U.S. Possessions

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

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

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

Postcard to Jaluit, Marshall Islands

What a destination!  A postcard sent from Pago Pago, American Samoa, a United States Possession, to the small Marshall Islands atoll named Jaluit.  Posted December 1906, the card was quickly carried to Apia, Western Samoa where it probably sat waiting for a vessel bound for the Marshall Islands.  It was not delivered to Jaluit until 20 March 1907.

The German Empire purchased the Marshall Islands from Spain in 1885 and established a trading outpost on Jaluit Atoll.  This card is franked with a pair of 1¢ definitive Franklin stamps (Scott #300) to pay the UPU postcard rate of 2¢.

1907 UPU rate postcard from American Samoa to Jaluit, Marshall Island, Southseas.

 

The postcard was sent to Carl Teschke, Captain of the SS Triton.  However, I have not been able to find further information on either the captain or the vessel.  Most likely one of the numerous small trade ships sailing the Pacific.

Inner Harbour, Pago Pago (face of the card)

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