless, their decision to publish doesn't make their policy "wrongheaded," and I would never be so presumptuous to brand the editorial policy of any publication as such just because I disagreed with it.

That the American Philatelist won't publish a multi-issue study of plate varieties of any particular stamp does not make their editorial policy any more misguided than the Chronicle's position that that non-philatelic content should be less than half of any article. They are just different and are targeting different markets with different strategies. However, as long as there are outlets such as the AP and other publications, I personally (not speaking for the USPCS or Chronicle Board as a whole) don't see a compelling reason to add such a "social philately" section to the Chronicle.

The mission of the Chronicle of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society is clear and the guidance to editors and potential authors is equally guided - we cover philatelic artifacts, the organizations responsible for their issuance and conveyance, and means for their transport, up to 1900. Our publication, with a circulation of about 1000, is targeted at a different audience than the American Philatelist, with a circulation of about 28,000. I think that we are less interested in growing the broad base of the hobby than we are in providing a resource for the fraction of the hobby that wishes to go deeper with the material, enhancing their understanding of it in different ways. The fact that this minutia interests me (and the other 1000 members) doesn't keep me from seeking sources for the "broad" subjects. If every publication's editorial policy mirrored every other's, our hobby would be diminished, rather than enhanced.

Let me just add that the Chronicle did publish an article about a shipwreck cover in the 1861 section a few issues ago (thanks, Rob F.). However, it was about the cover and the organizations and methods of its transport, rather than the people shipwrecked and their personal histories.

Offer still holds to you and anyone else - if there is a subject that interest you and would (or could, with editing) fit within the current editorial policies of the Chronicle, I'd love to have it published in my section.


Posted Dec 7, 18 15:35 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Adams Express March 1861

I found an ad offering to transport slaves.

Posted Dec 7, 18 14:46 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Adams March 1861

Checked my records. There are a few Feb. 1861 covers showing evidence of Adams starting to carry mail in the South. Earliest northbound into New York I could find was March 11 departure from New Orleans, but it's certainly possibly that mail arrived in NYC from the South in time to be reported in those articles.

As for "five cent stamp" I think it must be an error in reporting, or perhaps a label that we've never seen.

Posted Dec 7, 18 12:45 by Scott Trepel (strepel)


At that early date, it has to be precursor express mail from Adams. I’ll need to check records. 25c plus 3c postage was the rate. Obviously there is no known Adams “stamp”

Posted Dec 7, 18 12:43 by Bill Longley (longley)


Philadelphia Inquirer, page 5. Friday March 8, 1861


Posted Dec 7, 18 12:34 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Adams Express

Scott - I have to think the original report is in error. Maybe it should have read that there was an additional 5c fee to Adams Express in addition to the regular postage.

Interesting, when searching for that one, I found a notice in a northern paper, copied from a Richmond, VA paper that on July 16, 1862 a shipment of 5c stamps was first being distributed that had just arrived by steamer from Great Britain. (CSA book shows EKU of July 13, 1862)


Posted Dec 7, 18 12:21 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Five cent stamp

Thanks Richard.

So, what “five cent stamp” was available in the CSA in March 1861?

Posted Dec 7, 18 12:16 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Daily Union & American

Scott - Nashville Paper March 16, 1861 version is shown below.

  A second version seems to come from "Alexandria Gazette, Monday, Mar 11, 1861 (Alexandria, VA)" and yours is a different version yet.


Posted Dec 7, 18 11:59 by Cliff Alexander (calexander)

Frankford Carrier Cover


This cover is from the Lizzy Taylor correspondence. I believe that Robert Meyersburg recorded about 15 of these covers. I have one and another is offered in the Dr. Vern Morris sale being held by Rumsey on Monday, December 10 (Lot 19).

Although there is no record of Frankport PA having a carrier, we cannot be sure. There are covers that strongly suggest some cities had carrier collection and delivery service but there is no POD record of it currently known.

If it was an attempt at prepayment, it was not effective because the POD did not have a way to credit destination post offices with the 1c paid by the sender for carrier delivery. We likely will never know whether the Philadelphia post office charged Lizzy or, as an accommodation, delivered the letters for free. I have assumed that it was the latter, because, if Lizzy were charged for delivery, she would have written the sender to let him or her know not to waste the 1c stamp.

Cliff Alexander

Posted Dec 7, 18 11:37 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Help me because I'm a sloppy researcher

During an unrelated research project (overland mails), I stumbled across the attached newspaper article and saved it as a screen shot. I did not cite the source, because I assumed (incorrectly it turns out) I could easily find the article again, as well as the New York Commercial Advertiser article to which it refers.

The subject is the arrival of a Confederate mail in the north, carried by Adams & Co. and bearing a "five cent stamp affixed" (CSA postage).

I've spent the last half hour trying to find it. I don't know why, but none of the date ranges or keywords I'm using are working.

Maybe someone who follows the board will have better luck and educate me.


Posted Dec 7, 18 11:06 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

1861 period Chronicle


I became aware of the wrongheaded policy when Michael told me not to submit an article that would have been a splendid entry to your section in my opinion. You can read it in the October 2018 American Philatelist.

I have other similarly unsuitable letters and covers, written by or for slaves before and during the Civil War, and Reconstruction Era mail, of which the most important and poignant use of the mails consisted of letters by freedmen hoping to locate and reunite with loved ones who had been sold apart. The most boring aspects are the postage if any, rates, routes, and markings.

From my perspective, the most natural evolution for the Classics Society going forward would be a common venture with the Manuscript Society, where the kind of postal history I champion blends well with contemporaneous collectibles of a more varied character.

Perhaps the USPCS could consider relaxing the restrictions by creating a new section that embraces such material without contaminating the purity of the existing sections.

Posted Dec 7, 18 10:59 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Pan Am Pencil drawn essays

Scott's Specialized US Catalog lists and Johl Volume 1 discusses and illustrates numerous oversize pencil drawn essays for the 1901 PanAm issues. Recently I've come across older photographs of the identical issues as shown, most with penciled notations on reverse. Possibly the working copies used by Johl for the 1930's book.

Anyone have added knowledge of this material? Thanks---Joe


Posted Dec 7, 18 9:27 by Barry Elkins (elkman3)

Frankford PA: real or fake

I acquired this cover with 1c + 3c 1861's in a lot of covers several years ago (front and back shown).  I had always thought the cover was a fake, because as far as I know, neither Freeport IL nor Frankford PA had postal carriers during the time period.  In addition, the killer pstmarks on the 1c and 3c stamps don't line up.  Then I saw the lot in the Rumsey auction of Vern Morris' material  - lo and behold, a cover from Freeport IL to Philadelphia with a 1c 1857 added in an apparent attempt to pay for a  "from the mails"  carrier fee from the same correspondence.  So: is the cover with #63 and #65 a fake, or could it be real?


Posted Dec 7, 18 8:03 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

Price of wine and collecting

Scott T - tell me about it. I joined the Ridge Monte Bello club, but the collector in me won't allow me to drink it.

Posted Dec 7, 18 7:18 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


On this date in 1941 (December 7 east of the International Date Line; December 8 west of it) the armed forces of imperial Japan launched surprise attacks on United States forces in Hawaii, the Philippine Islands, Guam, Wake Island, and Midway Island. The addressee of this cover, U.S. Marine Lieutenant George Ham Cannon was killed that day at Midway. He became the first Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II:

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Congressional MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service during an attack on the United States Fleet in Midway Islands as set forth in the following CITATION:

For distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage, and disregard of his own condition during the bombardment of Sand Island, Midway Islands, by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. Lieutenant Cannon, Battery Commander of Battery "H", Sixth Defense Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, U. S. Marine Corps, was at his Command Post when he was mortally wounded by enemy shell fire. He refused to be evacuated from his post until after his men, who had been wounded by the same shell were evacuated, and directed the reorganization of his Command Post until forcibly removed, and as a result of his utter disregard of his own condition he died from loss of blood.

/s/ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Lieutenant Cannon's remains were first buried at Midway, later were removed to Halawa Cemetery in Hawaii, and finally were permanently interred at the Honolulu Memorial Cemetery.

Postal history aspects:

Lieutenant Cannon's death was not reported until late January. Meanwhile, on December 20 a friend or relative posted this cover to him at Midway, franked at the 1½¢ per two ounces third-class rate for an unsealed greeting card, which allowed a salutation and signature but no personal message. Upon arrival at Midway it was struck with the pointing-finger "Return to Sender" mark with the "Undeliverable....Deceased" line checked. The sender docketed its return date as 2/19/42. Military post offices did not rate postage due on forwarded or returned third-class mail addressed to active-duty members of the armed forces.

Belatedly, the Post Office, War, and Navy Departments realized that marking returned mail "deceased" sometimes had the unintended effect of becoming a serviceman's loved ones' first word of their bereavement, before notice and condolences had been delivered in the prescribed official manner. Worse still, sometimes the marking was ambiguous or erroneous. Order 17412, published April 13, 1942, amended the Postal Laws and Regulations by inserting "that the indorsement 'Deceased' shall be provided only on letters containing veterans' checks which are subject to the provisions of law."  A June 8 follow-up notice reminded postmasters of that order, and added: "It has come to the Department's attention that many postmasters have not complied with the instruction to delete the word 'deceased' from composite rubber stamps used in endorsing mail with the reason for its return to the sender. It is requested that the word 'deceased' be cut out of the stamps immediately."


Posted Dec 6, 18 21:05 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

Matabeleland Cover

Alex - Thanks for posting your article about the Zulu War. I have a two 1896 Swiss covers sent to a soldier in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, who was killed while the letter was in transit from Switzerland.

Relevant to recent comments about including background and personal information in postal history articles, I have written a few where the item itself would appear quite boring if the historic background of the addressee was not included in the article. I enjoy very much reading how a postal history item fits into the lives of the people who sent or received the item.

My Matabeleland article.

Posted Dec 6, 18 20:17 by Alexander Haimann (bastamps)

A Collecting Journey Story: Engaging Others Outside of Philately

Building on some elements of what has been discussed here, I want to share a story about my collecting journey. The result is some innovation along with an effort to connect/draw-in others to our wonderful hobby.

In 1997 at age 11, I stumbled into a toy soldier shop in London which had a diorama of the 1879 Battle of Rorke's Drift. I was quite taken by the dramatic display and decided to learn more about the battle and the broader history of the Anglo-Zulu War once I returned to the U.S. As I have the 'Collecting Gene', this interest first manifested itself with a collection of lead toy soldiers. I was already a stamp collector at this point but covers sent by soldiers during the conflict were significantly outside my price range. Plus as I was only looking for them at U.S. shows, they wasn't much to find anyways.

10-years later, I purchased my first cover sent from an officer in the field and the philatelic/postal history phase of my collecting journey was underway.

The more I dived into researching the covers, accompanying letters and rates/routes the more I wanted to understand the context of the letters' content along with the circumstances that the writers were in at that moment. What does a Zulu warrior's shield look like in-person? How heavy is a Martini-Henry Mark II rifle (standard issue to infantry soldiers in 1879)? And so many more questions. So I began exploring other collecting worlds (yes there are others outside of Philately! ;-)) starting with ephemera then going to antique photographs, rare books, tribal weapons & artifacts, military medals, antique firearms, artwork and more. Since the majority of the collector, researcher and enthusiast interest in British/Southern Africa military history is based in the UK and South Africa - I went to them. I've traveled to the UK 2-3 times a year since 2009 and to Zululand in SA twice (3rd trip coming next month), every trip included at least one major foray into learning, researching, buying and/or connecting with other knowledgeable people involved in this area of interest.

I have learned so much about all aspects of Anglo-Zulu history from these countless interactions in other collecting worlds and the friends I have made along the way. Similarly, I believe I have opened the eyes of many people from these other collecting fields towards the excitement of collecting and studying the postal objects connected to Anglo-Zulu history.

Approximately five years ago, I began thinking about how to exhibit my collection of 2D and 3D objects together in a way that would attract and draw-in people from across the collecting, research and enthusiast worlds that the many aspects of my collection touch. My objective is to build a philatelic/postal history exhibit unlike any other before it.

I have many inspirations for elements of the display/exhibit I am preparing including several recent people that have just been posting - for example:

--I was fortunate to be in the UK in February 2015 to see Steve Walske's Revolutionary War/War of 1812 Blockade mail exhibit at the Royal Philatelic Society London along with hearing his presentation to the members. The one thing that stood out to me was his prominent use of images of the ships related to a given cover(s) right on the page side-by-side with the covers. Check out Steve's Revolutionary War Blockade exhibit here. Following Steve's example, I will be including graphics like these on my pages related to the objects.

--One of the first exhibits I ever saw that included non-philatelic/postal objects alongside stamps and covers was Richard Frajola's Paying The Postage. This was at the Washington International Show in 2006. I still did not own a single Anglo-Zulu War cover but remember thinking that when I did, I'd want to display one alongside the currency of the period that was used to pay the postage. Plus with metal objects in mind, how cool would it be to display a soldier's campaign medal alongside postal history sent/from that solider. Result = I will be showing currency and military medals related to the postal objects.

--The effort led by Scott Trepel to bring a real Curtiss Jenny biplane to the Javits Center for the 2016 International Show was incredible. Will there ever be a more exciting way to look at 24-cent 1st Issue Air Mail than right next to the real thing? If a whole plane can be used in an philatelic exhibit then why not 4ft-tall 1879 Zulu shields and other large objects. Result = 1879-era British uniforms, Zulu shields and weapons, artwork and more will be included in my display.

--Numerous Smithsonian National Postal Museum (I worked on-staff at NPM from 2005-2010) exhibits that utilized 2D postal history and 3D postal/non-postal objects

--David McNamee's Conquest of the Zulu Kingdom 1876–1897 and 1906 Rebellion exhibits

--Ken Lawrence's Holocaust exhibit, Cheryl Ganz's Come Take a Ride on the Hindenburg, Ed Andrews's thematic exhibits and so many more.

Since the effort to setup a display with hundreds of 2D/3D objects is not a small one, I am preparing an exhibition which will open to the public for a month in March 2021 in the new RPSL building in London. During the period of the exhibition, we're planning to have a number of outside presenters come and talk about different aspects related to the topic - all coming from other collecting worlds with their own base of supporters/enthusiasts. Having objects from many collecting areas all telling one story together may spark new collecting pursuits from visitors to the exhibition. More details on this effort will be shared here on the Board as the time approaches.

Finally, I am grateful to Matthew Healey and Linn's Stamp News for their interest in my unusual collecting journey related to Anglo-Zulu history. Matthew wrote a feature for Linn's which came out last month. Check out the full article here.

I believe one way or another, the future of our hobby is tied to our ability to draw-in people from other collecting fields and find opportunities for overlap - in research projects, displays and collecting.

Thank you for your patience here to allow me to tell this story,


Email - [email protected]

Picture Caption: Campaign medal (back/front) awarded to Captain H. A. Harrisson of the 24th. Check out the Linn's article to see a significant cover/letter sent to Harrisson.


Posted Dec 6, 18 17:15 by CJ White (cjwhite)

Different Views and Attracting People to the Hobby

My personal attraction to stamp collecting and postal history is that in essence it is the history of communication.  Postage stamps, express labels, telegraph franks, even radio cards all represent different methods of communication and passing messages.  As communication is concerned, I think it's important to do some research considering who is sending the mail - both the people writing the letters, and companies or people carrying the letters.  But it is also important to consider the technical side - postal marks indicating routes and transportation methods, and the evolving technologies used to print or manufacture stamps.  Both sides are important to me in different ways.

But that’s just the way I look at it – there are others who prefer stamp collecting purely for the collection aspect, trying to acquire everything within their scope (whether that is a particular time period, theme, or country).  And others who collect for the prestige (money or provenance).  I don’t think those are necessarily wrong ways to go about it.

It’s as they say: There’s no perfect pasta sauce – only perfect pasta sauces. 

It’s okay for the Chronicle to place limits because there are people who like those limits, and furthermore I feel that there are plenty of places already out there for more humanity-focused articles.

As for the argument of attracting new people to the hobby… I’ve heard people at shows say that the way to attract new collectors is through technology, through topicals, through history… I’ve been hesitant to speak up much on this subject, but I think that if you want to attract more people there is one thing that should be focused on:  Make the hobby cheaper. 

This doesn’t mean cutting down the prices of stamps, but it DOES mean showing more respect to the cheaper aspects of the hobby.  I often hear established dealers and collectors make remarks about “ladies who collect flowers on stamps” or similar.  What you might not realize is when you talk, people hear you.  No one wants to join in on a hobby where they think they have to spend a threshold of money in order to be taken seriously at all.  I’m not saying we all should enjoy or pretend to enjoy the same things within the hobby!  I’m saying that it’s probably better to be honest (just say “those stamps don’t interest me” and move on) than condescending.

I also think that making the hobby cheaper includes putting aside several frames each show to sponsor exhibits.  I think that displaying stamps in an exhibit is a really important part of the hobby, because it is probably the best “use” of a collection and it allows you a platform to show your work and connect with other collectors.

Right now, the going rate for most shows seems to be about $10 a frame.  So, a five-frame exhibit is $50, plus the cost to build the exhibit (both in material and time), and possibly travel expenses.  For many of you, that doesn’t seem like a lot, but for those on a budget it makes a difference.  I’d like to see shows open up submissions for exhibits to be sponsored – show runners can pick their favorites of those submitted to enter, in regular competition, for free.  I wonder if this would open up the floor to collectors who have creative ideas but hesitate to enter because of the fee.

Posted Dec 6, 18 15:47 by Gary Loew (garyloew)

Who used Ligne cancelling devices?

In the 1860s, French postal authorities distributed the “Ligne” cancelling devices for use aboard many of their ships.

My question is whether those cancellers were used by pursers (or other crew) or whether there were post office employees aboard those ships during that time period.

Posted Dec 6, 18 15:44 by Chip Gliedman (cgliedman)

The human side of the hobby

Here's looking at you ....


Posted Dec 6, 18 15:30 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Maintaining the Human Infrastructure

Scott's point is well-taken, but is not unique to any organization, business or hobby.

I was once involved in men's fast-pitch softball.  At one point in time, most towns of any size in Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern Iowa had a team.  They played on fields that ran the gamut of quality.  I played in one where a town gravel road went through right and center fields and a brick wall ran just 10 feet away from the first-base line.  People became more mobile and the younger guys were able to find alternatives to fast-pitch.  In short, it was no longer the default option.

The veteran players weren't used to the idea that they had to recruit and mentor new players, so teams started to disappear as players got older, etc.  When I moved into the Mankato area, there was exactly one team that had a manager that was interested in recruiting and mentoring new players.  He got me playing and seeking out teams as we moved around to new locations.  A team I joined later was filled with individuals who kept talking about how "kids don't want to play anymore" and "this league is dying."  That was the continuous narrative - so it made it unlikely that new people would want to join.  Who wants to be a part of a dying activity with a bunch of people in mourning?

Story time over.

1. Keep sharing the things about this hobby that interest and excite you.  That includes the people who are part of the 'human infrastructure' of the hobby.  Show others why they should want to be involved.
2. Be a path maker and a match maker.  Identify people who would be good within the infrastructure of the hobby and help them find ways to get involved and point them to the places you think might fit them best.
3. Be patient with growing pains.  Encourage better work without belittling effort.

I realize this sounds philosophical rather than practicable.  After all, it doesn't find the next show director, society president, journal editor, etc.  But, the reason it's a valuable topic of discussion is that there isn't a readily apparent 'step by step' process to achieving the goal.

And, just so you all know.  I see Scott T and Richard F as two who do recruit and encourage (and many others can be counted among them, I am sure).  But, I am suggesting there needs to be more participants in the effort.

My 2 cents.

Posted Dec 6, 18 15:27 by Gary Loew (garyloew)

Who used Ligne cancelling devices?

In the 1860s, French postal authorities distributed the “Ligne” cancelling devices for use aboard many of their ships.

My question is whether those cancellers were used by pursers (or other crew) or whether there were post office employees aboard those ships during that time period.

Posted Dec 6, 18 15:14 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Taste in Wine

Larry B:

You have demonstrated that even someone with an unrefined wine palate can have excellent taste in stamps and covers.

I thought you watched Rachel Maddow?

Posted Dec 6, 18 15:02 by Chip Gliedman (cgliedman)

From an editor

As one of the section editors of the Chronicle, I kind of sit in the middle between authors and Michael. I feel it is my role to try to implement the editorial policies set out by Michael that were blessed by the management of the USPCS.

The policy is simple: For this publication, non-philatelic material should not exceed 50% of the content of the article. Any article that I write or that I will edit will end up with this ratio for it to be published. If a given subject can't meet this goal, then the Chronicle is probably not the best place for it.

While both publications deal with Alzheimer's, I would expect very different content from the AARP and JAMA. Not to say that either is wrong, just that they have different constituents and editorial policies.

I'm sorry, Ken, but regardless of what you're saying here, the way you came off in the piece you linked to was condescending and narcissistic. The way I read it, you were saying that your articles are great because you include all this stuff, and therefore any editorial policy that doesn't match the way you want to write is a misguided policy. Now you're saying that we should try to grow the hobby by tying in these other subjects. Maybe, but the Chronicle is defined one way and, so far, I haven't heard a groundswell of dissent with the current editorial policy. On behalf of PETA, I ask you to give your high horse a bit of a rest.

By the way, I included, and Michael OK'd for publishing, a photograph of the addressee of one cover we wrote up - and in spite of the personal pain it must have caused him because the subject of the photograph had a bigger mustache than he did.

Ken, I'd love for you to have a go at writing an article for the 1861-period for the Chronicle. Heck, I'd love for ANYONE to have a go at writing an article for the 1861-period section. If I can do it, it's really not that hard. I'm happy to work with anyone with a good idea and some solid material and turn what you know into an article. If it turns out we can't bridge your goals as an author and the publication's policies, you'll have something that I'm sure other publications would love to have.

Sorry 'bout the rant.


Posted Dec 6, 18 12:51 by Larry Bustillo (suburban)

Scott's post

Since Scott suggested another subject and mentioned the increasing cost of "wine" I thought I would chime in. I am a big fan of Yellow Tail Shiraz the small bottle can be purchased between $7. and $8. on line. A real value in my opinion. I love to sit in front of the TV watching Hannity and flipping through auction catalogs with a fresh bottle and large plastic straw. Great times.

Posted Dec 6, 18 11:24 by Scott Trepel (strepel)


I've discussed this with Michael Laurence several times, and I understand his "No Gravestones" policy for the journal, referring to articles that have heavy genealogy content not pertinent to postal history and usually show a gravestone sourced from the internet.

Michael politely rejected my Pony Express and Indians article because (a) it was very long, and (b) it contained a lot of newspaper information related more to history than postal history. In that instance I self-published the article as a monograph, and I am much happier with the product.

In another instance, I published an article on the San Francisco News Letter in Western Express, and Michael gave his blessings. It was also heavy on biographical content and better suited for the western guys. I also was happy to support that publication and enjoyed working with Ken Stach, a great editor-in-chief.

My only quibble with comments made here is that historical narrative is not the "only" way to attract new collectors. Many of our new buyers are not interested in developing a historical collection. They like the simple pleasure of collecting stamps or attractive covers. We need to serve and encourage them as well, since they provide an important source of capital inflow into the whole market, without which Siegel would be out of business, and stamp shows, expert  committees, etc., would fold.

I hope this discussion leads to another subject: how to replace the human infrastructure of societies, exhibitions, journals and expert committees. That is a serious challenge. We all believe Michael Laurence does an outstanding job, and I wish we could clone him, but more realistically we need to bring someone up through the ranks to assist or take over one day. I can't quit my day job with the cost of wine going up each year.

Posted Dec 6, 18 10:37 by Steve Walske (steve w)

Chronicle Policy

Although I support ML's approach to editing the Chronicle, I do strongly agree with the gist of Ken's post. I also believe that our hobby will survive only if we build stories around the objects that we collect, and move to the point where the narrative is the principal interest, and the object is only a piece of supporting evidence. Ken has done this brilliantly with the Nazi Scourge and WWII. It seems clear to me that making the narrative central is the only way to bring new collectors to philately - those who are mainly interested in the historical context.

Posted Dec 6, 18 10:01 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

"It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse races."

Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)

Posted Dec 6, 18 9:32 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Chronicle Policy

I completely support the "Chronicle Policy" as implemented my Michael Laurence specifically for the Chronicle. I also support the open "people and places" policy used by many state society for their journals and even the policy of including "how to make souvenirs" articles as appropriate to journals geared to the arts and crafts branch of the hobby. In short, no one policy is right for all organizations.

Philately needs a Highlights for Children as well as a Scientific American.

Thank you to all the editors .... and especially to Michael Laurence.

(add-on) Well, almost all the editors ...

Posted Dec 6, 18 7:24 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Chronicle policy

I'm grateful for all the responses, and urge everyone concerned to publish their opinions. I've had my say. However, to forestall further caricatures: I did not exaggerate or misrepresent the policy. I discussed it with Michael Laurence, and disagreed with him about it, before the Chatter appeared. I welcomed the published interview because it set forth the issue publicly and clearly, thus providing an opening for debate. Nothing I have said or written has ever criticized his editorial skill. He has been my editor since 1986.

Posted Dec 6, 18 6:14 by David D'Alessandris (davidd)


I should emphasize that Michael’s policy does not prohibit the inclusion of genealogy information, it is just that the philatelic information should predominate.

Posted Dec 6, 18 0:12 by Steve Walske (steve w)


I have written many articles for the Chronicle, some traditional rate/route articles and some embellished stories of covers. I have never had any issues with Michael about the latter, and am puzzled by Ken's characterization. I have found Michael to be an excellent editor and will continue to send articles of the latter type to him.

Posted Dec 5, 18 23:29 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

Michael Laurence and the Editing Discussion

I am too well known for turning a simple anecdote into a mini-saga ...... I am also sure most of my courteous listeners pray for a good editor! So do contributors to the Chronicle and other philatelic publications.

Gordon Eubanks said it perfectly "Our hobby is blessed to have an individual with Michael's skills editing the Chronicle." For my two cents, we are all blessed to have Michael in our hobby, period; he has been "giving back" for 40 years. The Chronicle has repeatedly won virtually every award available and Michael is the reason for that. Everyone who has written articles is better for his efforts.

Ken L is correct that or hobby is finally evolving into one where the simple "item information" is not enough - the historical perspective is becoming critical. Richard F has done, for a number of years, a great job placing a philatelic item in the light of history. I attempted this with my printed matter ventures and have found it critical to sharing the true story of William Harnden and Harndens Express Company.

As the hobby evolves, good editors will guide us through this evolution and transition ..... and as he has done for years, Michael and other editors will lead the way. Thanks to all that contribute their time and energy in this way to give something back to the hobby.

Posted Dec 5, 18 22:48 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)


Our hobby is blessed to have an individual with Michael's skills editing the Chronicle.

Certainly, there are times when the non-philatelic information is extremely important to tell the story. In other cases, it is not. Having worked with Michael on a number of articles, I never have seen him push to unreasonably cut non-philatelic material. Like David, I agree with Michael's editorial policies for the Chronicle.

I do agree with Ken that such material is of growing importance. There is also plenty of room for different focuses and styles.

Posted Dec 5, 18 22:28 by David D'Alessandris (davidd)

Editorial Policy at the Chronicle

Well, at least I now know that someone is reading the Member Spotlight column in the Chatter. I don’t want to speak for Michael L, but will just note that I don’t think Ken’s description of the cover in his column represents the type of information that Michael was critical of. I necessarily had to edit the interview for space. I recall Michael noting that most classic era postal history was written by or to educated people and simply because we can find genealogical information about them doesn’t mean that it is relevant.

I agree with Michael’s editorial policy. If the Polaris cover below this post were the subject of an article, I really wouldn’t care to read how many brothers and sisters Charles Hall had, where he went to college, what church he belonged to, and where he is buried.

Posted Dec 5, 18 19:21 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Polaris Expedition


An earlier expedition ....


Posted Dec 5, 18 19:09 by Alan Campbell (alan campbell)

Editorial Policy at The Chronicle

I have written many articles in The Chronicle which were edited by Mr. Laurence. I have never found him to be high-handed or dictatorial in his corrections. Sometimes, he asks that I research something more thoroughly, or emends a silly joke. Early in 2017, I wrote about official covers addressed to the famous Yale paleontologist Otheil Marsh. I included a lot of information about the Bone Wars and various scientific disputes of the time regarding evolution. I was not asked to delete any of this historical background. Likewise, in an upcoming short article by Lester C. Lanphear III, there are two official covers to the Greely Expedition to Greenland which are Arctic-related. Mr. Laurence specifically directed us to include more historical background, especially tantalizing rumors of cannibalism (food supplies ran out during the winter, and teeth marks were found on the bones of stranded expedition members who perished). So, the impression that postal history articles in The Chronicle are restricted to the dry treatment of rates, routes, and postal markings is quite mistaken.

Posted Dec 5, 18 19:03 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

What belongs in a philatelic journal

Ken L, I generally agree with you. The focus of postal history as merely rates, routes, and postmarks can get quite dull. By the narrow definition, things like advertising covers, patriotic covers, expo covers, or even collections like some of mine that focus primarily on the use of specific stamps on cover (though I do try to find "interesting uses" as well as attractiveness) are not really postal history but something else - is there a specialist term for "history via postal artifacts"?

Posted Dec 5, 18 16:34 by Ken Stach (kenstach)

Philatelic Journals

Ken L - I agree with you wholeheartedly...and, it is rare that we agree (smile).

But, that is not to say that the USPCS cannot do as they wish. It is their journal, after all. They can print/edit as they wish in The Chronicle.

Personally, I edit two postal history journals (Western Express for the Western Cover Society, and The Dakota Collector for the Dakota Postal History Society). I encourage the inclusion of biographical details regarding the sender and the recipient, if they add to "the story" being told of the cover. Let's face it, a stamp worth not more than a penny or two on a Dakota Territorial postmarked cover worth a few dollars does not make for an interesting story, unless other facets are included (contents of the letter, if present, etc.).

In the most recent (December, 2018) issue of Western Express, I authored an article of approximately 80 pages on Clarke's Centennial Express to the Black Hills. Perhaps 1/3 of the article pertains to the actual covers carried, printed franks, etc. (and that is all in the appendices).

Any board members who are not members of the Western Cover Society wishing to receive a copy (PDF version) may contact me off the board and I'll email one to you.

Posted Dec 5, 18 15:18 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

What belongs in a philatelic journal? What doesn't?

The fourth quarter 2018 issue of Philatelic Literature Review, now in the mail to subscribers and on-line at the American Philatelic Research Library members' section of the website, includes my article titled as above. In it I criticized the editorial policy of the Classics Society Chronicle. I hope readers, particularly members of this community, will respond robustly with arguments in favor, against, and in whatever other direction holds promise.

Low-resolution PDF file of the issue is here.

Posted Dec 5, 18 14:34 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Older Abe

Ron -- that upper is a very rare local currency notation after June 1, 1792. 3/4 x 18d = 13+ d stg = about 27 cents. It may even include the penny post! The lower cover was once mine.

Posted Dec 5, 18 7:03 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

Discussion - The Other Abe Lincoln, c. 1790's

The discussion about the other Abe Lincoln stimulated my memory of a cover that was in George Kramer's rate collection which is posted here on the board - somewhere.

I believe this is the same fellow in the discussion.


Posted Dec 4, 18 21:01 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Bogus Blockade Postage


My study of these done back in 2001 is here

Posted Dec 4, 18 20:44 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)

St. Marks Confederate Cancel

These markings and stamps are truly quite interesting,
they date from curca 1865 or slightly before, ie 1864

Both stamps and markings are BOGUS

I have some ideas as to the origin but nothing firm, these the 
"original types" are scarce but there are fakes from the 1870-1880 

The handstamped cancels have no relation to actual blockade usages
as are the stamps

If anyone has real knowledge on these i am interested


Posted Dec 4, 18 18:02 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

St Marks

Yes, St. Marks, Florida served as a port of entry for blockade runners during the war. That stamps is a very nice addtion to record and almost certainly intended to as a mock St. Marks cancel.

Several mentions in "Lifeline of the Confederacy" by Stephen Wise which is my go-to book on the history of blockade-running.

Posted Dec 4, 18 17:51 by CJ White (cjwhite)

St. Marks Confederate Cancel

A section on Blockade Postage was recently added to the Farrell Collection on the Penny Post website.  In the collection is the piece shown attached to this post - I was hoping to find more information on this cancel.  Since I'm not super familiar with the Confederate stamps, I thought someone here could help me learn some more.

All the records I've found on the Blockade Postage stamps list (including the CSA Index here on Frajola) only list five known cities for cancels on the Rooke type 1 Blockade stamps: Charleston, Galveston, Savannah, Wilmington, and Mobile.  This stamp shows a similar cancel, but with the letters "MARKS".  The guess is that this might be St. Marks, Florida?  St. Marks was a port city, and apparently had a connection to a railroad - but was it known at all for Blockade mail?

Are there any other ideas for cities that this cancel might be?  Was St. Marks popular with Confederat posts, or are there other Confederate stamps with St. Marks postmarks?  I would really like to hear some ideas.


Posted Dec 4, 18 16:09 by Phil Candreva (philphil)

Re: Organization

The bulk of my cover collection consists of free-franked stampless covers from the era before the department official stamps. As such, the principal means of organization is by government agency and year. The covers are mounted, typically one to a page, with information about the cover, postal markings, biographical sketch of the person with the franking privilege, provenance, and any information about the recipient and circumstances. Those pages are in archival sleeves in binders with dust jackets. The binders are organized by agency: department of war, navy, treasury, etc. I build the pages in PowerPoint and so I have files that mirror the content of the binders. For SFL’s or letters with content, a reduced scanned image is printed on the page or on a separate page. In addition, I maintain a database of all the covers arranged chronologically, but searchable by many fields: point of origin, point of destination, year, who had the franking privilege, provenance, and acquisition information (whom I bought it from, the date, and price paid). Scanned images of covers and content are linked to the database. All electronic files are kept in Dropbox with duplicates synchronized at home and at work in the event of a computer crash or fire in either place.

Posted Dec 4, 18 12:51 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Letter Seals

Ken - most of what I see in the illustration are more common examples of early seals. The Venetian Republic letters, like early vellum documents of GB, often had inter-locking tabs that could be sealed with wax or embossed seals.

I probably am not understanding the definition or something .....

(add-on) I have an early 1881 Nepal registered envelope that likely included a coin that is made with a small paper pouch sewn into the inside of an envelope and then sealed with wax seals.

plus things like page below from my old patent envelope one-framer


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