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.

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Postal Treaty with Canada

In 1885 the United States and Canada entered into a postal treaty which 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 to 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 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.

Nonstandard material postcards such as bark, tin, or wood had to be sent at the letter rate. Wood postcard correctly franked at the domestic letter rate from California 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 Murchandise)

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 1-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.

 

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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). The Poughkeepsie Christmas seal was only sold in 1908 and 1909.

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, 2 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 Tau Doane 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, 0 comments

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