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

CAM74 Flight Cachet

Vernal is a small city in the Ashley Valley of the Unitah Mountain range which lies in the northeastern corner of Utah. The area was inhabited in prehistoric times by dinosaur giants and today is the site of tourism as it is near Dinosaur National Monument on the Colorado border.

Contract airmail was instituted through the Airmail Act of 1925 (Kelly Act) which authorized the U.S. Postmaster General to contract with private airlines to carry the U.S. mail. Routes were given Contract AirMail (CAM) numbers and awarded to various airlines.

Served by the Vernal-Unitah County Airport, Challenger Airlines was awarded Contract Airmail route number 74 on May 10, 1947 with service to various cities in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Service to Vernal was initiated on 1 July, 1949 with two routes – one to Salt Lake City to the west and a second to Evanston to the northwest. The flights connecting from those cities took the mail in all directions.

Special First Flight Cachets were instituted to mark the initial flights and in the case of Vernal, a local hand-stamp was used commemorating the airport dedication as well. This hand-stamp is found on the rear of envelopes and is present on covers carried on both routes.

The northwest route morning flight was postmarked at 7AM and piloted by R.D. Nicholson. Addressed to Philadelphia, PA, this cover used the northwest route through Evanston and was backstamped along the route at Rock Springs, Wyoming at 10:30AM.


CAM74 Eastern Final Destination

The westward route afternoon flight was postmarked at 12PM piloted by Harry Mitchell. Addressed to San Francisco, CA, this cover used the western route through Salt Lake City and was backstamped along the route at Salt Lake City at 6PM.

CAM74 Westward Destination

CAM74 Western Final Destination

Fossil, Oregon Return Receipt

The ‘Return Receipt’ (RR) Service provides verification to the sender that an article they mailed was delivered. The service began 1 July 1863 and was used for registered mail only until 1 January 1913 when it also was available for insured mail. Until 15 April 1925, no additional special service fee was paid for this service and the penalty clause on the card served to pay the return postage fee.

Delivery is acknowledged through the use of postal form (card in some cases) 3811 which notes to whom the item was delivered and the date. It later included the date of mailing as well. On receiving the item, the recipient signs and dates the return receipt and hands it back to the postal clerk, thereby acknowledging receipt. This service is available to the public, but is also used for ‘Official Business’ mail between government offices which is more desirable and scarcer than commercial use.

Return Receipt - postal form 3811

Return Receipt – postal form 3811

The more interesting part of this particular form however is the on the opposite side of the card as the article in question was sent to the Wheeler County Clerk in Fossil, Oregon.

Return Receipt Card used in Fossil, Oregon

Return Receipt Card used in Fossil, Oregon

The postal clerk in Fossil applied a 9 bar killer handstamp, dated 23 August 1922 at 9PM, to validate receipt of a registered article number 14167. The instruction to do this is contained in the square box “Postmark of Delivering Office and Date of Delivery.” (It’s interesting that a postal employee would be working that late in such a small town.) This form was then re-mailed, postage paid, under the authority of the “Post Office Department – Official Business” corner card text and penalty clause text in the upper right corner. The form was returned to the original sender in Seattle, Washington.