Destination: Saba, Dutch West Indies

Here is a cool Caribbean destination I recently found on eBay. Saba is a 13-square-kilometer island in the Lesser Antilles chain and was a part of the Dutch West Indies. The island is now a part of the Netherlands.

Saba, Dutch West Indies

postcard to Saba, Dutch West Indies

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Destinations: Ukraine, Slovenia, Nicaragua, and Liberia

Here are four more international destinations added to the map. A couple of covers to the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Slovenia and Ukraine). A beautiful cover to Bluefields, Nicaragua, and a postcard to Liberia, Africa.

Here are the links on the destinations map.

Sagor, Austria (modern-day Slovenia)

To the western edge of Ukraine.

Mistakenly sent to Bluefields, West Virginia, and subsequently forwarded to Nicaragua.

Postcard to Cape Palmas, Liberia, West Africa.

Posted by Geoff in Covers, Destinations, Postcards, 0 comments

Tau, Samoa Doane Cancel Update III

Once again, Schuyler Rumsey is offering a Tau, American Samoa Doane item (Sale 94, lot 2227), a postcard franked with a 1-cent Franklin stamp (Scott #300) from the 2nd Bureau series. This postcard is the 8th Tau Doane postmarked item in my census and is labeled accordingly. Including this card, all but one of the items in the census was postmarked on June 23, 1909, and addressed by the same individual.

Census item Tau-8.

Here are my previous posts about the Tau Doane census.

Posted by Geoff in Postcards, U.S. Possessions, 0 comments

Used Multiples

I enjoy collecting postal history and various uses of the 2nd Bureau series of stamps. Used blocks off of cover are fun to hunt for, and I am always looking to upgrade. It is easy to find used multiples of four our more of denominations from 1c to 15c; however, the 50c and dollar stamps are difficult (and expensive) to acquire.

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Tau, Samoa Doane Cancel Update

This is an update to my original post regarding the Doane hand cancel used at the Tau, Samoa post office.

In the latest Schuyler Rumsey auction (#92), lot number 2779 is a 1¢ entire with a 1¢ Jamestown commemorative stamp (#328) paying the domestic letter rate to Illinois.  This the second recorded envelope with the Tau, Samoa Doane handstamp, and seventh in this census. All six previous examples of this postmark are from Jun 23, 1909, P.M, however, this cover is postmarked March 30, 6, A.M. I am not sure if the 6 is for 1906 or 6 A.M. This cover was also sent to Rock Island, Illinois the same destination as four of the recorded postcards (Tau-3, 4, 5, and 6).

Posted by Geoff in Covers, U.S. Possessions, 0 comments

The Shipwreck of SS Dakota

A popular category of philatelic study is disaster mail. Mail interrupted or damaged by some form of a disaster such as a flood, fire, ship or plane wrecks, war, etc. Shown below is an envelope recovered from the shipwreck of the S.S. Dakota, a passenger and cargo steamship that traveled the Pacific. The Dakota wrecked when she struck a reef off the coast of Japan near Yokohama on March 3, 1907. The ship was close enough to shore to avoid any deaths, and the passengers and cargo, including mail, were evacuated before she sunk.

Broadside of the S.S. Dakota.

Post card of a photo about one hour after the accident.

Ninty-four shipwrecked passengers were transported to a nearby lighthouse and hamlets in a sparsely populated area. Two days later, the steamer Hakuai Maru arrived to carry the passengers and ten bags of mail to Yokohama. The surviving mail was severely water damaged. The cover shown below was sent from Montana to a U.S. Army Transport ship (USAT Logan) stationed in Nagasaki, Japan and was franked with five 2¢ Washington stamps, as evident from the ghostly red stain on the right side. A Feb 10, 1907, Missoula & Hamilton R.P.O postmark would have tied the ten-cents of postage paying twice the UPU letter rate for up to one ounce.

Hamilton, Montana advertising cover damaged in the wreck of S.S. Dakota.

Mail aboard the wrecked ship was salvaged and subsequently delivered. Note the makeshift postal label in Japanese and English applied to the top of the cover explaining “Soaked and damaged in the wreck of Dakota. — Tokio (sic) Post Office”

Tokio Post Office manuscript label explaining the damage.

The damaged cover was also resealed with Japanese official seal stamps.

The reverse of the cover with Japanese official seals.

This is one of my favorite pieces in my collection. Please share any other info about the S.S. Dakota, or other disaster covers or cards.

More info on the wreck of S.S. Dakota can be found at Wikipedia and WreckSite.eu.

Posted by Geoff in Covers, Destinations, 0 comments

Postal Treaty with Mexico

A postal treaty between the U.S. and Mexico was established in 1887.  Similar to the postal agreement with Canada, mail was sent at the U.S. domestic rates instead of the international Univeral Postal Union (UPU) rates. The treaty remained in effect throughout the 2nd Bureau era of postage stamps. Shown below are a variety of uses to Mexico.

1st Class Mail

A postal treaty between the U.S. and Mexico provided mail services at a discounted rate. Four cents of postage paid twice the letter rate for up to two ounces for this cover sent from Michigan to Durango, Mexico.

 

First-class U.S. domestic letter forwarded to Mexico at no additional charge due to the postal treaty.

  

Registered 1st Class Mail

A cover sent at the first-class 2¢ treaty rate with registry service (8¢) from Boulder, Colorado to Mexico by way of the El Paso, Texas exchange office. A census maintained by the United States Stamp Society (USSS) lists 53 El Paso exchange label recorded.

Twice the letter rate (4¢) for up to two ounces, plus 8¢ fee for registry service on an advertising cover sent from Chicago to Mexico City. Handled in St Louis, Missouri the cover received an exchange label before entering Mexico. There are 17 St Louis exchange labels recorded in the USSS census.

Postcard Rate

Instead of the UPU two-cents postcard rate, this card was sent for a penny due to the postal treaty.

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Earliest Documented Use (EDU) 10-cents Webster

I recently discovered a cover with the earliest documented use (EDU) of the 10-cents Webster stamp (Scott #307) on eBay. This is the second cover I found sent on March 7, 1903.  

I previously found a remarkable registered cover to Hungary and had it certified by the American Philatelic Society (APS) as the new EDU, soundly besting the previous date by five days. Unfortunately, I had wrongly assumed the APS expertising department sent discoveries to the Scott Catalog editors. The wrong EDU date has remained in the catalog for the past eight years. The editors have now been contacted about both covers, and the earlier date should be reflected in the 2020 catalog.

Registered large envelope from Pittsburg, Pa. to Hungary by way of New York. Franked with a total of 48¢ paying the 8¢ registry fee plus eight times the UPU letter rate for less than four-ounces. The franking shows a mixed use of both 1st and 2nd Bureau stamps. Most 2nd Bureau stamp EDUs occur in early 1903.

 

The 10¢ Webster stamp paid the 8¢ registry fee plus 2¢ U.S./Canada treaty rate. The cover traveled from Springfield to Boston to Buffalo to Niagra Falls and finally St Catharines, Ontario in two days.

Posted by Geoff in Covers, Destinations, News, 0 comments

Postal Treaty with Canada

In 1885 the United States and Canada entered into a postal treaty that provided domestic rates for most types of mail. The treaty remained in effect throughout the 2nd Bureau era of postage stamps. Shown below are a variety of uses for Canada.

1st Class Mail

New York City Evening Post corner card advertising envelope sent at the first-class 2-cents treaty rate to Canada instead of the 5-cents international rate for saving 3-cents.  The Washington stamp has the 1566 plate number selvage still attached.

Registered 1st Class Mail

The ten-cents Webster stamp paid the eight-cents registry fee plus the 2-cents letter rate. Registered mail between the U.S. and Canada did not require registry exchange labels.

Postcard Rate

1-cent postcard treaty rate. The Franklin stamp is punched with the Hamburg-American Line (HAL) perfin.

Postcards made from nonstandard material (e.g., metal, bark, wood) required first-class postage. The sender correctly franked this wooden postcard with a pair of one-cent stamps paying the domestic letter rate (the treaty rate) to Ontario, Canada.

 

3rd Class Mail Rate

The U.S./Canada 3rd class mail treaty rate was equivalent to the domestic rate of 1-cent per two ounces.

4th Class Mail (Samples or Merchandise)

Six cents of postage tied by a dateless postmark (typical of 3rd and 4th class mail). The envelope was sent via the domestic 4th class rate of one cent per ounce for up to six ounces.

Registered 4th Class Mail

Parcel wrapper franked with 20 cents of postage. Eight-cents registry fee plus 12 times the 4th class rate of one cent per ounce. A duty-free handstamp was applied when processed in Canada.

Posted by Geoff in Destinations, Postcards, 0 comments

Destination Liechtenstein

Unusual and distant international destinations were what initially piqued my interest in postal history.  Below is a fantastic registered cover to one of Europe’s smallest countries landlocked between Austria and Switzerland, Liechtenstein declared its sovereignty in 1806.  This envelope was sent in 1903 from Kilbourn, Wisconsin to Vaduz, Switzerland.  Why the sender wrote Switzerland rather than Liechtenstein is unknown to me. Vaduz is the capital of Liechtenstein and has a population of only 5450 in 2017.

1903 registered cover to Liechtenstein.

1903 registered letter to Vaduz, Liechtenstein. Five cents letter rate + eight cents registry fee.

 

Posted by Geoff in Destinations, 0 comments