Geoff

1907 & 1908 Christmas Seals

In the early 20th century postcards were used like modern day text messages. Millions of cards were produced and sent domestically for a mere penny. At the same time, one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. was tuberculosis. Many afflicted with the illness were sent to sanitoriums for treatment. In 1907 Emily Bissell with the American National Red Cross created the first U.S. Christmas seals to raise money for a small sanitorium in Deleware. (See the American Lung Association). The seals were sold at post offices for a penny each and were most commonly affixed to postcards.

Pictured below are postcards with the first U.S. Christmas seal (Scott catalog WX1) and a 1908 provisional seal from Poughkeepsie, New York.

Dec 23, 1907, Philadelphia use of a Type I, “Merry Christmas” seal (WX1).

After the success of the 1907 seal, the following year the American National Red Cross created a second Christmas seal and started selling them at post offices including Poughkeepsie, New York. Someone in Poughkeepsie decided the town should have their own stamp where the proceeds would go to charities in Poughkeepsie. The provisional Poughkeepsie Christmas seal is very similar to the Red Cross seal (Scott WX2). 1908 was the only year Poughkeepsie made a Christmas seal.

Provisional Poughkeepsie Christmas seal sent Dec 23, 1908, from Salt Point, NY. Salt Point is a hamlet northeast of Poughkeepsie.

Some amazing postcards and covers with Christmas seals were sold in 2011 by the Robert Siegel Auction firm.

Posted by Geoff in Postcards, 0 comments

Destinations Belize, Fiji, and Borneo

I’ve been organizing my international destination binders/albums and have rediscovered a few items that I had long since filed away. Below are a postcard and a cover to the British colonies of Belize and Fiji.  I also have a pair of covers to separate colonial cities on the island of Borneo. Click on an image to open the destinations map webpage.

1905 postcard sent from Chicago to Belize (Britsh Honduras) via New Orleans; it only took 12 days for this card to make its way to the tiny British colony.
1908 2-cents postal stationery with additional 3-cents stamp sent from Soldiers Home, California to Suva, Fiji.
Advertising cover from 1903 sent to Bandjermasin, Borneo, Dutch East India (modern-day Indonesia). Sent from Quincy, Ill and placed aboard the Chicago-Kanas City Rail (R.P.O.) by mistake and marked ‘MISSENT.’ The cover eventually made its way to New York where it traveled by sea to Borneo arriving about a month later.
Cover posted from the territory of Hawaii to Sandakan, British North Borneo (modern-day Malaysia). The cover traveled through Hong Kong (backstamp) on its six-week journey.
Posted by Geoff in Destinations, 0 comments

Tau, Samoa Doane Cancel

There is a striking cover for auction at Schuyler Rumsey (Nov 2018) shown below.  A cover franked with a 5-cents Lincoln stamp sent from Tau, American Samoa to Apia, Western Samoa. The five cents franking correctly plays the UPU letter rate from the U.S. Possession to a foreign country, albeit only an island away.  The stamp is tied by the only town Doane canceling device issued to American Samoa (type three Doane cancel with a number “1”). According to the records kept by Gary Anderson, the Doane cancel was used for only 3.5 years, from Jan 26th, 1906 to June 23rd, 1909.

As far as I know, this is the only 5-cent Lincoln stamp with the Tau Doane cancel.  This envelope is also the only non-postcard use I have seen.

The description of this fantastic cover indicates only three known items with this postmark. No doubt, this postmark is uncommon, however, as the owner of two of these postmarked postcards I decided to conduct a more accurate census.  Below is a spreadsheet and gallery with Tau, American Samoa Doane cancels record thus far.

A few observations:

  • Of the items cataloged thus far, all have June 23, 1909 postmarks.
  • All five postcards have the same handwriting, thus sent by the same person.
  • Some, but not all, of the postcards used booklet pane stamps.
  • Four of the postcards were sent to W. G. Robb Esq. in Rock Falls, Illinois.

I’m certain there are many more Tau Doane postcards and perhaps covers, please send me a message and scans with details if you discover or own one.

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

New international destinations

I picked up a few new international destinations and have added them to the world map.  If the map does not load for you, please send me a message including details on which platform and browser you are using.

Two 5c Lincoln stamps pay twice the UPU letter rate to the Gold Coast of West Africa (modern-day Ghana).

 

Posted by Geoff in Covers, Destinations, 0 comments

Another $2 and $5 piece found, updated censuses

About two months after cataloging and writing about a new $2 and $5 piece in the censuses, another piece surfaced on eBay.

A small piece from a blue package franked with $1, $2, and $5 Second bureau stamps as well as two Washington-Franklin 15-cents stamps probably Scott 340.  A third 15-cent stamp is missing from the bottom right corner.  Three New York registry hand stamps tie all of the stamps to the piece.

312-15 and 313-14

This piece adds to both censuses and is designated 312-15 (for the $2 Madison stamp) and 313-14 (for the $5 Marshall stamp), the 15th and 14th items in each count.

Here are all three similar pieces.

Posted by Geoff in Covers, News, 1 comment

1906 Pago Pago, American Samoa to England

Pago Pago, American Samoa to London, England.

A lovely small envelope franked with a 1st Bureau 1-cent stamp and a pair of 2nd Bureau 2-cents Washington Flag stamps to make up the UPU letter rate for a 1/2 ounce.  Sent from the U.S. Possession, American Samoa in 1906 to London, England.  By 1906 newer versions of the 1¢ and 2¢ stamps had been issued, the 2nd Bureau and 2¢ shield stamps were available in 1903 in the States’ as well as American Samoa.

 

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

New $2 and $5 piece found, updated censuses

A piece from a package wrapper was recently listed on eBay (Sep 14, 2018).  The small blue and white piece is franked with six stamps, a vertical strip of three 3rd Bureau Washington-Franklin 15¢ stamps, and three 2nd Bureau $1, $2, and $5 stamps for a total of $8.45 of postage.  Five of the six stamps have one straight edge.  All of the stamps are canceled with three New York registry killers.  Unfortunately, there are no postmarks bearing dates.  Depending on the watermarks on the 15¢ stamps, the date of mailing could be constrained a bit.  A double line watermark was first used on the 3rd Bureau stamps in early 1909 (Scott 340).  The single line watermark made its debut in 1911 (Scott 382).

Census items 312-14 and 313-13

I’ve been maintaining a census for both the $2 and $5 2nd Bureau stamps for more than ten years.  This piece adds to both censuses and is designated 312-14 (for the $2 Madison stamp) and 313-13 (for the $5 Marshall stamp), the 14th and 13th items in each count.

This wrapper is very similar to another piece designated 312-5 and 313-9 in the censuses and is displayed below. This item recently sold on eBay (April 28, 2018) for $1350, and has an accompanying Philatelic Foundation expert opinion that identifies the 3rd Bureau stamps as Scott 340, therefore circa 1909.

Census items 312-5 and 313-9

I would surmise that both of these items were sent in 1909 or 1910 by a large company or financial institution.  They had not yet used up their supply of high face valued 2nd Bureau stamps and were using the recently printed Washington-Franklins for more common lower denominations. The $8.45 franking may have paid the 10¢ registry fee plus 417 times the 2¢ first class mail rate for a 26-pound package.

For this business or bank, this may have been a fairly typical package to send, perhaps other wrappers or pieces are in Washington-Franklin collections.

Posted by Geoff in News, 2 comments

Updated Website

It has been about eight years since I last updated my website. It was built using tools that are no longer available, and I wanted to modernize the look and feel. The current site is built using the WordPress tools which made for a smooth transition, EXCEPT for the international destination page. I had to relearn javascript, CSS, Google maps API, and figure out how to include it with WordPress, this took my old brain better part of a month!

The website is now more of a “blog” style where I hope to add content regularly. Each post provides a comment section as well. Click the blog tab at the top to see my latest posts.

Geoff – geoff @neddog.com

Posted by Geoff in News, 2 comments

Philatelic $5 Cover

I’ve maintained a census of the 2nd Bureau $2 and $5 stamps for several years now.  As far as I know, there are only 13 pieces or covers with the five dollar Marshall stamp (Scott 313), and many of the items were created by contemporary philatelists.  Shown below is the only solo franked $5 cover in the census, item 313-12.

Five dollar Marshall stamp on cover.

Sent from Klotzville, Lousiana on the 17th of January, 1909 to a P.O. box in New Orleans.  The $5 franking hugely overpaid the 2-cent first-class domestic letter rate to a man named N. W. Taussig.  Mr. Noah William Taussig and his brother, Issac, were prominent businessmen in New York and New Orleans sugar industries where Noah was the board chairmen of the American Molasses Company.  Noah most likely created and sent this cover from a sugar factory in Klotzville to himself.  The handwriting on the cover matches his 1922 passport application (available on ancestry.com).

Constance and Noah Taussig’s passport photo (circa 1922).

Mr. Taussig’s name may be familiar to airmail collectors as the creator of the “Taussig” first flight cover that is on display at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.  Taussig created the cover that bears President Woodrow Wilson’s autograph and was carried on the historic May 18, 1918, flight from Washington, D.C. to New York City.  The prized cover was sold to Mr. Taussig for $1000 at auction to benefit the American Red Cross.

Inaugural airmail flight envelope created and later purchased by N. Taussig.

June 14, 1918, newspaper clipping of autographed cover purchase.

These are the only two philatelic “Taussig” covers known to me.  Know of any others?

Posted by Geoff in Covers, 0 comments

Penny Postcard Between US Possessions

The United States acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, Phillippines, and Cuba from Spain on April 11, 1899, pursuant the victory in the Spanish American War. Subsequently, these territories along with Canal Zone and American Samoa became the U.S. Possessions. Though scattered around the world, the Possessions benefited from the same domestic mail rates as the mainland United States, namely 1¢ postcard and 2¢ letter rates.

Displayed below is a picture postcard sent from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Manilla, Phillippines on April 11, 1905, six years to the day after the U.S. obtained these islands. The card was received in Manilla on June 2nd, 1905, and forwarded to San Francisco, California the following day. Finally received on July 11, 1905. The 1¢ franking paid the domestic postcard rate between the Possessions as well as providing free forwarding service.

1905 postcard from Puerto Rico to the Philippines. Magenta receiving mark used by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

The Possession to Possession connection is neat, but what sets this postcard above the rest is the communication between two US Coast & Geodetic Survey (USCGS) assistant surgeons and the magenta receiving mark.  The card was sent from the assistant surgeon, J.A. Hurley, of the USS Explore which was built in 1904 for the USCGS[1].

“Dear Force, here is where we are now. Pretty, but hot as blazes. Why don’t you write, Hurley”

Message from assistant surgeon J.A. Hurley on a picture postcard from Puerto Rico.

The brief message and plea for correspondence were addressed to J. Neirson Force who was also an assistant surgeon on the USCGS “Fathomer.” [2].  By the time the postcard made it to the Philippines, Dr. Force was reassigned to an office in San Francisco (I believe the notation on the card is C. of Survey, for Care of Survey?). The large circular United States, Sub-Office, San Francisco, Coast and Geodetic Survey receiving strike is not an official USPO postmark instead it is similar to marks hotels and corporations would apply as a service to indicate the mail was received.  Any info or pictures of similar marks would be appreciated.

[1] USC&GS Explorer (1904)

[2] USC&GS Fathomer (1904)

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