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Posted Oct 7, 19 19:43 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Sperati Philatelie d’Art

Just starting a new new project. More details to follow.

Preview of test page here:

Posted Oct 6, 19 21:44 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)


John: What I meant was the letter wouldn't have been removed from the possessions for special processing.

Posted Oct 6, 19 20:01 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Personal possessions


In the three survival assistance cases I handled in the Army, all personal possessions were returned to next of kin.

Posted Oct 6, 19 19:26 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Letters could not be sent direct or forwarded to enemy countries.

Posted Oct 6, 19 18:57 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)


John: Remember the letter was to the soldier, so if in his belongings there would be no official reason for further processing, as the letter would have been properly delivered. As they didn't know he was a POW officially (letter could have been forwarded to POW camp?) he would have just been listed as missing.

I have several other covers/cards that were listed as deceased, but with no return date. One other also has a March 1919 Chelsea Terminal date stamp.

Posted Oct 6, 19 16:17 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

1918, not 2018

Posted Oct 6, 19 15:55 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Adolph Kaufman

Our friend was released from the POW camp on December 7, 2018, according to Red Cross records. Perhaps because he was sick or injured or conceivably in an exchange. But I still have not found him in any death records.


Posted Oct 6, 19 15:48 by Stephen T. Taylor (UK) (stevetayloruk)

Sescal Grand Award

Congratulations to Les Lanphear for winning the Grand here in Ontario, CA for his penalty mail exhibit

Posted Oct 6, 19 15:29 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


Letters may have been carried around by the soldier himself and processed for return when his personal belongings were recovers upon death.

Posted Oct 6, 19 10:29 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)


Steve: No reason for the family to rip open the letter roughly in desperation, as no new info would be inside and it originally came from them, so they would have known of the contents of an unopened letter.

As to KIA letters, there is a disconnect in that the Army may have notified next of kin expeditiously but letters sent to the soldiers may have (and did) circulated for months before the process came to the "return" conclusion (from unit to unit to hospital to disposition to Chelsea station to PO of origin to sender). Keep in mind that in addition to the war the Spanish Flu was killing 20 million other individuals, and in some (maybe many) instances the sender also may have passed, causing a search on the domestic side.

Posted Oct 6, 19 9:56 by Farley Katz (navalon)

WWI casualties

There is considerable information online about WWI soldiers. For example, military records show an Adolph Kaufman Jr, living at 160 West 131st Street , NYC. He left on the Cretic on April 6, 1918. He was a private with the 306th infantry, 77th Division, Machine Gun Company. His service number was 1,700,684. A casualty list published in many papers on October 11, 1918, listed Sergeant Adolph Kaufman, Jr. as Missing in Action. Newspapers dated Nov. 6-7, 1918 carried a list of US soldiers reported in German POW camps. Adolph Kaufman, Jr. of New York was listed at Camp Rastatt (in Baden). So far, I have not been able to trace Kaufman further.

Posted Oct 6, 19 8:39 by Richard Drews (bear427)


Finding a body was not always the standard for notifying the family of death. My father-in-law had open orders to fly on first avaible space to a new posting in the islands. He was chatting with his buddies on the docks near the ammo dump. He saw a plane getting ready for take off and dashed over. They had room for him for his first hop. Two days later, when he arrived at his new posting, he reported in for duty and was met with suspicion and consternation. He was informed that he had already be reported as dead. Minutes after his plane had taken off for the first segment of flights to his new posting, a Japanese plane had blown up the ammo dump, destoying the docks and killing everyone in the vicinity. His last known location was on the docks. There was no record on the island of his jumping on the flight. His family had already been notified. It took a few days to reverse all the paperwork and let his family know he was still alive. I never saw any mail that had markings from the period, just very disturbing photographs.


Posted Oct 6, 19 7:20 by John Barwis (jbarwis)



With regard to the June 1918 cover from Jersey City, how is it possible to know when the soldier died? The notations indicate that the letter went back and forth between the 306th and 307th Infantry Regiments (77th Infantry Brigade). The soldier could not be located, but why? in another unit? Killed but not found?

Both the 306th and 307th fought in the same battles: Oise-Aisne, Meuse-Argonne, Champagne, and Lorraine. The soldier's body may have lain of one of those battlefields for months before it was recovered.

Bodies of American soldiers are still being found in Korea and Vietnam...

Posted Oct 6, 19 6:22 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


It was the other way around, which has been my point from the start. By law undeliverable mail was returned expeditiously, not intentionally held to the end of the conflict. I found no order that changed that rule, so I have no reason to presume otherwise. Find one and I'll stand corrected.

As soon as an officer's report of a soldier's fate as killed or missing reached the Adjutant General's office, his mail could be signed and released, subject to notification of next of kin. Until then it was held. If none came in, an A.G. officer eventually had to release the remainder after everyone came home. Deducing that as normal procedure misreads thin evidence.

Posted Oct 6, 19 6:12 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Air Mail

It's obviously a contrived cover, using an imperforate block of stamps that could not have been bought over the post office counter. By the time it was sent there was no separate night air mail service or rate; it went on the first available flight from New York to Chicago at 10¢ per half ounce, so 20¢ for one ounce. Registry was either 15¢ minimum or 20¢ with $50 to $100 indemnity. That leaves 3¢, which the sender might have intended to pay for a return receipt, but omitted the endorsement.

Posted Oct 5, 19 23:40 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Airmail Rate

I need a little help figuring out if the rate for this cover is correct or over paid.


Posted Oct 5, 19 23:08 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)


For completeness, here is one cover returned missing and one returned deceased. Deceased sent Jul 1918, received NY May 1919, received home June 24, 1919 (on back, not scanned). Long enough to be labeled "delayed"? They went to a lot of trouble to try to find these soldiers before returning unopened mail from home.


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


When they could not find the bodies they marked letters to missing soldiers "Missing" and returned them. Maybe the fact that the United States was at war for such a brief part of WW1 leaves a false impression that letters were held simply because many were returned after November 11.

Posted Oct 5, 19 19:12 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)


My great grandfather is buried in the Aeroplane Cemetery in Ypres, Belgium, but I didn't know that before my ggrandmother passed away 60 years later so I never asked the details.

Posted Oct 5, 19 18:47 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Killed in Action

I agree that a delay at the sharp end was not uncommon due to difficulties in verification of the death (death likely but no body found, body unrecognizable).

I don't know how casualty reports were passed to Washington in WWI or WWII. In the Korean War casualties were reported by telegram.

Posted Oct 5, 19 18:19 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)


In WWI if you were KIA in no man's land you could rot to a skeleton before anyone could get to you, that is if shells didn't reduce the corpse to bits and pieces. If you go to the American cemetery in Bellau wood, France you will find a memorial containing the names of hundreds of soldiers whose remains were never identified. Hence the suggestion that verification could be slow.

Posted Oct 5, 19 16:49 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

mechanically inked and polished?

Ray, Is this about proof prints? Proofs were/are printed manually. For that matter I'm unaware of any mechanized intaglio inking and polishing on flatbed presses in the 19th or early 20th centuries. But if there had been, the quality could not have been high. Compare the quality of BEP's flat-plate and rotary press production prints of the same issues since 1914. (Proofs were pulled from rotary press plates before they were curved to fit the press mandrel.)

Posted Oct 5, 19 16:42 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Here is the first news report I pulled up, which reported the KIA five days after his death, along with others who died from natural causes.


Posted Oct 5, 19 16:25 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Killed in Action

Notification to next of kin is usually made within eight hours of verification of the casualty. That was certainly the case when I was called at 0500 and ordered to visit next-of-kin with the news of a death that had happened only three hours before, and on another continent. See:

Release of information to the public cannot be made until 24 hours after next of kin have been notified.

Posted Oct 5, 19 15:10 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

Partial sheets?


I have it in my mind the printing process does not have much manual handling except placing and pulling the sheets. I have it in my mind inking and wiping was mechanical. This would mean the whole plate was inked. Could ABNC have discarded a pane? Sure, but I can't think of a reason for doing that.

You must be thinking Atlanta's. All I can say about that is, I believe there is more history of plate proofs which is waiting to be revealed with continued research.

Posted Oct 5, 19 15:05 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Why do you assume considerable delay? Timely reporting of KIAs was/is every officer's duty. In any case, most KIA and MIA and POW covers ought to have datestamps that correspond to delays.

Posted Oct 5, 19 14:31 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)

Wake Island Cover

Ken: A popular handstamp applied to undeliverable mail was "DECEASED verified by STATISTICAL DIVISION H.A.E.F." Letters coming back went to Chelsea Terminal R.P.O. for disposition. Presumably the verification process caused considerable delay in most cases.

Posted Oct 5, 19 12:53 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Wake Island

Thank you all. The consensus is not to trim. I think that's right.

Here is the other side: In 1993, I believe, during the German-American Salon at Colopex, I exhibited my Nazi Scourge exhibit in the court of honor. Wernher Bohne called me aside, walked me through my exhibit, and told me that cover after cover needed to be made more presentable by trimming off unsightly parts. To me the whole exhibit was unsightly, which underscored its lesson. But at that time I was an apprentice judge, so I could not simply ignore the wisdom of an elder. Eventually I decided that since I did not intend to enter the exhibit in competition, that concern was not my worry. (Later George Kramer persuaded me to enter it in competition so that he could take it to an FIP exhibition, but by then I would not have tampered with any of the covers except to deacidify them.)

Steve C, I believe you are mistaken but I'm not a WW1 postal history expert. Both civilian and military postal regulations have always required the expeditious transport, delivery, or return of first class mail, with clearly marked explanations for any unavoidable delay. An August 20, 1918, POD order stated, "In the event of death of the addressee, the letter should be indorsed 'Deceased,' with the date of death, if known, and returned without additional cover." I found no earlier directive.

In WW2, General Eisenhower ordered that all letters to members of U.S. forces in the ETO, undeliverable because the addressee was missing, captured, killed, or believed to have deserted had to be directed to an authority he created to review and approve each item, and to endorse it for return according to explicit rules. As the supreme theater commander he had the authority to establish that procedure at the outset.

Authority in the Pacific, the Far East, China-Burma-India, and Africa was divided. Such uniformity of postal procedures as existed were negotiated among the POD and representatives of the War and Navy Departments, usually after a bad experience or an inter-departmental conflict required a solution.

Posted Oct 5, 19 11:54 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

Repair tape

George - thanks for your reference to I will study the pages and I'm sure I'll get ideas and the correct product.

Posted Oct 5, 19 11:22 by Larry Bustillo (suburban)


I would not trim.

Posted Oct 5, 19 11:12 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)

Wake Island Cover

During WWI I believe that similar undeliverable covers were first verified as to the death of the recipient and then were kept until the end of hostilities when they were returned to sender, just to avoid the mentioned scenarios. Did they not have this policy in place during WWII?

Posted Oct 5, 19 9:13 by George Tyson (gtyson)

Wake Island Cover

A somewhat different take: The edge can't be trimmed without trimming part of the cancellation. I would always think twice before doing anything to a cover (including "restoring" it) that alters a postal marking.

Posted Oct 5, 19 8:56 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Partial sheets?

Ray, I don't see any reason they could print a pane rather than a full sheet from a plate. Thus, maybe 500 would be a pane and two sheets.

Posted Oct 5, 19 6:22 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Wake Island Cover

I would definitely leave it the way it is. The “damage” is part of the cover’s history, and for letters like that, I don’t believe condition should ever be an issue.

Posted Oct 4, 19 21:58 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

Wake Island

Another vote for no trim.

That is its natural state.

Posted Oct 4, 19 21:18 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Wake Island

Ken - absolutely not!

The family saw "Deceased" and freaked out, frantically tearing the letter open. The cover damage is an important part of the story.

On three occasions during the Vietnam War, I had to go to the homes of parents whose sons had been killed, and advise them of the death, with details when available. I can assure you that tearing off the end of an envelope was a trivial act compared the the in-person reactions I saw.

Nevertheless that approach was far more humane that simply sending a telegram or returning a letter hand-stamped with a death notice.

Posted Oct 4, 19 20:22 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Wake Island Cover

In the past couple of weeks, I've seen the term Adversity Cover several times in reference to envelopes made from wallpaper and other materials due to shortage of 'normal' paper during the US Civil War. I suppose this term has been in use for a long time and will outlast us all. But if a sender was intentionally hoarding a few remaining 'normal' envelopes for use on special occasions and used wallpaper instead whenever possible, is that still an Adversity Cover?

If in peacetime, someone who had run out of 'normal' envelopes were to fabricate an envelope from wallpaper and mail it, that would presumably not be categorized as an Adversity Cover.


We cannot know the reaction of Sgt. Nanninga's family when their Dec. 29th letter was returned with the Deceased marking, after weeks or months of not hearing from him. One can, however, imagine them roughly opening the envelope in their initial shock and grief.

A true Adversity Cover, even though no one would refer to it that way.

If it were in my stock, I would definitely not trim it at all.

Posted Oct 4, 19 18:17 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

If this Wake Island  cover were yours to exhibit (or to sell), would you trim it at the right?

Posted Oct 4, 19 18:04 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

WW2 Wake Island KIA cover

On November 20, 1941, the seaplane tender USS Wright delivered Navy Commander Winfield Scott Cunningham and Marine Major James Patrick Sinnot Devereaux from Hawaii to Wake Island, along with personnel and equipment of Marine Air Group 21. Among the enlisted men who debarked from the Wright was Marine Sgt. Henry David Nanninga. On December 4, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise delivered airplanes and pilots to Wake Island, which completed the deployment of the newly constituted VMF-211 fighter unit that combined MAG-21 equipment and personnel with Marines from two other air groups.

On the morning of December 8 (December 7 at Hawaii), Japanese forces attacked. A direct hit on one of the unit’s Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter planes instantly killed the pilot as he climbed into the cockpit, preparing to escort the Pan American Airways Philippine Clipper to safety. The explosion also killed three enlisted members of his ground crew, including Nanninga, in a ball of fire. They were among the first U.S. combat deaths in the Pacific war.

Nanninga’s family had no way of knowing that he had been transferred to Wake Island, or that he had died there, when his father sent this cover to him, posted December 29, 1941, from Pekin, Illinois, with postage paid by a single 20¢ Twin-Engine Transport air mail stamp (the air mail rate for a half-ounce letter from the continental United States to Hawaii).

At Hawaii it was examined by a Navy censor who obliterated Nanninga’s rank and location. The cover was probably held at Pearl Harbor for anticipated onward transport to Nanninga at Wake Island until it was clear that the Japanese capture and occupation would not be reversed. It was marked “Deceased” in pencil, struck front and back with “Returned to Sender” endorsements in black ink, checked “Deceased,” and eventually sent back to Illinois.

Nanninga’s picture is here. The Navy officially announced his death on May 4, 1942; on September 28, 1943, he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. 

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. That might have occurred with this cover, but without a return date that cannot be verified.

However, POD 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,” and added, “Postmasters are directed to delete the word ‘Deceased’ from composite stamps used in indorsing reasons for return of mail to sender. All delivering employees and others involved in the return of mail to the sender are to initial this order.”

If appropriately obeyed, this cover was marked “Deceased” before that order had been distributed, which in turn was before the Navy confirmed that Sgt. Nanninga had been killed in action. It might well have been his family’s first report of his death.


Posted Oct 4, 19 15:16 by George Tyson (gtyson)

Repair tape

Roger, there are many different "archival" repair tapes. There is a good selection at Aside from being non-acidic, "archival" tape is supposed to be removable. Unfortunately, I'm told that many tapes that are advertised as removable really aren't. However, the people at Talas are knowledgeable and if you give them a call they might be able to steer you right.

If the postcards are valuable, you might consider just reinforcing the splits with stamp hinges which are, of course, removable. Although they're not as attractive, they're more likely to preserve the value than transparent archival tape, particularly if the latter really can't be removed.

Posted Oct 4, 19 14:02 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

Repair tape

I have some double and a couple of triple postcards circa 1900-1910 that need either strengthening on the fold or reattached, instead of having two parts. Ideally the repair material would be transparent.

Any idea what would be a suitable material, or source for this type of repair tape? Scan shows both sides of a triple card.


Posted Oct 4, 19 13:04 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Postage Due Proofs

Ray - Once again I will point you to the Irwin collection. Proof and essay section here. Maybe something of use.

It is a fool's errand trying to reconstruct proof sets by year set. Buy them in full sets in the original envelopes with impeccable povenance only.

Barry J 1869s - Add-on emphasis added : I just found my catalog for the Juring collection of 1869s which convinced of the above statement (a 1978 Sotheby's sale that I described). Lot #308, "#112-122P4, Proofs on Card, the intact specialized collection of 99 proofs and two original envelopes, a thorough study of the five different printings (1879, 1885, 1890, 1893, 1895) with various shade and card thickness varieties within printings, includes 15c (11) ...... etc, etc."

individiual lots included a couple sets in original envelopes as well

Posted Oct 4, 19 12:15 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

Card Proof Printings


I have been searching for due multiples for ... well ... since I started collecting dues about 6 years ago. My observation is almost all multiples come from 4th or 5th printing. I not found any multiples from the 3rd printing.

There is a strange auction item in a Heritage 2008 auction for a set of blocks in brown. Here is my problem with that. I have 2 sets which appear to be brown but under UV are claret. Now based on previous comment I have some doubt that the Heritage items were brown and not clarets. I have to see and test them before I am convinced.

Based on Brazers sales lists, he thought there were only 500 card proofs per set and 200 india proofs per color. For dues that would imply at least 3 sheets of card proofs  for each value thus leaving a pane per value for each printing. Now one problem is apparently some of these were used as specimens for UPU. As for the multiples of clarets, my experience is most if not all are from the Lilly sheets. This is one reason I would like to eventually figure out if there is a difference between the Lilly sheets and distributed card proofs. As far as numbers are concerned I can prove there were at least three sheets of india proofs for at least the brown one cent, thus making 600 possible specimens available and not Brazers 200.

If anyone has seen or know of brown multiples, please contact offline.

Posted Oct 4, 19 12:03 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)




Posted Oct 4, 19 10:11 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Matt's Card Proofs

As Matt's set shows, there is not enough difference between 1890, 1893 and 1894 card thickness to be able to make a meaningful separation.

Posted Oct 3, 19 21:31 by Matthew Kewriga (mkewriga)

Card Proof Printings

My 2c Vermilion set was ex-T.F. Morris Jr., Finkleburg. I unfortunately have never got a 2c brown set.

I was always told all of the multiples are from one printing, anyone hear or read anything to this effect? I heard that the four other printings were all cut into singles for sets.


Posted Oct 3, 19 21:13 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Card Proofs


Yes, your set was ex Finkelburg and I think ex Brazer. It should be the gold standard for identification. When we finish sorting through them, I'll see if they can be assigned to printings.

It seems remarkable to me that shade is not a better indicator than card thickness. Getting the ink mixture the same between printings separated by years would be quite a feat.

Posted Oct 3, 19 16:30 by Barry Jablon (friday)

Card proofs

Regarding the ABC card proofs reprinting the 1869 issue, I've learned enough to believe that measuring card thickness is dicey at best, and my core interest is what pigment ABC used-- which I assume hasn't yet been tested.

Speaking of which, I wrote an article on "Ink and Paper of the 3 cent Pictorial," CCP 96:6 and 98:2, which became controversial because I said among other things that it was time to retire the fantasy of "Scott 63a," the purported ultramarine Franklin. Some time after the article, the PF got around to analyzing its file copies of their "63a." The result: they "did not differ" in pigment composition from Scott 63, ie, they were all Prussian blue, not ultramarine. I urged them to publish this--offered to help--but nothing seems to be happening, so you heard it here first.

Which is appropriate, because my article arose from a conversation on this Board.

PS: if anyone has ABC card proofs of the 114 for sale, please contact me off the board.

Posted Oct 3, 19 15:53 by Richard Drews (bear427)

card proofs


You sold a set of 5 printings of the 1861 issue in your sale of my material (lot 63). You also sold the sets of India and card blocks. Ron Burns claims there were 6 printings and he is likely correct. I gave Jim Lee a holding of extra card and India proofs to sell for me including a set of the second printing, most with envelopes or fronts.


Posted Oct 3, 19 14:30 by Stephen Tedesco (steddy)

Card Proofs


There is one method that will always get your foot in the door. The second printing. I'm trying myself to build a reference set(s) for the large Bank Notes.

I've been very successful by starting with the 2nd printing. This is the thinnest card and quite unmistakable. After that it's a long road with many cards needed to get a possible set. Some printing colors are in my opinion much easier to complete with a high degree of confidence. I wish I would have bought every reference set you sold in the Bank Notes!!

Year 1882 Proof thickness 0.0090-0.0095 Envelope Dimensions, mm 92 x 59 w/ rounded flap Quantity 1000

In my opinion you need a large sampling

The 5 cent images are from Jim's Website. They have been sold. What I call easy colors.


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