Penn Academy – Use as Postage Due Payment

Not only postage due stamps can be used to pay a postage due fee. Regular and commemorative U.S. postage stamps are also ocassionally found paying the missing postage and are nice items in and of themselves for the thematic collector When combined with other factors, they become even more interesting.

Penn Academy Commemorative Issue Used to Collect Postage Due

Penn Academy Commemorative Paid Postage Due

This cover from Carthage to Golden City, Missouri is dated 18 February, 1955. The envelope has a 1.5 cent imprinted indicia (postal stationery) with an overprinted penalty clause for official business. This was done by the Post Office Department and the envelopes could only be used by them. Legally, the person using this cover to avoid postage could be fined $200.00. Fortunately for the sender (no sender’s address is on the rear), the fine was ignored and a 3¢ postage due fee assessed instead using a single copy of the 150th Anniversary of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia) commemorative issue depicting Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827 – painter and naturalist) and a mammoth leg bone in the lower right corner.

Jefferson Card Cutout

Postal card indicia are valid for postal cards they are printed on. Sometimes, when the indicia on a card is mistakenly not canceled, the indicia is cut out and pasted onto a mailable item, usually a first class letter. This practice is not sanctioned by the post office, however many examples can be found as frugal users of the postal system used whatever postage they had to mail letters.

Thomas Jefferson was not only president and a statesman, he was also a naturalist. He had a keen interest in prehistoric life (fossils) as well as archaeological objects found throughout the United States. His support for expeditions to both map the country and find historical artifacts or fossil remains is unparalleled by any other president.

Jefferson Postal Card Indicia Cut-out

Jefferson Postal Card Indicia Cut-out

This local rate letter mailed within the city of Buffalo, New York on 4 June, 1928 used a Thomas Jefferson postal card indicia cutout to pay the postage. In this case, postal system personnel caught the attempt and assessed the letter two cents postage due as indicated by the manuscript notation. A precanceled postage due stamp of Buffalo, N.Y. was applied to indicate the missing postage was paid.

Fossil, Oregon – Postage Dues

Postage due stamps are also part of the postage stamp stock the postmaster at Fossil, Oregon can use. To reduce the time and effort of canceling stamps, the same precancel device as used on regular postage stamps (see the article on Fossil, Oregon precancel stamps) was used on postage due stamps.

Fossil, Oregon Postage Due Cover

Fossil, Oregon Postage Due Cover

The first class surface letter rate increased from 10¢ to 13¢ on 31 December, 1975. This cover is dated 11 January, 1976 and has a manuscript marking indicating three cents is the amount of postage still due. A total of three cents in postage due stamps was applied to conform to the new rate.

Owens-Illinois Glass Company

The Owens-Illinois Glass Company of Toledo, Ohio utilized illustrated advertising indicia (slugs) in their postage meters from 1939 through 1941. The images depicted “The History of Glass” and sbowed various scenes of man discovering and making glass as well as using it for various purposes. For the collector of archaeological subjects, this is a gold mine as Phoenician and Egyptian cultures are both represented in addition to prehistoric man. The text in the first of the series reads “Primitive Man Discovers Nature’s Glass” and shows a club carrying prehistoric man looking at a piece of obsidian he’s holding. To my knowledge, this is the earliest image of a prehistoric human in philately.

History of Glass - Postage Meter Sample

History of Glass – Postage Meter Sample

A favor imprint with a value of zero (.00) cents on meter tape of the National Postage Stamp Meter Company is shown above. The meter serial number is N.P.M. No 6131. These samples were often made available to the company’s prospective clients. They are NOT specimens as many collectors or dealers may have them labeled. An official specimen includes the text “Specimen”.

XVI International Congress on Anthropology and Prehistoric Archaeology

A service cover from the Secretary General of the XVI (16th) International Congress on Anthropology and Prehistoric Archaeology held in the Paris, France School of Anthropology.

XVI Congress Service Cover

XVI Congress Service Cover

Cover is dated 26 December 1934 – what a wonderful Christmas present that would have been!

Perfin from Sinclair Refining Company

The term ‘Perfin’ is a contraction of the words “perforated initials”. That’s a bit odd as it really doesn’t explain much about what that has to do with postage stamps. The official collector’s society for these types of stamps is The Perfins Club. Their definition is a simple one and much better stated than I can!

Perfins are stamps that have been perforated with designs, initials, or numerals by private business and governmental agencies to discourage theft and misuse.

The Sinclair (Oil) Refining Company also used perfins on its mail for exactly this purpose. The illustration below, of the holes in the stamp forming letters, is representative of the recorded hole pattern used by the company.

Sinclair Refining Co Perfin Pattern

Sinclair Refining Company Perfin Pattern

The following cover is an example of that use and it was mailed at the rate of 2 cents for domestic first class mail using a company perfin. Although the corner card indicates a Chicago address, the machine cancellation device indicates the letter was mailed from Grand Central (station postal) Annex 3 in New York on 19 February, 1932.

Sinclair Refining Co. Perfin on Cover

Sinclair Refining Company Perfin on Cover

As it’s addressed to a Mrs. J.S. Fredrickson, I assume it was most likely a note home to Mr. Fredrickson’s spouse while he was in New York. As the content is no longer with the cover, my suspicion is that this is a private use of company assets (envelope and stamp) to a family member and not an authorized company business communication. If so, it’s a prime example of what the company was attempting to avoid.


U.S. Post Offices with Paleo Related Names

Many cities have names which are or include references to paleontology based on the local terrain or history of the area. Naturally, post offices within these cities carry their names in hand or machine postmarks, precancels, etc. and these are quite collectible. One problem is finding examples but the greater problem is in knowing which names to look for.

precancel type 1

Type 1

I’ve been asked which ones I know of, so the following list of names is what I’ve found to date, excluding names of scientists. This list may be of some assistance to you when you’re looking through stocks. I’d be pleased to add to this list should you know of any further examples.

City/Post Office Name, County, State, Years of Operation

Dinosaur, Moffat, Colorado, 1966 – Open
Fossil, Lincoln, Wyoming, 1888 – 1945
Fossil, Roane, Tennessee, 1887 – 1904
Fossil, Tarrant, Texas, 1880 – 1884
Fossil, Lincoln, Wyoming, 1886 – 1887
Fossil, Wheeler, Oregon, 1876 – Open
Fossilville, Bedford, Pennsylvania, 1874 – 1936
Mammoth, Pinal, Arizona, 1887 – Open
Mammoth, Mono, California, 1879 – 1898
Mammoth, Shasta, California, 1907 – 1921
Mammoth, Shasta, California, 1923 – 1925
Mammoth, Edmonson, Kentucky, 1881 – 1881
Mammoth, Ozark, Missouri, 1902 – 1955
Mammoth, Madison, Montana, 1877 – 1931
Mammoth, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, 1885 – Open
Mammoth, Lipscomb, Texas, 1890 – 1894
Mammoth, Juab, Utah, 1890 – 1973
Mammoth, Kanawha, West Virginia, 1894 – Open
Mammoth, Natrona, Wyoming, 1923 – 1924
Mammoth Cave, Calaveras, California, 1883 – 1887
Mammoth Cave, Edmonson, Kentucky, 1842 – Open
Mammoth Spring, Fulton, Arkansas, 1879 – Open