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Posted Jan 7, 20 15:03 by David Benson (dbenson)



The date of the cancel on the stamps are the same as the Sydney transit mark which proves that the ship was in Sydney at that time,

The only German Ship I could locate that was in Sydney at that time was the SS Chemnitz,''did that have a cancel of that type,

David B,


Posted Jan 7, 20 14:13 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

UPU Postage Due Charges

David: Many thanks for sharing this most informative link. It is most helpful for my project.

Posted Jan 7, 20 12:40 by Alan Campbell (alan campbell)

Clinton, N. Y. Cover

Glenn: This has to be a 1¢ unsealed circular third class rate. An undated postmark (third class mail is not time-sensitive) that serves also as a killer is fairly standard at this time. Device is clearly a commercial vulcanized rubber handstamp, custom-made for the postmaster who ordered it. However, I do have an off-cover socked-on-the-nose strike on a 2¢ Interior official stamp - it seems quite unlikely that third-class official mail would have gone through the post office there.

Posted Jan 7, 20 9:05 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Why is it difficult to credit a postal clerk as having purchased a canceling device to make his job easier? Without it he'd have had to scrawl the post office name on every letter presented to him for posting.

Posted Jan 7, 20 6:00 by Glenn Estus (gestus)

Clinton, NY

Dear Brian, Terry, and Vince:

Thanks for your input on my question. I wonder if the "cancel" might have been just a rubberstamp for official documents and some how was used to cancel the stamp in the "heat of the moment"

I've attached a scan of the full cover. Perhaps that might give more information.


Posted Jan 7, 20 0:47 by Brian Buru (brianb)

Clinton NY postmaster.

Terence, the 1886 Congressional Record of the House of Representatives shows that the commission of Benjamin F. Libbey expired on December 20, 1885. This is what I learned about his term of office:

- Nominated to be Deputy Postmaster on April 2, 1869, in place of Morris S. Wood, who was removed;

- Appointed April 5, 1869;

- Reappointed March 25, 1873;

- Commission expired March 25, 1877;

- Reappointed April 19, 1877;

- Commission expired on December 20, 1885, and was replaced by Arthur W. Bronson.

What I found interesting during my search, was that his salary decreased substantially from $2,200 in 1872 to $1,600 in 1885. Was that due to ill health, and an inability to perform perhaps? The registers also show that there were, in fact two clerks at the Clinton Post Office, namely W. R. Libbey (on $600) and J. H. Libbey (on $120). The difference in salary between the two is obviously commensurate with responsibility, and when coupled with the possible decline of B. F. Libbey, I am left wondering if that was the reason for the initials W. R. L. on the cancellation? This is all hypothetical, of course, and we may never know for sure.

P.S. I just realized that the drop in the salary of B. F. Libbey ($600) matches that of W. R. Libbey. Could this be coincidental?

Posted Jan 6, 20 20:47 by Terence Hines (thines)

Clinton NY mystery solved.

Sort of - but it introduces a new mystery. The Official Registers show that there was a clerk in the Clinton NY post office named William R. Libbey from 1877 to at least 1881. The new question is why a clerk's initials were in the cancel and not the postmaster's.

Posted Jan 6, 20 20:30 by Terence Hines (thines)

Clinton NY postmaster.

I just checked the on-line Official Register for the years 1869 - 1889. The registers confirm that the Clinton, NY postmaster from 1869 to at least 1887 was Benjamin F. Libbey.

Posted Jan 6, 20 19:48 by Glenn Estus (gestus)

W.R.L.Cancel: Clinton NY

Vince Costello:

The USPS Postmaster finder has no postmaster by that name but a postmaster named Benjamin F. Libby. Very confusing

Nonetheless, it will be listed in the upcoming monograph that I'm working on for the Empire State Postal History Society: New York State County and Postmaster Cancels.


Posted Jan 6, 20 17:54 by Brian Buru (brianb)


David, that item is a front only. It was accompanied in the sale by a Steuer certificate which noted that although it is deficient by 5 pfennig, the missing stamp may have been originally affixed to the back due to its small size.

Wolfgang Hermann, concluded that it was certainly posted aboard the Lübeck, but it is a matter of speculation where…..either at Tonga (German stamps were unavailable there), at Apia, or en-route to Sydney.

Posted Jan 6, 20 17:29 by David Benson (dbenson)

UPU Postage Due charges

Here is a good web site that explains the usage of the amount of postage due on on short paid items,

David B.

Posted Jan 6, 20 17:11 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

PO Dept Free Frank

Richard, Thank you kindly.

Copied from Wiki:

John Alexander Bryan (April 13, 1794 in Berkshire County, Massachusetts – May 24, 1864 in Menasha, Wisconsin) was an American diplomat and politician from New York and Ohio.

He removed to Ellicottville, New York, and was a member of the New York State Assembly (Cattaraugus Co.) in 1827.

Then he removed to Columbus, Ohio, and was Ohio State Auditor from 1833 to 1839. In 1840, Bryan settled at, and co-founded, what would become the city of Bryan, Ohio. He was U.S. Chargé d'Affaires to Peru in 1845.

Later he lived in Milwaukee and Menasha, Wisconsin. He served as editor of The Daily Milwaukee News.[1] He was buried in Neenah, Wisconsin.

His son Charles Henry Bryan was a California State Senator, and his son-in-law John B. Weller was a U.S. Senator from California.

Posted Jan 6, 20 17:08 by David Benson (dbenson)



The cover that Gartner sold to New Britain had 3 x 5pf. stamps. Did the description in the catalog mentioned where it may have been posted from,

David B.

Posted Jan 6, 20 16:24 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

1903 India-USA forwarded with US 2c Postage


The difference is in whether the mail matter was actually delivered to person/business intended. I recollect a small time window for mail matter to be returned to local PO and be considered as undelivered with forwarding information.  If however the matter was opened by say spouse, kin, or other person, they could provide additional postage and reuse the same envelope as if a new envelope. The POD called these remailings.

From the 1879-1894 period forwarded 1st class mail matter would not have additional postage added for the purpose of delivery to a different address.

Posted Jan 6, 20 15:40 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

PO Dept Free Frank

L - It is a John A. Bryan free frank

Posted Jan 6, 20 15:35 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

PO Dept Free Frank

Can anyone decipher the name on this stampless cover. The letter is dated April 26, 1843 and the signature says 2nd Asst Postmaster General.



Posted Jan 6, 20 15:05 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

1903 India-USA forwarded with US 2c Postage

Ray: Thanks for sharing the additional information. However, I am confused about the difference between remailing and forwarding the letter. Can you please clarify? Thanks. Ravi

Posted Jan 6, 20 12:21 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

1903 India-USA forwarded with US 2c Postage


I can only speak for the period 1879-1894. UPU mail was to be forwarded to final destination without additional charge.

It appears to be a single rate letter charged 2 1/2 annas which was the correct rate in 1886. This letter appears to me to be a remailing. It was accepted for delivery in CN.  The rating was at that point used up. Whoever received the letter then applied the additional 2 cents for a remail of same envelope to TX.

I think remailed letters were relatively common then, and are mentioned in Postmaster Reports.

Posted Jan 6, 20 11:13 by Vince Costello (vinman)

W.R.L. cancel

Hi Glenn, My records show it is for W.R.Libby Postmaster. My notes show it is listed in Cole as ml-105

I have that cancel on a Scott 210

Vince Costello

Posted Jan 6, 20 11:00 by Glenn Estus (gestus)

Clinton, NY oval: W.R.L.

I thought maybe the "W.R.L." in this cancel might be the initials of the postmaster, but the Postmaster Finder of the USPS says that no one with those initials was postmaster during that time period.

Perhaps, one of the readers of this board can help.


Posted Jan 6, 20 4:31 by Brian Buru (brianb)

Resource for Samoa postal history and early shipping lines

I should add that the Spennemann publication will mostly be of use to those interested in a brief chapter of the postal history of German Samoa. Although the NDL dipped its toes into Pacific Ocean waters in order to service its colonies there, it was never successful. It began in 1886, and consisted of two sections; first, the Australische Hauptlinie (Australian Main Line) between Bremen and Sydney; and second, the Australische Zweiglinie (Australian Branch Line) between Sydney and the various German colonies in the Pacific.

The steamer Lübeck was the sole transporter on the Sydney-Tonga-Samoa route, and its arrival at Apia on September 21, 1886, caused uproar by the resident British and American population. The reason was that the same date coincided with the unexpected opening of the Postal-Agency of the German Mailsteamers in Apia, at the premises of the Deutschen Handels und Plantagen-Gesellschaft der Sudsee-Inseln Zu Hamburg, which was a private firm! The delivery of Her Majesty’s mail to the Postal-Agency, instead of to the Davis Post Office, was clearly unacceptable to them.

The British Consul immediately requested an explanation from his German counterpart, and at the same time, also requested the GPO in Sydney to address all British mail to “Her Britannic Majesty’s Consul at Samoa,” effective immediately. This stand-off regarding the handling of the mails continued until the discontinuance of the Lübeck from service on March 15, 1893. It should be noted that mail handling was the major sticking point. Non-German residents, such as Robert Louis Stevenson, amongst others, regularly patronised the steamer later on.

The only way to distinguish mail posted aboard the Lübeck is by the presence of the Australische Zweiglinie postmark. The illustration below shows it, and is from a recent Auktionhaus Gärtner sale. Wolfgang Hermann, of Berlin, has compiled a census of 42 known items, including single stamps, pieces, and fronts. All of these bear German stamps. In 2010, I also found a Davis palm trees stamp with this postmark, thereby bringing the total number known to 43. The only explanation for such usage is that the stamp was on a combination cover, more than likely as a souvenir, and got cancelled by accident or by favour. Nevertheless, it is unique at this time.


Posted Jan 5, 20 23:42 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

Resource for Samoa postal history and early shipping lines

Rummaging through a pile of literature, I found and re-read “Steam to Tonga & Samoa”, which focuses on the NDL mail service in that part of the world between 1886 and 1893. The author is Dirk H.R. Spennemann. Dirk is a consummate scholar- I co-authored some articles with him a number of years ago. 37 pages with about 250 endnotes. It also discusses other shipping lines in that area. Published in 2002 by Letao Press, Albury, NSW, Australia. They still have an active website.

Posted Jan 5, 20 22:15 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

1903 India-USA forwarded with US 2c Postage

I working on US postal regulations involving forwarding of mail by USPO. For reference I am sharing an 1903 postal stationery cover from India to Wallingford, Conn which was then forwarded to Bay City, Texas by use of a pair of USA 1c stamp in Wallingford with receiving cancel on Bay City in back.

Here are some questions: 1. Was postage required for forwarding mail by USPO regardless where the mail originated from? When was forwarding postage required and when did the practice discontinue? 2. Does UPU have regulations on forwarding mail to destination outside the country where originally addressed to?

I have incoming mail from foreign country dating back to 1850s which required US postage to forward within the USA.

Many thanks. Ravi


Posted Jan 5, 20 19:45 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

Postage Due

Thanks Gents, I appreciate your wisdom !

Posted Jan 5, 20 18:32 by Brian Buru (brianb)

Postage Due

The 4 cents postage due is nothing more than double deficiency. I am attaching an extract from a 1917 US Army field service book that shows the then current exchange rates. As you can see, 10 centimes was valued at 2 cents at the time, and therefore 20 centimes = 4 cents due.


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