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Posted Apr 5, 20 13:14 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Why not FAM 22?

When FAM 22 service began on 6 December 1941, the Post Office Department had listed 37 countries to which mail could be sent by that route (actually more than 50 destination countries when constituents of colonial federations such as French Equatorial Africa were counted, and when onward transits were taken into account to such destinations as Swaziland, Ruanda, Dubai, and similar others) — essentially all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Malta, Cyprus, Egypt, and the Middle East, all the way to Afghanistan, India, and Ceylon.

Conspicuously missing were the countries of French West Africa — Dahomey, French Guinea, French Sudan, Ivory Coast, Mauretania, Niger Colony, Senegal, and Upper Volta. That was because the colonial authorities of French West Africa were loyal to the Vichy French regime that collaborated with Nazi Germany, and remained so until the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942.

Although the United States was neutral with respect to the European war for the first six days of FAM 22 service, the routes within and beyond Africa traversed countries, dominions, and colonies under Allied control (and whose inaugural declared purpose was to facilitate the delivery of aircraft to beleaguered British forces in Egypt).



Posted Apr 5, 20 13:14 by Steve Walske (steve w)

A favor

Can anyone tell me which Pacific Mail Steamship Co. steamer arrived in San Francisco around October 18, 1865?


Posted Apr 5, 20 13:12 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

A FAM 24 cover?

Here is a cover to ponder. My conjecture might be wrong; I welcome alternative analyses.

Although it traversed a complicated route, which makes analysis uncertain, this 28 December 1942 cover from Paterson, New Jersey, to Niamey, Niger Colony, French West Africa, might have been carried to West Africa on a U.S. Foreign Air Mail route No. 24 (FAM 24) flight.

Had it been sent two months earlier, air mail service would have routed it on a FAM 18 flight to Lisbon, and from Lisbon to France, with onward air transport from Marseilles to Niamey by a French carrier, at a rate of 45¢ per half ounce. But after the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, Nazi Germany occupied all of France, and service from France to its African colonies ceased.

Had it been sent ten months later, a FAM 18 flight would have carried it from New York to Dakar, Senegal, for onward transport within French West Africa. But neither FAM 18 possibility existed at the beginning of 1943, after Allied forces had invaded Morocco and Algeria but had not yet won the North African campaign.

The sender endorsed the cover “VIA CLIPPER LISBON – BOLAMA,” evidently aware that Niger could no longer be reached via France, and that Niger was not a FAM 22 destination. But the Paterson post office nevertheless directed the letter to Miami, the FAM 22 gateway, perhaps mistaking Niger for Nigeria. After examination by a censor at Miami, a clerk at the Miami post office struck the cover with a routing endorsement, “NO SERVICE FROM MIAMI DISP. VIA ­N.Y.

FAM 18 Clippers from New York did call at Bolama, Portuguese Guinea, on their winter return route from Lisbon via West Africa and South America, but the Civil Aeronautics Board had forbidden Pan American Airways to transfer mail at Bolama for delivery to other African counties.

In this case, after being rerouted from Miami, the letter was backstamped 12 January 1943 at New York. It transited Lagos, Nigeria (ironically, a FAM 22 call) on 14 March 1943, and was marked there with a magenta censor mark.

But the governing officials at Niger remained loyal to Vichy France. They had closed the southern border to Nigeria and the western border to Chad, French Equatorial Africa, leaving no obvious route to landlocked Niger. The Free French censor mark of Cameroun is practical evidence that postal officials at Lagos had no way to send it across the Nigeria-Niger border.

So it went south instead. At Cameroun the trail goes cold. I’m not aware of an air connection between Cameroun and French West Africa in 1943, so I suspect it went the rest of the way by surface transport.

But if the cover went via New York and Lisbon, how did it get to Lagos? (Despite the two-month lag between the New York and Lagos datestamps, there was no trans-Atlantic surface ship option except via South Africa.)

One possibility is FAM 24, subject of my article “Foreign Air Mail route No. 24 during World War II” in the November 2014 United States Specialist.*

The POD had authorized American Export Airlines, under contract to the Navy Department, to transport air mail on FAM 24 effective 29 July 1942, “as often as operated on the route between New York, N.Y., and Foynes, Irish Free State, without expense to the Post Office Department, for the transportation of U.S. Mail and foreign transit mail eastbound from the United States and U.S. mail westbound . . .” On 15 October, the Civil Aeronautics Board amended the AmEx certificate of Convenience and Necessity to authorize “during the period from November 1, 1942, to May 31, 1943, . . . westbound via the intermediate points Bathurst, Gambia, and Port of Spain, Trinidad.” The route roughly paralleled the Pan Am westbound winter route, but with fewer intermediate calls. AmEx’s Vaught-Sikorsky VS-44A flying boats had a longer range than PanAm’s Clippers.

Neither the CAB C&N order nor the POD FAM 24 order forbade delivery of mail at Bathurst.

Although Gambia was and is surrounded by Senegal, it had no exchange with French Equatorial Africa, but did have air service from Bathurst to Lagos.

Can a Board member suggest a more likely route?


*Barbara Priddy committed the mistake frequently made by British scholars of assuming that if a U.S. foreign air mail route was operated under a military contract, the Post Office Department did not assign it a route number. She wrote, incorrectly, “As the service was operated under the auspices of the US Navy, this contract did not receive a FAM number. The first time that the airline carried mail under a contract (FAM-24) with the USPO was in October 1945, after it had been acquired by American Airlines.” (“The Other Company Concerned,” Air Mail News, May 2014.) In fact all U.S. trans-Atlantic mail routes during World War II were operated under War Department or Navy Department contracts, and almost all of them had POD route numbers. Pan Am flew FAM 18 routes under Navy contracts and FAM 22 routes under Army contracts; Transcontinental & Western Air operated the FAM 23 route under an Army contract; AmEx operated the FAM 24 routes under a Navy contract. But American Airlines’ North Atlantic service, under an Army contract, had no POD route number.


Posted Apr 5, 20 9:04 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Varioius responses

That's a great piece.  Interesting postal history and story of interest attached as well.  Keep showing all of the neat items you've picked up that have these points of interest.  I, for one, have appreciated seeing them.

Richard F,
Thanks to you as well for putting those exhibits out there and working on the Sperati pages.  I have not had as much time as I wanted to review them of late, but I am trying to do a little here and there.  So far, the design is easy to follow.  A worthwhile effort certainly!

Joe K,
Seeing the picture of postman wearing a mask during the flu pandemic is a good reminder.  People like to keep throwing the word 'unprecendented' out there.  They keep using that word, I don't think it means what they think it means....

Open Mail
To add to the conversation, I present an item that was underpaid, so the foreign mail clerk alertly changed the mail routing to go via British Open Mail.  In this fashion, they avoided wasting most of the postage that was applied the the letter.  I am curious if others have examples of open mail in the 1860's to Switzerland.  For that matter, I'd love to see open mail to any of the other European destinations form the US.



Posted Apr 4, 20 17:56 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWII Postal History

Who says that censors don't have a sense of humor?

Below is the front of a cover sent registered airmail from Berlin to New York City on March 12, 1940, during the "phony war" phase of WWII. It has a nice franking, three copies of the 25pf value of the Leipzig Fair issue, which was issued on March 3 of that year. The franking paid the printed matter rate (drucksache), plus the airmail and registration fees. An unusual rate combination that permitted the use of 3 copies of this stamp.

At the upper left, the cover is endorsed "Via P.A.A. by first Air mail Lisbon to New York without landing in Bermuda Islands." And of course the censor in Bermuda stamped their censor marking right over that endorsement.

Per the receiving mark on the reverse, the cover was received in NYC on April 2, 1940.


Posted Apr 4, 20 16:13 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

Elkins free circle

The last two letters that look like EE might actually be IL.

Edited to add: Maybe the cancel is from a Rail Road?

Posted Apr 4, 20 15:59 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Victory, Vermont (Mis)Remember the Spain!

One of those CDSs is FEB 15 1898.  This is the date the Maine blew up.  (Hyman Rickover wrote an analysis of this explosion and attributed it to a coal bunker fire, not to sabotage.  He does not get credit for his leadership in the area of Naval damage control in WWII -- U. S. became the best in this important area.  One reads about, for example, destroyers surviving horrendous damage in the Battle off  Samar (or sinking only after taking massive hits) or under kamikaze attack.  He had had only one sea command due to his religion and also his peculiar character.)

Posted Apr 4, 20 14:55 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Elkins free circle

I do not have an answer,  but there are two characters before the putative HART, so I don't understand the E HARTFORD idea.  I  have the following, not very convincing, matrix:  1) E (or F), 2) R (P, B), 3) N, 4) A, 5) P, 6) R (H, F, K).   This gets nowhere.
The shade in the image looks like a scarce odd shade from around 1864 or 63 which looks like a pink but is not.  It has a kind of violet or purplish tinge to my eyes.

Posted Apr 4, 20 13:34 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

From the past

Philadelphia mail carrier during the 1918 Spanish Influenza


Posted Apr 4, 20 12:34 by Mark Butterline (mbutterli)

Philatelic Show 2020 still accepting exhibits

Philatelic Show 2020 (Boxborough, MA) is still accepting multi-frame exhibits (OFEs filled). The new application due date is June 5, with the revised show dates being July 24-26. Obviously, the new show dates are dependent on the relaxation of travel and gathering restrictions.

See for more information.

Note that the Grand Award winner will be eligible for this year’s C-of-C in Hartford.

Thanks, Mark Butterline Co-Chairman Philatelic Show

Posted Apr 4, 20 5:43 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

New Exhibits

I just updated the exhibits page here to include links to these new exhibits:

Military Postal History of the 1858 Italian War (Walske, 3 frames)

Postal History of the 1862-67 French Intervention in Mexico (Walske, 3 frames)
The Very Short Official Life of E7, the “Merry Widow" (Gutman, 1 frame)    

Collection-mounted Presentation of Sperati Reproductions (Frajola, 212 page PDF file)

Posted Apr 3, 20 13:37 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Vin Fiz Flyer returns

The April 2020 monthly (April 20 weekly) edition of Linn's Stamp News, now on-line to subscribers, includes my Spotlight on Philately report, "Rare 25¢ Vin Fiz stamp on 1911 postcard is Calbraith Perry Rodgers' family heirloom."

"For the first time since 1930, a Vin Fiz Flyer stamp that has never been sold or publicly displayed comes into view."


Posted Apr 3, 20 12:19 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Scam email going around

There's been a scam email going around philatelic circles the last couple days that has the basic message "XXXX has shared a file with you using One Drive." This gets past ISP's spam filters and shows up as regular email. It looks real, but it isn't. Beware.

Posted Apr 3, 20 7:58 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Before WWI ...

... in 1859 there were French Forces in what is now Italy. Steve Walske's three frame exhibit as a PDF file is here.

Will do both this one and Mexico Intervention exhibits in long page form over the weekend.

Thanks Steve.

Posted Apr 2, 20 23:01 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWI Postal History

WWI-related postal history from German Offices in Morocco is very difficult to come by. In late 2011, Morocco was divided into three zones: Spanish, French, and International. Germany had post offices in 9 cities in the French Zone.

France closed the German post offices in the French Zone on August 4, 1914. Mail sent in August, 1914, or even on the last day of July, is only known from 3 of the 9 German post offices in the French Zone: Casablanca (latest known date August 2), Rabat (latest known date August 2) and Marrakesch (latest known date July 31).

Below is a registered cover mailed from the German PO at Marrakesch on July 31, 1914. It is addressed to Belgium. Initially, the cover was marked as undeliverable due to the war, as the German invasion of Belgium had started on August 4. Brussels was occupied by the Germans on August 20, and a German military government was set up on August 26.

The "zuruck" (Retour) marking was crossed out. The Coln-Deutz censor tape at the top supports the conclusion that the cover was delivered, although there are no receiving (or transit) markings of any kind on the reverse.


Posted Apr 2, 20 18:12 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)

Does anyone Know

The 2013 issue of the inverted Jenny in Scott is
defined as Lithographed and Engraved

I am trying to write up a page showing a PW fake, the authenrtic 1918 24c
stamp and also the 2013 US PO item

the PW fake is often considered as engraved in my opinion is not, the 1918
autentic is engraved

now on the 2013 i can not figure it out; yes the printing is raised but this can be
done with a filled ink,   now peal a stamp from the backing paper and the slick baking
paper is also raised on the surface but not on the back but on the back if you play with the light a slight indenture can perhaps be seen

how was it printed ?


Posted Apr 2, 20 11:29 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

Help on ms. cancel

Russell, I like No Stonington.

Posted Apr 2, 20 11:18 by Russell Crow (cornwall2)

Help on manuscript cancel

Is this perhaps North Stonington CT?


Posted Apr 2, 20 11:06 by Tad Mackie (philaclectic)

Signature required mail

Yesterday our rural carrier left a Certified in our cluster box - with no contact whatsoever - although the tracking says "Your item was delivered to an individual at the address...". Which is false.

Posted Apr 2, 20 7:33 by Anthony Dewey (htfdtony)

Unidentified Postmark

Buckland is now a subsection of Manchester, Connecticut. East Hartford is adjacent to Manchester. The postmark town name starts with "E" and has "HART" , so maybe?

Posted Apr 1, 20 21:20 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Signature Required

I drive part time for FedEx Ground and our procedure is similar. On the signature step we draw CV-19 on the screen, then ask for their first initial and last name and type it into the scanner. When I have won auction lots with any value I request shipping FedEx Express and have it held at a FedEx Office location. They call or text when the item has arrived. Even with signature required I have had philatelic material in the past left on or in my front door. It is kind of a fail safe way to make sure it gets to where it is suppose to go.

Posted Apr 1, 20 18:08 by Barry Elkins (elkman3)

unidentified postmark on cover

Does anyone have an idea of the postmark on this cover?  I realize it looks smeary and may have been struck twice.  Help please?  What throws me especially is the apparent "FREE" where a state identifier would usually be.


Posted Apr 1, 20 17:14 by Tim Henninger (pälzer)

transit markings


Thank`s a lot for the clarification.



Posted Apr 1, 20 15:39 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Victory, Vermont

Like everything else, the National Postmark Museum is closed, but the Willett-Thompson collection is digitized. Working from home, Gary Hendren sent me the Victory reference page. I would still like to see war-dated examples (meaning dates when the United States was at war and patriotic covers were being serviced).


Posted Apr 1, 20 11:41 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Victory Vermont

That discussion was provoked by the challenges I posed to Basil Copeland on the Delphi forum, but as yet no one has supplied a war-dated Victory, Vermont, cancel on a piece of ordinary mail.

Posted Apr 1, 20 11:07 by Albert Briggs (abriggs)

Manhattan Project mail

Air mail cover from Roy Oringer to his brother in Hawaii.  Roy was a Boston University educated chemist working at Oak Ridge, Tenn.


Posted Apr 1, 20 9:50 by Anthony Dewey (htfdtony)

No Signature Required?

From the USPS website ....

How are items requiring a signature handled with social distancing regulations in place?

To reduce health risks, we are temporarily modifying customer signature capture procedures.

While maintaining a safe, appropriate distance, employees will request the customer’s first initial and last name so that the employee can enter the information on the electronic screen or hard copy items such as return receipts, PS Forms 3811 and 3829. For increased safety, employees will ask the customer to step back a safe distance or close the screen door/door so that they may leave the item in the mail receptacle or appropriate location by the customer door.

Posted Apr 1, 20 9:46 by Dave Horton (al e. gator)

victory Vermont postmarks


There is a good thread on this at Look under "US Covers"

Posted Apr 1, 20 9:35 by Anthony Dewey (htfdtony)

No Signature Required?

Follow up ... Interestingly, the USPS tracking notice was: March 31, 2020, 5:12 pm Delivered, Left with Individual HARTFORD, CT 06105 Your item was delivered to an individual at the address at 5:12 pm on March 31, 2020 in HARTFORD, CT 06105.

Usually, when an item has been left in the mailbox, the message says left in/at mailbox.

Posted Apr 1, 20 9:28 by Anthony Dewey (htfdtony)

No Signature Required?

Yesterday, I received a certified letter containing some auction lots that I recently won. The cardboard envelope was put into my mailbox along with regular mail. There was no knock at the door. Usually, if I do not sign for a certified letter, I get a notice to pick it up at the local PO branch or that an attempt would be made later. Has there been a postal order rescinding the requirement to sign for domestic certified mail?

Posted Apr 1, 20 9:10 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Expertizing forged Dead Sea scrolls


Posted Apr 1, 20 8:44 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

French Intervention In Mexico

I just uploaded a PDF file version of Steve Walske's three frame "French Intervenion In Mexico" exhibit here. I will do a "long" page version with thumbnails as time permits and then add the links. For now, enjoy the PDF file.

Thank you Steve.

Posted Apr 1, 20 1:14 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Kweekery Tulpenberg -- Kweekerij Tulpenburg

Note different spelling.


Posted Mar 31, 20 23:31 by Douglas Chapman (foodrev)

Kweekery Tulpenberg

Thank you Mr. Katz,

Always something interesting with philately.

Posted Mar 31, 20 21:51 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Kweekery Tulpenberg

The ole tulip bulb swindle. Oct 1937 clipping.


Posted Mar 31, 20 21:44 by Douglas Chapman (foodrev)


The fold show where the hole goes through. Any ideas?

Stay safe. Stay Sane. Stamps help.


Posted Mar 31, 20 21:43 by Douglas Chapman (foodrev)

Fraudulent back

The hole is not through the front. The next post will clarify (I hope)


Posted Mar 31, 20 21:41 by Douglas Chapman (foodrev)

Don't Understand

But this is odd to me. Another tough time?

Stay Safe. Stay Sane. Stamps Help.


Posted Mar 31, 20 21:14 by Winston Williams (winstonw)

1851 USA to Calcutta Markings

Ravi, You ask three sets of double questions on the markings, so six in all.

For your first two questions, I suggest the VIA SOUTHAMPTON marking was applied in London by Barings. It was up to a sender in Britain to mark mail going out of Britain by its route. It makes sense that Barings, as an international banker and forwarder in Britain, had a handstamp for what was a common route marking. N.B. In your census Cover #28532 description, you may want to correct a couple of typos on “VIA SOUTHAMPTON”.

Your third question is on the 5. I think this is the accountancy marking for the 5c due to the US for inland postage under Article II of the 1848 US Postal Convention with Great Britain. I don’t have an answer for your remaining three questions.

In your census Cover description cover you mention “Manuscript cancel on front "1/-" crossed out and added "2/-" (for double weight).” I suggest the manuscript 1/- in black ink (that was crossed out) is the unpaid amount applied by the British Post Office to cover the single ½ ounce rate under the 1848 US/GB convention. Then when Barings forwarded it to Calcutta the next day, they prepaid the 1/- via Southampton single ½ ounce rate, identified by the manuscript 1/- (not 2/-) in red.

Posted Mar 31, 20 20:27 by Mike Ellingson (mikeellingson)

transit markings

Tim, The New York marking on your cover is from a Barry cancelling machine. New York employed several of these machines for marking mail in the 1895-1900 time frame, and they were often used as transit markings on international mail going through New York.

Posted Mar 31, 20 20:18 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Victory, Vermont, postmarks

A lengthy discussion/debate on the Delphi forum prompts me to ask if anyone here has examples of postmarks from Victory, Vermont, especially before 1950. This one is on a patriotic cover. I would like if possible to see one or more on ordinary mail.


Posted Mar 31, 20 19:50 by Tim Henninger (pälzer)

transit markings

Great discussion / information about that theme here !

Thank´s to all, who contributed to the topic, that`s postal history at it`s best and a very special one of the US. I am very happy to be able to show an example of it in my collection.

Attached another cover from Philadelphia redirected from Antwerp (belgium) to Landau (germany) with a mark from New York on it`s reverse side, that I cannot discribe for sure at the moment.

Is that mark from a railway-post office?



Posted Mar 31, 20 19:05 by David D'Alessandris (davidd)

Neither rain nor snow nor Covid-19

Thanks to the Siegel team I received my lots today from the 3/24 Dubois auction.  Even with stay in place orders in New York and Texas their shipping is still faster than most auction houses. 

Posted Mar 31, 20 14:20 by Steve Walske (steve w)

Astoria Transit

Here's one from 1847...

Manuscript postmark on left front.


Posted Mar 31, 20 12:37 by Larry Maddux (pls2430)


      It took me a couple days to dig thur the cover bins to find this one, a TRANSIT marking apply to a front of postcard sent from Knappa, Oregon up to Astoria overland then put on train to Oregon City where it was backstamp with a strainght line Received on April 4, 1905. This is the only one I have seen with marking on the front of the cover.



Posted Mar 31, 20 9:34 by Paul Dessau (paulorgantech)

PF Certificate Search

Yes, Certificate search times out and won't open for me. The early certificate search still works.

Posted Mar 31, 20 9:07 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Walsh 2020 Canada & Provinces Catalogs

I rarely feel compelled to recommend a stamp catalog - maybe this is even a first. However, I only recently became aware of a wonderful pair of digital catalogs available from John Walsh as PDF file downloads. His website is here.

One catalog covers Canada and the provinces except Newfoundland and the second catalog is just Newfoundland. These priced catalogs include stamps, proofs, Sperati forgeries as well as postal history rates, stampless markings, etc in great depth.

I am not sure how I was unaware of these catalogs for so long and certainly wish ALL catalogs were in a similar digital format.This type of of philatelic publishing and research needs to be supported.

Thank you John for your contributions to Canadian philately.

Posted Mar 30, 20 22:14 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWI Postal History


I have a total of 12 of these cards, all sent in a 4 month period. The three I showed are the ones with interesting markings. Almost all of the cards have the "Feld" of Feldpost crossed out. They were not sent by or to a soldier and thus were not eligible for the free feldpost rate.

Nor were they printed matter. Too many words in the message on the address side.

The latest card, sent in Oct. of 1915, has a crayon postage due marking.

Posted Mar 30, 20 20:32 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

PF Certificate Search

Has anyone else had trouble accessing the PF recent certificate search?

Posted Mar 30, 20 20:09 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Show Cancellations

Napex is my favorite show, and without Westpex and London, looked to be more important than usual. Under the circumstances, I'm glad it's been postponed.

ASDA Spring show in Manhattan on May 29-31, with a 19-dealer complement, is still scheduled to take place, at least according to the ASDA website.

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