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Posted Jan 25, 23 10:13 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Color-coded cancels

John Walsh asked "In US pre stamp days what cancel color denoted PAID?" The answer is that there was no color-coding to indicate whether a letter was paid. The presence of the word "PAID" indicated that a letter was paid. No "PAID," and postage due was charged, no matter the colors of postmarks, unless the cover was marked "free" or simply "f" usually seen on covers addressed to postmasters, members of Congress, etc.

Use of "PAID" lasted until prepayment by stamps was required in 1855, and stampless markings with the word included are seen up to that time. After stamps were required, the presence or absence of a stamp was the controlling factor.

Color-coding, by my observation, came along with foreign mail, when red and black began to code for paid and unpaid.

Posted Jan 25, 23 9:44 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Postmaster Provisional Use

While NY Provisional stamps stopped being sold at the NY PO on June 30, 1847, the USPCS census records 11 covers posted with those adhesives as late as January 1850. They are marked PAID with the red NY curved handstamp. The cover below was posted on Dec. 13, 1849.


Posted Jan 25, 23 9:17 by John Walsh (john walsh)

July 1 1847 cover

On this imaged cover the cancel is red. In US pre stamp days what cancel color denoted PAID? In Nfld. the red cancel denoted PAID. Whereas a black cancel denoted Unpaid. John Walsh.

Posted Jan 25, 23 9:04 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Postage stamp handling procedures

My Chronicle article answers that question in detail for the New York City post office, and sets forth the legal requirements that applied to all United States post offices whose postmasters requested supplies of stamps (or, as not intended by Congress, whose postmasters purchased sample supplies of stamps from postmasters who requested and obtained supplies from the Post Office Department.)

The law also forbade further sales of postmaster provisional stamps, establishing a federal monopoly. Thus, procedures for handling provisional stamps were extinguished when the law became effective on July 1, 1847.

Nevertheless, the law was sufficiently ambiguous that New York Postmaster Robert Morris kept busy writing letters that explained the complex procedures to other postmasters.

Posted Jan 25, 23 7:00 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Postage-stamp handling procedures

Does anyone on this board have information about how adhesives were handled in large post offices, especially New York? The discussion following Ken's post caused me to think of how the "new" way of paying the rates was handled elsewhere.

When Victoria first issued adhesive postage stamps in 1850, the GPO's procedure was - every morning - to record how many stamps of each denomination were taken from the safe and placed in the window-clerk's drawer. At close of business, stamps were returned to the safe and a check was done to ensure that the monies taken in matched the value of stamps sold that day.

So perhaps, at the NYPO: - The stamps show up at mid-day on 1 July. It's busy. There is insufficient time to call a huddle to introduce a new process. - There are no procedures in place for handling or recording the sales of adhesives. Appropriate procedures are put in place by the Postmaster that afternoon, and sales begin the next morning.

Such procedures may have included: "Use scissors to separate the stamps guys, don't tear them." "Here is a form for you to record how many are in your drawer at opening and closing of business, and to record the change in your cash drawer."

Posted Jan 25, 23 5:49 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

July 1


Correct. The obvious was missed by previous comments.

Posted Jan 24, 23 20:49 by Van Koppersmith (koppersmith)

July 1 1847 cover

This cover was sent collect (there is no paid marking), so no stamp would have been applied.

Posted Jan 24, 23 20:17 by John Walsh (john walsh)

July 1 1847 cover

The piece of mail really says: that when mailed on July 1 that no stamp was at the wicket at the moment the letter was posted. The cancel says/shows that. Otherwise the mail piece would have a different item on it cancelled. John Walsh.

Posted Jan 24, 23 18:36 by Van Koppersmith (koppersmith)

July 2 1847 cover

The July 1 FLS was written on July 1 and it was postmarked on July 1. That seems to leave open the possibility of purchasing a stamp, immediately using it and having it postmarked on July 1, probably with a destination other than Indiana.

Posted Jan 24, 23 16:33 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

July 2 1847


My article is 15 pages long. A twitter-length summary cannot fairly represent it. I reproduced that advertisement as one bit of evidence. I encourage you to read the entire article instead of guessing what it might include.

Michael Laurence wrote on his Editor's Page: "In our 1847 section, page 27, journalist/researcher Ken Lawrence examines the procedures New York developed during this key learning period [1845-1847], providing a deeply researched backdrop for his bold assertion that the 2x10¢ cover postmarked July 2, 1847—currently on loan to the National Postal Museum from billionaire William Gross and our cover girl this issue—is not just the earliest known use of a United States stamp, but a bona fide first day cover as well."

Posted Jan 24, 23 16:27 by John Walsh (john walsh)

July 1 1847 cover

Now go back and read J Barwis From the Smithsonian Postal Museum opinionated words. Remove the believe probably and another probably you will see it is conjecture. An opinion being accepted as fact. Oh what mortals we be who really want to believe. How can it be accurate?, it is full of conjecture. As the saying is "where's the fact". John Walsh.

Posted Jan 24, 23 15:45 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

July 1, 1847

Ken, I haven't read your article yet. Are you saying the stamps arrived too late for the 3PM cut off and therefore had to be sold the next day? That sounds like it might well fly.


Posted Jan 24, 23 14:24 by John Walsh (john walsh)

July 1 1847 cover

Thank you K Lawrence. It certainly shows how fast business's answered their mail in those good ole days. If only they did it today! A motto that needs to be recaptured by today's businesses. A job to negate the info on that mailed letter. John Walsh.

Posted Jan 24, 23 14:14 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

July 2 1847 first day cover

The entire point of my Chronicle article is to demonstrate that the July 2 cover is a true first day cover. Please at least read the article before objecting to it.

Posted Jan 24, 23 14:11 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

NEW-YORK 10cts postmark

Perhaps Tom Mazza will enlighten us. Susan McDonald observed that the marking was struck on paid letters in her refutation of Michael Zelenak's claim that it was struck as a collect marking on the July 2 cover.

Posted Jan 24, 23 14:07 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

July 1 1847 stampless

the docketing


Posted Jan 24, 23 14:06 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

July 1 1847 stampless

When lawyers for the estate of the discoverers/owners of the July 2 1847 cover submitted it to the Philatelic Foundation for certification in 1989, they submitted the July 1 folded letter as a comparison reference for the postmark. That was/is its relevance.

Readers of my article will be aware that I cited and answered the rest of the points posted again here regarding the July 1 delivery, which no one has disputed since 1972, and the unproven claim of July 1 sales, which my article challenges. I trust that someone who clings to the July 1 sale faith will publish an opposing opinion. The epigraph of my article is:

"It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse races."
Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar," May 1894

Here is the content of the July 1 folded letter:


Posted Jan 24, 23 13:40 by Ken Stach (kenstach)

July 1, 1847

I am not sure how a July 1, 1847 stampless "10" from NYC has relevance to the presence or not of 10c stamps in the office that day. Perhaps the stampless cover was postmarked in the morning, the new 10c stamps arrived at noon, and began to be used thereafter. We see this with San Francisco "straight line" handstamps versus circular date stamps...both are known from Aug 1, 1849 as the CDS apparently arrived on the ship that day. Early day ones have the straight line, and late day the CDS.

Posted Jan 24, 23 13:40 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Absence of evidence

When one looks pretty hard, absence of evidence can well be evidence of absence. I am pretty sure that I don't have three thumbs.

It is interesting that the EKU of the the 5 center is 7 July (of the top of my head) and, even with the early shipment to Boston, I think there is only one July use. Thus the July 2 posting is very much an outlier and unlikely to be replaced by the open and semi-open market (collectors and private attics). The question is how much unexamined material still lies in archives -- probably significant. I have been told of one such holding at a Boston area cemetary.

It is very very unlikely that most of the viewers of this Board will ever see a first day cover of the 1847 issue.

Posted Jan 24, 23 13:31 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

First July, 1845 mail packet arrival (Way letters)

Here is the page from my "Downstreaming" exhibit with two of the first arrival July 1845 covers. They were marked up earlier than the one Richard showed, though probably later than the Boston cover (not shown). (Alas, even Richard is nodding -- he has a copy of the exhibit I sent along lo! these many years.) The exhibit demolishes the the Winter/Schwartz special arrangement theory: the documentation negates it, the geographic distribution of covers is dramatically inconsistent with the requested arrangement, and the special handling (not special arrangement based) shows an intermittency, triple pattern of marking dates/places, and correlation of the category of marking with the time of arrival.

These are a variant of late mail way cover. Such things have a long history, along with truncated (office of arrival) markings. One trigger of especial interest is the arrival of a bolus of covers (e.g. by boat) that is too late to properly mark up for the next mail. This may explain the lack of town marks on some coloniai ship covers and especially on 18th century incoming mail packet letters. Also relates to material, say, on the line between WDC and NYC in the late 40s, including the PHILADELPHIA and BALTIMORE R.R. red straight lines. It is a whole poorly explored area.


Posted Jan 24, 23 13:01 by John Walsh (john walsh)

July 1 1847 cover

Looking at the Lawrence item it looks to have a written letter inside of it. May we see the letter WHICH may have a date well prior to the date cancel on the front? This would/could offer information 'suggesting' it was placed into the mail prior to the start of the new July 2 postal rate requirement. John Walsh.

Posted Jan 24, 23 13:01 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

From the Smithsonian Postal Museum:

"On June 26, 1847, the printers advised Postmaster General Johnson that 200,000 ten-cent stamps and 600,000 five-cent stamps were ready for delivery. Johnson dispatched a special post office agent, believed to be John Marron, Third Assistant Postmaster General, to take delivery of the precious cargo. Marron arrived in New York on June 29 to take possession of the "parcel" of stamps. Before noon on July 1, Marron delivered 60,000 five-cent and 20,000 ten-cent stamps to Robert Morris, the New York City postmaster. While no cover is known to have been posted at New York on July 1, the first day of issue, the new stamps were probably available for sale by that afternoon. The earliest known cover bearing one of these stamps was postmarked at New York City on July 2, 1847, although the stamps were probably purchased on the first day of issue."

If the above paragraph is accurate, an adhesive-bearing cover posted on the afternoon of 1 July may exist. It's unlikely, given that so many collectors have been looking for so long - but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Posted Jan 24, 23 13:00 by John Walsh (john walsh)

July 1 1847 cover

Looking at the Lawrence item it looks to have a written letter inside of it. May we see the letter WHICH may have a date well prior to the date cancel on the front? This would/could offer information 'suggesting' it was placed into the mail prior to the start of the new July 2 postal rate requirement. John Walsh.

Posted Jan 24, 23 12:42 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

July 1, 1847 Cover

Maybe I am wrong, but if that July 1, 1847, cover does not have a marking that says "PAID", shouldn't we assume it was sent due on receipt.

Posted Jan 24, 23 7:03 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

July 2 1847

You don't need to go back. I have quoted all the pertinent passages of the McDonald and Hart articles in order to explain why I disagree.
Here is my July 1 1847 cover, which was submitted as a reference to the PF along with the July 2 cover.


Posted Jan 23, 23 19:36 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

July 1847


I have not seen the Chronicle or your article, but from the title I think you are making the case that July 2, 1847, was the first day of sale/use, not July 1. I would have to go back to Susan McDonald's (and C. Hart) article(s) on the distribution, as well as the Travers Papers and other sources, but from memory I thought they had substantial documentary evidence that the stamps were in the post office and available July 1.

If indeed you have unearthed evidence that July 2 is the actual first day, then Mr. Gross's cover currently on display at the NPM (pictured on the Chronicle) has even greater signficance.

I have been loooking unsuccessfully for NYC stampless covers with prepaid 5c and 10c rate markings dated July 1 (Thu), 2, 3, 4 (Sun), 5, 6, 7 and 8. These would be very interesting as examples of prepayment without stamps during the first week stamps were available.

Posted Jan 23, 23 12:39 by Bob Watson (neopanax)

February Chronicle

I probably won't be the first to notice that the cover of the February issue that Ken showed is dated 2022.

Posted Jan 23, 23 10:09 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

New Classics Society Chronicle

The February 2023 Chronicle includes my article, "America's Greatest First Day Cover." Readers who are familiar with Stan Piller's book on the 1845 New York postmaster provisional stamps will see that some of my research findings contradict his assumptions.


Posted Jan 22, 23 8:47 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Postal History Sunday

Today's installment of Postal History Sunday is available for those who might enjoy reading it.


Posted Jan 21, 23 15:08 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Philadelphia 12

Philadelphia quickly exchanged the manuscript “12” seen on Richard’s cover for a blue 12 in circle handstamp. The cover below shows the earliest known use of that handstamp on a cover from Liverpool, which left on the Britannia on July 4 and arrived at Boston on the 19th. It was sent without processing at Boston to Philadelphia and may have arrived there and received the blue handstamp on the 20th.


Posted Jan 21, 23 12:39 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

19 June 1845 Cunard Sailing

I think I have an example of that sailing -- it fits two of my interests. Note that the example shown to Philadelphia was rated on July 3 (or 4).

Posted Jan 21, 23 12:36 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

July 1, 1863 carrier cover

Brer Mazda has been kind enough to inform me that the lot numbers that came with two of my covers do not match up with the items bearing those numbers in the May, 1980 Haas sale. So the fact that they do not appear in the Haas record that Richard has set up probably means nothing.

Posted Jan 21, 23 11:51 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Packet Cover


Posted Jan 21, 23 11:36 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

Packet Steamer - Fantasy?

Greetings to the board. Is this Packet Steamer marking a fantasy or is it the real McCoy. Usually I can find a comparable marking by searching all the typical past auction houses. But in this case I cannot find anything. Thanks.


Posted Jan 21, 23 8:56 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Acadia's June 19 1845 Trip

This letter just arrived on my desktop - a nice combination of markings in red - it was carried on the Cunard Line steamer Acadia that departed Liverpool on 19 June 1845 and arrived in Boston on 2 July 1845. It also bears the new manuscript 12c due ship letter rate that went into effect the day before on 1 July 1845.

These should be around but I don't recall having seen an example before - (I do recall that Eigil Trondsen has one from this sailing used to Maine with a Boston postmark of July 3 and a "7" ship rate handstamp).


Posted Jan 19, 23 16:30 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

The July 1, 1863 cover (Marc Haas record possibly incomplete)

On the cover that I illustrated recently, a NY carrier use on the first day of the new 2 cent rate (underpaid) --the content, dated June 13 in Solingen, confirms the German origin. How it was bootlegged, I have no idea (but I do know that this is a topic that has never been properly explored).

Two of the three covers in the lot claim to be from the 1980 Haas sale -- 136 and 148. I wonder what they brought. They do not show up in the extensive Haas data base on this site. (136 is a 26 plus 36 to France. The third cover is not auction value and is annotated SG 60, obviously referring to Stanley Gibbons, who did sell much Haas material.)

Posted Jan 19, 23 14:19 by Michael Mahler (mikemahler)

Wickenburg, A.T. 1866

My first guess years ago was "Oroville," now with the internet available good hits turn up: a B.F. Jones (1829-1867) was Butte County (Cal.) recorder at Oroville in 1866!

So plausibly J. D. Givens at Wickenburg was sending $700 to B. F. Jones at Oroville, via Wells Fargo. B. Phelps, as prominent owner of the Vulture, was apparently simply a facilitator.

If the document was found in Hackett's "Four Boxes of Trash," it must have accompanied the $$.

Why was Givens sending $$ to from Wickenburg to Oroville? After Henry W's discovery, miners and others rushed there; Givens may have gone from one gold region to another and was sending $$ back?

As I type this, searching "j d givens oroville" provides an unexpected answer:

COMPANY-A, 1ST CAL. CAVALRY VOLUNTEERS, was organized in February, 1865. E.C. Ledyard was captain, Thos. S. Dean first lieutenant, and J. D. Givens second lieutenant; 103 men were mustered into service during the month. It was recruited in Oroville, and all the men lived in the county. The company was ordered to Arizona, and was selected as the escort of Gen. John S. Mason. It traversed the whole territory, and was finally stationed at Prescott. Before leaving here the citizens presented them with a magnificent battle-flag.

Puzzle solved, and a nice military facet added to this gem. Hurrah for the internet!

Posted Jan 19, 23 12:41 by Michael Mahler (mikemahler)


Ken, You're right of course. Memory fail, my only excuse is that Irv and Herb at least sound alike.

Posted Jan 19, 23 11:28 by Ken Stach (kenstach)


I believe you mean Irwin "Irv" Vogel, one of the early members of the Western Cover Society.

Posted Jan 19, 23 4:20 by Michael Mahler (mikemahler)

Wickenburg, A.T. 1866

“Recd. Wickenberg Jany 9 of Mr. J. D. Givens Seven hundred dollars currency to be delivered to Wells Fargo & Co San Francisco enclosed to B. F. Jones --ville. B Phelps.”

Earliest recorded use of a revenue stamp in Arizona, and great historic interest.

Trying to piece together the backstory of this document. The "Arizona Miner" of Jan 10, 1866, reported that Bethuel Phelps had bought the Vulture Mine, arguably Arizona's most famous gold mine, from Henry Wickenburg for $50,000. (An 1868 interview with Wickenburg claims an 80% version was sold for $85,000.)

But coming up empty on Givens, Jones and --ville. There was a Jones & Werninger pack train operating between La Paz and Prescott, but that was a different Jones (W. W.). Search of the "Arizona Miner" for "ville" yields only Hardyville and Callville; first letter here could be "C" but already two "l"s in "ville" and the mysterious letters are dissimilar to those.

I bought this during a lunchtime visit to (Herb) Vogel Tools in the 1980s. Herb had just acquired it in a large lot in the Butterfields sale of the George Hackett material, much of it from the fabled "Four Boxes of Trash" which included the famous "Garter Cover" that George Kramer came West to snag. Those boxes contained five decades of Wells Fargo undeliverables, unceremoniously dumped on the street outside their San Francisco office. So presumably this piece was one of those never delivered.

Actually the archaic wording makes it hard to determine exactly what transaction is being described. $700 was being transmitted to WF in SF, but was Phelps merely facilitating it? $700 Givens to WF via Phelps, transmitted by Jones?

Any siggestions appreciated!


Posted Jan 18, 23 10:15 by Ken Stach (kenstach)

Official Register

I've been able to find all years on-line for download except 1901, 1903, and 1905. Can anyone point me in the right direction for these three years? I've been trying for hours to try to find downloadable versions on-line to no avail. I'm trying to get postmaster compensation data from Volume 2 of each of these three years. Thanks in advance for your help. GOT WHAT I NEEDED WITH THE HELP OF BOARD MEMBERS. THANKS!

Posted Jan 18, 23 9:15 by Kimberlee Fuller (kimberlee)

Collectors Club - Westward Expansion - Mark Banchick - 1/18/23 - 5:30PM ET

We would like to remind you to attend our second live, virtual program of 2023, scheduled for this evening, Wednesday, January 18, 2023, at 5:30 pm EST. We will be featuring a program presented by a fellow very well known on this message board, Mark Banchick. The focus of his program is Westward Expansion/Manifest Destiny: People and National Issues behind the events.

(Scott Trepel, if this description looks familiar, I referred to your lot description from the December sale. Cheers!) Robert E. Lee was promoted to Brevet Colonel on Sep. 13, 1847. It was the highest rank he achieved in the United States Army. Shortly before resigning his commission and joining the Confederacy, he became a permanent Colonel in March 1861. Covers from Lee during his active service in the Mexican War are extremely rare. This small envelope penned in Lee's own hand was addressed to his wife. It is the only known surviving cover sent from him to her during this turbulent period of history.

If you haven't registered already, please click on THIS LINK or this link:

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


Posted Jan 17, 23 20:32 by Winston Williams (winstonw)

NY to Liverpool 1842 - Freight money aspect


Thank you, I had ignored the freight money aspect.

The business letter (from W. B. Bond [think 'o' is the vowel in the surname]) enclosed a bill of exchange. I don't know if Bond had an NYPO account or paid in cash.

Posted Jan 17, 23 18:42 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

New York Exchange Office Registration Label Question

A couple of years ago someone on this board (I'm thinking Matt K?) beat me out of a 4th class NY exchange label on the eBay Germany board for a relative bargain price. (My mistake in thinking no one else in the US was looking).

Posted Jan 17, 23 18:13 by Mike Ludeman (mml1942)

New York Exchange Office Registration Label Question

I’ve had an interest in the red/white exchange office labels used at the US Exchange Offices on outgoing registered mail between 1883-1910 for a number of years, during which I’ve observed hundreds, if not thousands of covers and cover images, most of which were the standard New York label with either EXCHANGE or CITY at the right edge.

There are several other varieties which were used at New York.

I recently acquired the cover shown below, now in the cover census as entry 29622, Barbara Mueller, in her pioneering series on these label in the USSS Specialist during 1973, only mentioned these briefly, noting that there were “intended for use on third or fourth class mail.” She further reported that she was aware of only two labels, but she did not mention whether they were loose or on a cover or parcel wrapper.

Later writers have been equally quiet about mail with this particular label. The Charles Meroni collection of these Exchange Office labels on cover, sold in Schuyler Rumsey Sale #60, Lots 1425 and 1426, identified both lots of being “One of less than six recorded”. One of these was on a traditional first class registered letter to Switzerland, while the other on what appeared to be a wrapper, but inbound from India to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Examination of an older photocopy of a Elliott Landau exhibit of these exchange labels did not include an example. Al Kugel’s one frame exhibit with examples of these exchange labels from all but one office included one of the Meroni covers with this label

Can anyone help with either (a) more examples of a cover or piece with this particular label, or (b) offer another theory of their purpose.

Thanks in advance. Mike


Posted Jan 17, 23 16:20 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

NY to Liverpool 1842

Theoretically, what happened is that the letter was sent as a NYPO freight money letter. This would required monkeying with the accounting, as the freight money charge was off the books. And the freight money charge was 50 cents. Was it paid in cash? (Dick Winter has evidently suppressed the existence of such letters, but I have several.)

Posted Jan 17, 23 15:20 by Winston Williams (winstonw)

Transatlantic NY 1842 letter – paid and endorsed via Boston but sent from NY

Can anyone throw light on why the NY sender and the NY post office accepted this letter to go via Boston, with 37½c paid, when in fact it went from NY on the Great Western?

The NY writer has dated the letter Nov 15th 1842. Coupled with the NY datestamp (aside; I’ve not seen the month upside down before), it was clearly handed to the NY Post Office on that day. But NY newspapers stated that the Caledonia mails closed at the Boston Post Office at half three on the afternoon of the 15th for the sailing on the 16th.

I presume it would be impossible for the letter to have got to Boston in time and that the NY Post Office would have been well aware of that. In such circumstances was it the norm to ignore the sender docketing “pr Steamer via Boston”, or for the PO to take the money and run?

The sender wasted his 37½c, but not too much time was lost. The letter instead went on the Great Western that left NY 17th and arrived at Liverpool on the 30th, a day later than the Caledonia.


Posted Jan 17, 23 13:31 by David D'Alessandris (davidd)

Gold Mining Cover

Origin postmark is Marysville CA December 1859. Transit marks on back are January 1860.

Posted Jan 17, 23 13:22 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Gold Mining Cover

Both Canadian backstamps are 1860.

Posted Jan 17, 23 12:51 by David D'Alessandris (davidd)

Gold Mining Cover

it might just be the way the perfs cut into the stamp, but is the 5 cent stamp a type II?  EKU for the Type II is 1860.

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