Friday, February 2, 2024

New Blog Location!

So - we're not done writing and sharing.  Not by a long shot!  Instead, we're looking to make some changes for the better. After over ten years of posts at this site, I am moving the Genuine Faux Farm blog!

You have three opportunities to subscribe.  

1. The Genuine Faux Farm blog on Substack.

2. The Postal History Sunday blog on Substack

3. My writings under Rob Faux | Genuine Faux Farm on Medium.

In each case, you can subscribe so you receive new articles in your email inbox each time a new article is released.

On Substack, you can subscribe for free, but you will be asked if you will make a pledge for a paid subscription.  If you wish to have a free subscription, select $0 for your pledge amount.  You may, of course, make a pledge amount if you feel inclined.  If there seems to be interest in that, I may turn on the paid subscription option - but there will always be the opportunity to subscribe for free, even if I do that.

Medium, on the other hand, will not charge for a subscription to my writings, but they will ask you to join Medium with a paid subscription.  This is not necessary to access my work, but you may certainly opt to take a subscription if you like the service you see there.

What's on each blog?

The Genuine Faux Farm blog on Substack

This blog will be most like what I have produced on the Genuinely Faux blog (on Blogger/Blogspot) since 2008.  In fact, I have been moving the previous content over to Substack so you can access older posts on the new site's archive.  The only difference is that I will not be putting Postal History Sunday material in this blog.  

The Postal History Sunday blog on Substack

The weekly article where I share a hobby I enjoy is being given it's own home.  This will allow individuals who are only interested in PHS and not the farm writings a place to go.  However, if you are interested in both, you can certainly subscribe to both.

Writings on Medium

I am trying the Medium writing community for some of the more developed writings I produce.  For example, I will be sharing the PAN blogs I write on Medium (and sometimes on Substack).  Some of the better Postal History Sundays or Walk There Agains may also show up.  I anticipate an average of four to six blogs on Medium per month.  And, yes, there may be some cross-posting between Medium and Substack.

Why subscribe?

I will give you one reason for you and one reason for me.

If you subscribe to any or all of these three choices, you will receive new articles in your email inbox.  You don't have to remember the web address for the blogs.  You don't have to open up any other software.  You don't have to rely on unreliable social media to show you posts from me that tell you I have something new out there to read.

And, the advantage for me is that I get a little feedback and encouragement to keep writing and sharing that writing with you.  If there are ten, twenty, fifty or one hundred of you subscribed to a particular blog, then I know at least that many people will truly be given the opportunity to choose to read each article if they wish. 

As always, I thank you for considering my words and thoughts.  Have a fine remainder of your day!

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Tell 'em Where to Go - Postal History Sunday

Welcome to Postal History Sunday!  I hope you take the opportunity to enjoy learning something new - or at least you like to be entertained by a person who thoroughly enjoys their hobby.  Either way, this isn't a half bad way to spend a few moments of your day.

In this edition, I wanted to revisit the topic of dockets on postal history items.  The last time I did so, Postal History Sunday was only a few months old. I'd like to think I've learned a thing or two since then.

So, let's get to it!

What's a "Docket?"

Postal historians and postal history collectors often reference docketing on various mail pieces, which can take various forms.  Docketing would be some sort of handwriting on the letter or piece of mail that typically provides record-keeping functions for the recipient OR directives to the postal services.

And, of course, postal historians are usually more interested in the directives - but the record keeping can provide useful clues too.

For example, the item above shows lots and LOTS of docketing.  

The writing that runs sideways on the left side of the envelope would be filing notes by the recipient.  George Atkinson, Esq, a lawyer by trade, probably did what many at the time did - they filed documents and stored them in the envelope they came in.  To provide for easy reference, they recorded the date and origin of the contents, a brief summary AND the date the letter was received in their office (May 9, 1866).  It just so happens this date matches the London marking showing in red towards the top.

This method of filing is part of the reason postal historians have as much material to collect as they do.  It also explains why many of the same addressees keep showing up on these pieces of mail. 

The other handwriting on the front of this letter includes the address AND some directional docketing at the lower left.  This docket reads:

"per Cunard Steamer Asia from Boston April 25"

At least - that's what the writer was hoping when they mailed the letter.  It turns out - if you read the New York marking in red at the right side - that it left New York on April 28 on a steamer that was NOT the Asia

We'll get back to that in a bit!

Success and Failure in Directional Dockets

If you look long enough, you can find all kinds of docketing on the mail that clearly was meant to try to direct the post office with varying degrees of success.  Take the item below for example.

Other than the address panel at the center of the envelope, there is a very brief docket at the top left.

The docket "per Steamer" at the top left could have meant one of three things. 

  1. There was more than one option for mail to go from Worcester to Boston
  2. The writer thought there was some other option than a steamship to cross the Atlantic
  3. The writer just wanted to write "per Steamer" on the envelope

I can tell you that Worcester is just west of Boston and there are no rivers that would have had steamers plying between the two locations.  I am pretty certain a train or a coach carried the letter to the Boston foreign mail office.  So, it wasn't the first option.

I am ALSO quite certain that the letter rode on a steamship (a Cunard Line ship) to cross the Atlantic.  In fact, there really wasn't another way that mail would do so at the time.  So, you could argue that the person who wrote this wasted ink on the docket.  That would be option three.

In their defense, it had not been that many years that steamships were the primary mode of transportation across the sea.  The person writing could very well remember the days that most ships went by sail, not steam engine.  They might even have experienced a time when you would WANT to indicate that you wanted it to go by a steamship rather than one that went under sail and you had to say so on your letter.

The item below, shows some successful direction given by a docket:

The words "via Panama" very clearly directed the post office in San Francisco to put it on a steamer that would go down the Pacific coast to Panama.  The letter then would go overland at the isthmus and then board another steamer to New York from the eastern shore of the isthmus.  

In this case, there were a couple of routing alternatives.  The default route was for letter mail to go overland in 1863 since overland routes were in use at that time from California.  So, if a letter writer preferred the steamship via Panama, they had to indicate that preference as this person did here.

The question is, of course, "why did this person want this to go on the slower route?"  We may never know this answer for certain.  But, perhaps the sender had heard enough about mail coach robberies that they did not want to risk that with this mail item?  Maybe there was a known weather issue that was going to delay overland mail?  Or perhaps, they were aware of uncertainties with respect to conflict with Native Americans along the mail route?

Unattributed woodcut, circa 1867 - Ann Ronan collection

The Bear River Massacre in January of 1863 was one such event that led to tensions that impacted the mail route near Salt Lake City.  An incident involving US soldiers harassing Native American women and injuring members of the Goshute led to an armed conflict.  The Goshute, after losing that conflict, swore revenge on the "bluecoats" (a reference to the soldier's uniforms).  Unfortunately, they identified mail coach drivers as bluecoats and killed both men on a mail coach early on June 10th.

However, other than a short period in 1862, overland mails were not halted due to conflict.  They might have been delayed at point along the route if sections were impassible for a time.  So, it was entirely up to the sender to weigh the risk of possible delay.  If they wanted to apply a docket telling the US Post Office to take the route via Panama, they could do so.

Whatever the case, this is a time when the directive was followed - even if it was going to result in slower transit of the mail item.

And here is another successful routing docket (look at the top left).  This one reads "by the Persia Aug 24 in New York."  Unfortunately for the postal historian (me), there are no contents in the letter and there is no originating postmark, so I cannot tell for certain where this item was mailed from in the United States.  Clearly, it DID go through New York and it DID leave on a ship from New York on August 24 (yes, it was the Persia).  So, you could say that the docket worked - it went where the writer wanted it to go.

However, it is likely that this letter would have taken this particular ship from New York whether the docket was placed on the envelope or not!

Did They Need Dockets by the 1860s?

By the time we get to letters in the 1860s, the need for writers to include directional docketing had been greatly reduced - though there were times when it was still necessary.  As far as mail from the United States to England goes, the postal service had a pretty good system for getting letters to the earliest departing steamship or identifying the quickest route - there was very little a directional docket would do that would improve that.

As long as the letter above was mailed on time for that New York departure, it was probably going to take the earliest departing ship even without the docket.

But, the letter below might actually have a somewhat useful docket.... maybe.

The docket "via Liverpool" at top left could be construed as a directive to put the letter on one of the shipping lines that went through Liverpool - but it actually did more than that.  You see, the Cunard Line would stop at Cork, Ireland, and offload mail for England there.  That mail would then go by rail, cross the water from Kingston to Holyhead, and then on to London by rail.  

Because this item was headed to Scotland, the writer indicated that it should stay on the ship until it got to Liverpool the next day.  From there it would go to Glasgow.

But, again, there is a question as to exactly how useful the docket might be because the mail volume to the United Kingdom was sufficient that mail to Scotland could have been placed into its own mailbag.  If that were the case, it would take the most efficient route to Scotland without needing the docket. 

Once more, this is a case where we see mail handling in the process of change.  Dockets that were once critical in directing the mail were becoming less important as the amount of mail increased and the mail sorting and routing procedures become more refined.

Back to the Original Cover

Here we are - back at the original item with the docket claiming the letter should go to Boston and leave on the Cunard Steamer Asia on April 25 (Wednesday).  But, clearly, it left New York on a steamer that Saturday (April 28).

The reason for the delay is simple.  The writer did not make it to the post office in time to get the mail to Boston and the departure of the Asia.  The post office simply sent the item to New York, where the next ship was scheduled to sail across the Atlantic.

But, here is the problem for the post office.  The writer makes a claim by saying the letter was to leave Boston on April 25.  The post office provides themselves evidence that it is not THEIR problem by putting the "Too Late" marking on the envelope.  "Hey, George Atkinson.  I don't care what the guy who wrote this says - he didn't get it to us in time for that ship.  Take it up with him!"

This illustrates a bit more about why dockets were still routinely placed on letters.  It could often serve as an attempt to provide evidence of timeliness during an era when it took ten to twelve days to cross the Atlantic - and a missed ship could add three more days to the wait! 

Bonus Docket Fun!

I thought it might be interesting show a docket that was placed on an envelope that instructed a letter to take the overland route to California.  Unlike the prior example, this envelope was traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Yes... that says "overland."  I recognize that these scrawls can be difficult to decipher sometimes, even if you know cursive handwriting.  I have to admit that it helps if you know what sorts of words are likely to be put on an envelope for a docket.  For example, letters traveling across the United States are likely to have dockets that say "overland," "steamer," or "Panama" if there is going to be a directional docket during the 1860s.

This triple weight letter, with nine cents in postage also has a docket on the right hand side of the envelope.  It is oriented so it reads sideways, which is often a signal to me that this is probably a docket applied by the recipient for filing.  Of course, this is not always true, but it is a rule of thumb that has seemed to make sense for material during this time period.

If it is a filing docket, you can often expect names, dates and place names.  Frequently, there might be reference to legal materials that were contents or were referenced by the contents of the letter.  This time, I believe the docket reads "vouchers."  Of course, if someone sees it differently, feel fee to disagree!

I think I will close with a favorite docket of mine.  In this case, we could argue that this is not so much a docket as it is part of the address.  Frankly, I wouldn't be upset either way because my need to call it a docket is secondary.

This letter was mailed from Grand Rapids to Galesburgh, Michigan in Kalamazoo County.  The addressee actually lived closer to a small town outside of Galesburgh.  The docket reads "Please forward to Climax with Daily Mail."  You can learn more about this particular item in a Postal History Sunday titled The Rural Burden, if you have interest.

I hope you enjoyed today's entry.  Have a great remainder day and a fine week to come.


Thank you for joining me this week.  I hope you have a fine remainder of your day and an excellent week to come.

Postal History Sunday is published each week at both the Genuine Faux Farm blog and the GFF Postal History blog.  If you are interested in prior entries, you can view them, starting with the most recent, at this location.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Carried Away Some More - Postal History Sunday

Winter has very much arrived and made itself welcome at the Genuine Faux Farm.  After a late start, we've had multiple snows, strong winds, and some bitter cold.  All in a period of a couple of weeks.  

One of the myths that I tell myself about the cold weather is that I'll get to spend more time with the postal history hobby I enjoy.  It's a good story, at least, that helps me tolerate trudging out to the laying hens in wind chills of thirty below.  But the reality is that there are often more, not fewer trips, out to deal with farm chores.  And while I spend less time outside per trip, I probably spend much more time putting on the proper clothing to do the work.

So, this week for Postal History Sunday, I thought I would let myself be carried away some more by carrier covers - all in an effort to forget, if only for a short while, that I have to go collect more eggs before they freeze!

And, before we get into it, it should be noted that the carrier fee to the mails were removed on July 1, 1863.  Since I enjoy studying items with postage stamps bearing the 1861 US design (issued in August 1861), you will find most of the covers shown today will be dated between August of 1861 through June of 1863.  I'll leave it to other folks to show earlier and later items if they wish!

The letter carrier fee "to the mails"

Just two weeks ago, I focused on carrier letters that showed the one cent fee to pay a US mail carrier to collect the letter from an individual or a letter box and take it to the post office.  A small number of the larger cities in the United States provided this service in the 1850s into the 1860s, but their number was increasing as the postal services grew to accommodate the increased volume in mail.  

Persons who are interested in this topic can find examples of a US postage stamp paying the one cent carrier fee from larger cities such as Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn and Cleveland.  And it should be noted that this fee was for a carrier employed by the US Post Office.  There were, at the time, competing private carrier services in some locations as well.  

Shown above is an envelope that must have weighed more than 1/2 ounce.  The letter rate for a domestic letter within the United States was 3 cents per 1/2 ounce in weight and this letter bears two 3-cent stamps at the top right to pay that postage.  On the left is a 1-cent stamp to pay the Philadelphia carrier fee to the mails.  That extra penny paid for a US letter carrier to either pick it up from the sender or from one of the post boxes in the city.  That carrier would then take it to the post office where it could be prepared to go with the rest of the mail bound for Boston.

This particular item illustrates the difference between a "rate" and a "fee."  Letters could be sent at the rate of 3 cents per 1/2 ounce.  For an extra fee of one cent, a letter carrier in Philadelphia could bring the letter to the post office for the person wishing to mail the letter.  So, even though this letter weighed over 1/2 ounce, the carrier fee did not double like the postage amount did.  

Carrier to the mails and delivery in New York City

The small envelope shown above is an example of a letter that was taken to the mails by a letter carrier and carried to the addressee by a letter carrier.  We can deduce that it was likely delivered because the address panel includes details for the location of Mary G. Ambler at Number 25 on West 23rd Street.  And, in case that was not enough, there is a docket at bottom left that reads "3 doors from V Avenue Hotel," which is likely referencing the very new Fifth Avenue Hotel that had recently been completed 1859).  A letter that was going to be held at the post office for the recipient to pick up typically would not include a detailed location.

This letter took advantage of the one-cent carrier fee that paid for pick up and delivery of letter mail within New York City.  We can determine this is the case both because there is a one-cent stamp paying the postage and there is a postal marking that is known to indicate this carrier service at the time.  A tracing of this marking (with a different date) is shown below:

Now, before I go much further, I want to point out that a cover with a one-cent stamp alone does not necessarily indicate carrier services.  It's the combination of the one-cent stamp with this particular marking that confirms it for us.  However, there are other situations that might call for a single one-cent stamp on a cover.

The small letter shown above is good example.  The postmark on the stamp is for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the letter is addressed to the same location.  Gettysburg did not have a US postal carrier at the time, so there is no way this paid for those services.  On the other hand, there was a one-cent rate for letters dropped at the post office that were also intended to be picked up at the post office - just as this one was.

So, the take-away here is that we also need to know that the post office in a given town or city actually employed letter carriers before we can consider the possibility of a carrier fee on a cover.

Some were destined to leave the United States

The one-cent fee for carriage to the mails was independent of the postage rate, as we saw with our first example.  But, let's drive that point home a bit further.

Shown above is a letter mailed in Philadelphia and destined to Canada.  The postage rate for a simple letter from the US to Canada was ten cents at the time. And, sure enough, there is a green ten-cent postage stamp at the right paying the cost for that rate.  

This is the part where you say, "Hey!  There's a one-cent stamp on there too.  Philadelphia had letter carriers.  I bet this is an example of carrier service to the mails too!"  And the good news is, you would be correct.  Good job!

An extra penny of postage paid beyond the required postage rate, in addition to the knowledge that there were carriers picking up mail in a given city, makes a strong case for the carrier fee.  

Here's another good candidate.  This letter was mailed from New York City to Staffordshire, England.  The postage rate for a simple letter from the US to the UK at the time was 24 cents for a letter weighing no more than 1/2 ounce.  The 24-cent stamp at the left pays that postage rate, and the 1-cent stamp at the right paid for the carrier service in New York City to the mails.

The case is made stronger by the fact that an additional stamp (the 1 cent stamp) was added to this cover in addition to the amount required for the letter postage rate.  Why would a person bother to separate another stamp from the sheet, lick the back, and then stick it on the envelope unless they intended for it to pay for some sort of service?

The answer is: they wouldn't.  So, it is pretty clear the extra penny was intended to pay for the carrier service to the mails.

Here is an example that I hope will illustrate what I mean.  The total postage on this cover is 30 cents.  The postage rate required for this item was 28 cents.  The stamps on the cover include one 24-cent stamp and two 3-cent stamps.  What were the extra two cents intended to pay?  Or did they pay for anything at all?

The item was mailed in New York City, so there were letter carriers available.  So, it is possible this was an attempt to pay carrier services.  But, I don't make the claim that this happened.  Why?

First, the old rate to Brunswick was 30 cents per 1/2 ounce and it had recently (within a few years) been changed.  Also, the rate for letters that were sent unpaid was 30 cents and 28 cents when it was properly paid.  So, it is entirely possible (in fact, likely) that this was a simple mistake in identifying the postage rate.  It is also possible that this was a "convenience overpay."  The person had 3-cent stamps and 24-cent stamps, which didn't provide a good option to get to 28 total cents.  So, they just got as close to the total they could with what they had. 

This would be different if there were 29 cents of postage on this cover and one of the stamps was a one cent stamp.  It certainly would NOT be a convenience overpay - what's convenient about adding another stamp?  And, it would clearly not be due to rate confusion - unless they thought they would take the average of the two and give that a go!

The final piece of evidence is that this letter was mailed in 1865, well after the July 1, 1863 date where the carrier fee was removed.  Since there was no carrier fee, it couldn't have been used to pay it.  But, even if this had been mailed in 1862, I would not make the claim that it was an attempt to pay for carrier service.

That brings us back to another cover that traveled from New York City to England.  This one was mailed in early 1863.  Once again, a 24-cent stamp pays the postage rate and a 1-cent stamp pays the carrier fee to the mails.  Letter carriers did work in New York City.  The date is prior to July 1, 1863.  And, there really isn't any other reason for a person to add a 1-cent stamp to this particular cover other than to pay that carrier fee.

While it is certainly not at all difficult to find covers that illustrate the combination of a carrier fee with the domestic letter rate (3 cents), it is much harder to find examples that traveled to destinations outside of the United States.  They certainly exist, most frequently to Canada.  I have also seen examples with payment for carrier service to the United Kingdom, France and Italy.  There aren't lots of them, but there are enough to confirm that it did happen and to establish patterns so we can more readily identify them.

More competition for the US Post Office

In the Postal History Sunday from two weeks ago, I showed an example of a Blood's Penny Post item where a private carrier picked up the letter and brought it to the post office - instead of a letter carrier employed by the US Post Office.  This week, I am showing an example that was carried by Boyd's City Express (New York City) to the mails.

Like the Philadelphia Boyd's cover, this battered envelope shows a 24-cent stamp that paid the US postage for the rate to the United Kingdom.  It also has a Boyd's City Express stamp that indicates the 1 cent fee they required to carry the letter to the post office had been paid.

1860 business card from John Bowman's Primer on Boyd's City Express

Like Blood's Penny Post, Boyd's City Express opted to ignore the decision that only the US Post Office could carry mail on designated post roads.  Unlike Blood's, who closed in 1862, Boyd's continued to provide their services for local mail delivery until 1883, when government officials raided the business offices.  While fines were levied against them, they remained open for business to carry mail for a couple more years before terminating that service.  However, they changed their business priorities to focus on mailing lists and address labels.

Some of you might have noticed that someone wrote "Paid 24 cts" just above the 24-cent stamp.  In fact, if you look closely, you can see that the stamp is actually placed over the writing.  This tells me that it is likely the letter was handed to a Boyd's letter carrier along with payment for the 24 cents in postage.  Since neither the Boyd's carrier, nor the person sending the letter had a 24-cent stamp, they simply wrote the payment amount on the envelope.  Once the letter carrier got to the post office, they passed on the payment that led to the addition of the postage stamp. 

Like Blood's Penny Post in Philadelphia and the US Postal Office in New York City (and other carrier cities), Boyd's maintained boxes where customers could drop letters for pick up by persons employed as letter carriers by the City Express.  The National Postal Museum includes a description and a photo of one of the two remaining post boxes known to still be in existence today.

Boyd's City Express Post letter drop mailbox - from Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Now, I will grant you that this Boyd's cover is not pretty - lacking a bit in curb appeal.  But, I have yet to find any other example of this combination of Boyd's carrier service to the mail that then goes to the United Kingdom with 24-cents paid by an 1861 series postage stamp.  In other words, as far as I know, it's the prettiest one out there.  That's plenty of curb appeal for me.

Bonus Material

Fifth Avenue Hotel - from

The "V (Fifth) Avenue Hotel" referenced by the docket on our second cover, was located between 23rd and 24th Streets on the southwest corner of Madison Square in Manhatten (NYC) from 1859 to 1908.  Construction was underway in 1856 and reached completion in 1859 at cost around two million dollars.  

During construction, the Fifth Avenue Hotel was dubbed "Eno's Folly" after Amos Eno, the developer responsible for its construction.  Detractors felt that it was too far away from the established city center and would fail to attract patrons.  However, it rapidly attracted the attention of those with power and money, becoming both a cultural and political gathering point for the elite class.

Our second letter was received at a pivotal point for the neighborhood.  The construction and success of the Fifth Avenue Hotel led to further development around Madison Square Park.  Still, in the early 1860s, this hotel was new and it clearly stood out - making it an excellent landmark to use if you wanted to tell a letter carrier you were just three doors away.

Want to learn more?

There are numerous excellent resources available to those who might like to learn more about carrier covers.  The topic is well-studied and much broader than I could possibly cover in a couple of blog posts.  Here are a few suggestions for those who might like to explore a bit more:

The Carriers and Locals Society promotes the study of private carriers and local posts in the United States.  Their site includes articles and exhibits that might be of use.

A short article that methodically summarizes the history of carrier fees and drop letter rates in New York City can be found in the US Philatelic Classics Society Chronicle if you would like to see a broader context of this topic.


Thank you for joining me this week.  I hope you have a fine remainder of your day and an excellent week to come.

Postal History Sunday is published each week at both the Genuine Faux Farm blog and the GFF Postal History blog.  If you are interested in prior entries, you can view them, starting with the most recent, at this location.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Purple Fire Starters - Postal History Sunday

My origins as a postal historian have roots in my early interest in collecting postage stamps (philately).  As a kid on a shoestring budget, my first source of stamps for collecting came from mail items that my family received, closely followed by stamps torn from covers that were saved by relatives.  The postal historian in me shudders that I may well have been responsible for the destruction of some interesting covers.  But, if it were not for the willingness of people to at least salvage the stamps on my behalf, I may never have explored postal history at all.

With my limited income, I could still go down to either the music store, which had some stamps and supplies for collectors, or the "five and dime," and periodically pick up a packet of mixed stamps.  On those days I could be found spending way too much time trying to pick the packet that had the most "new to me" stamps visible in the envelope through its clear window.  I even "splurged" one day for a BAG of stamps.

That bag introduced me to the thought that not all stamps have the same value to a collector.  Especially when your bag of 1000 stamps had about fifty exciting and new stamps and then multiple copies of other, less exciting, stamps.  For example, there had to be at least one hundred of the three-cent purple Jefferson stamps of the 1938 Presidential Series, which was produced through 1954.  Let's just say there was a significant amount of "buyer's remorse" after that purchase.

The three-cent purple stamp paid the most common postal rate for a simple letter mailed within the United States.  Which means, of course, there were (and still are) lots and lots of covers featuring this stamp - like the one shown below: 

This cover is actually a pretty nice looking example of a typical simple internal letter paying the 3-cent rate for the United States.  The cover is in good repair.  The markings are all clear.  The address and return address are easy to read.  The postage stamp has a nice color, is well centered, and in good repair.  Even the envelope is a nice shade of blue rather than a dingy white. 

But, it still has that darned purple fire starter!

My partner, Tammy, joked many years ago that we should take the hundreds and hundreds of copies of this stamp I had in shoe boxes, bundle them up and use them to start fires.  Or, maybe we could dip them in wax and make candles out of them.  And, I'll tell you that the disappointed young collector wasn't entirely upset by this suggestion.  But, the collector in me always balks - because you never know when you might find something special.

Other Fire Starters

Postal history is not immune to the concept of "fire starters."  The most common piece of saved mail will be a simple letter that shows a typical use of the most common stamp and/or most common markings for that period and place.  If there was a reasonable amount of mail volume in the first place, there will most certainly be a class of items that will be plentiful enough to make the collector say, "Oh... another one of.. THOSE."

For example, the 1861 US series of stamps I favor also features a three-cent stamp that paid the rate for a simple domestic letter.  There are lots of examples of this stamp on cover that survive today - even after 160 years.  If you wanted to add a piece of real history in the form of an old envelope, you could do so for very little cost.  In fact, if you're not picky about how it looks, there are people who might happily gift one to you if you showed real interest.

So, why would someone want to pay attention to them in the first place?  What makes one of these fire starters worth attention?

For the 1861 cover shown above, you might notice that it is also a clean and well preserved cover, despite its age.  That, in itself, is a good start.  The color shade of the stamp provides some interest, as do the blue postmarks.  And maybe the addressee is of interest.  In short, there are many ways a piece of postal history can get our attention - even if it is associated with something that can be found in abundance.

Exceptions to the rule

Just because a three-cent purple Jefferson is associated with the most common type of US domestic mail in the 1940s, it could still be used in combination with other stamps.  For example, here is a 1947 envelope that includes a Special Delivery stamp that was intended to pay for additional services.

Once again, the cover is in good shape and it looks pretty nice.  But, there is also the possibility that there is more story to be told with this item.

Then there is this letter that was mailed from Des Moines, Iowa, in 1941 to Venezuela.  This letter took the more expensive Air Mail services to speed its delivery.  It was also inspected by a censor on August 5, with World War II actively engaged - even if the US was not directly involved at the time.

Once again, this letter clearly has more going on than a simple domestic letter.  Even if you are not a postal historian, you would probably notice this envelope if it were in a pile of covers that looked like the first one I showed for this article. 

But, what if I show you this one?

Yes.  It's a simple, domestic letter.  It has that darned fire starter stamp on it.  If it were in that same pile of covers, you might not notice it if you quickly flipped through everything - because, for the most part, there's nothing that easily makes it stand out.

But this envelope is part of a very important story that is part of United States World War II history.

Executive Order 9066

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066.  This order directed the War Department to establish "military areas" where anyone could be excluded from access.  This action came about due to increasing public pressure based on growing anti-Japanese hysteria.  Top government officials, such as Attorney General Biddle and Secretary of War Stimson did not necessarily feel the move was a good one and worried that it might not be legal.  But, those who insisted the policy was needed to ensure public safety on the West Coast convinced them to recommend the action to the President.

Executive Order 9066 allowed the military the power to remove persons of Japanese descent from California, Oregon and Washington.  The War Relocation Authority was created and a system of Assembly and Relocation Centers were created.  Most Assembly Centers were fairgrounds and racetracks on the West Coast.  Santa Anita Park, an equestrian racetrack in southern California, temporarily housed detainee families in horse stalls

There were ten Relocation Centers that are more accurately described as prison camps.  While each camp included schools, post offices, work facilities and land to grow food, they were also surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers.  Those who were labeled as dissidents were sent to a special prison camp in Tule Lake, California.  Two camps were located on Native American reservations despite protests of the tribal councils there.

By August of 1942, approximately 112,000 persons were sent to the Assembly Centers for processing to the Relocation Centers.  Two-thirds of these people were citizens of the United States and had not been charged with disloyalty to the US.  Still, they had no mechanism to appeal their detention and loss of property.  They were forced to leave homes, jobs, businesses and communities, along with most of their possessions, and when they returned at war's end, many found what they had left behind was gone.

Heart Mountain

One of the prison camps was located in Wyoming at Heart Mountain.  This Relocation Center consisted of a 740 acre site that included 650 buildings (450 barracks) and was surrounded by barbed wire and nine guard towers.  At its peak, over ten thousand people were confined at this camp and those incarcerated there grew their own food on 1,100 acres of nearby land.

Barracks were laid out in blocks separated by unpaved roads.  Kiyoshi Honda, our letter writer, lived in Block 17, according to his return address.  Each block consisted of 24 barracks, two mess halls, two latrine buildings, laundry facilities and two recreation buildings.  The address "Block 17 - 3 - B"  identified the writer's barracks building.

Heart Mountain Internment Camp - from Univ of Wyoming / American Heritage Center

There are several resources that discuss the history and events surrounding the imprisonment of Japanese peoples during World War II in the United States, but the best resource I have found thus far is the Densho Encyclopedia.  I strongly advise interested readers to visit that site, which includes recorded oral histories in addition to images and other materials.  Much of the details that follow for both Heart Mountain and Camp Amache were gleaned from their materials.

From Densho Encyclopedia - viewed 1/6/24

The location for the Heart Mountain site was not selected for habitability.  Instead, the location was intended to isolate the internees from the rest of the population. The land was barren and unwelcoming, especially considering where most detainees had lived prior to their arrival at Heart Mountain.

The Heart Mountain site started rapid and slipshod construction of the necessary buildings in June of 1942.  While around 2000 people were employed in the building process, construction experience was deemed unnecessary - if you could drive a nail with a hammer, you qualified.  While construction of over 500 buildings were completed by August, most were poorly suited to withstand the extreme weather typical for Wyoming.  Doors and windows were often poorly installed and would not close completely.  Detainees began arriving in mid-August and did what they could by hanging spare sheets and stuffing cracks with rags and newspapers.

The Heart Mountain prison camp is known for the acts of protest undertaken by members of the detainee population.  Rather than paraphrase, I thought the following from the Densho Encyclopedia would serve well:

"The latent antagonism between Caucasian authorities and inmates came to boil ... when military police arrested 32 young children for sledding outside of camp boundaries. Although the children were released to their parents, inmates were quick to condemn the treatment of the children by the police. Amidst rising tension the army attempted to recruit volunteer workers to construct a barbed wire fence around the perimeter of the camp. The majority of working-age men went on strike, refusing to participate in the project. They questioned the army's justification for erecting the fence; namely the attempt to keep stray cattle from entering the campgrounds. Three thousand inmates signed a petition "charging that the fence proved that Heart Mountain was indeed a 'concentration camp' and that the evacuees were 'prisoners of war.'"

Of course, there was an effort by government to use semantics to justify the forced removal of these people from the West Coast while still making it sound less like they were actual prisoners.  Detainees at Heart Mountain were clearly aware of the picture being painted in the press that worked to put a good face on the matter and they were not willing to accept that without a struggle.


 Camp Amache

Camp Amache, also known as the Granada Relocation Center, is located near the towns of Granada and Lamar, Colorado.  This Relocation Center provides an interesting contrast to Heart Mountain. Colorado's Governor Ralph Carr was the only western governor to support the establishment of a Relocation Center in his state.  The administrators of Camp Amache were, in general, considered to "have a deep regard for fairness" and some of the teachers petitioned to move to the camp so they could better serve their students.

The agricultural efforts of the detainees were fairly successful, producing over 4 million pounds of produce in 1943 alone.  The camp even had a silk screen printing shop.  Established in June of 1943, the Amache silkscreen shop produced over 250,000 color posters under a contract with the US Navy.

Camp Amache - from National Park Service

The sender of this letter, Sam Okubara, actually served in the US Army after World War II in Japan as a language instructor (presumably teaching the Japanese the English language).  The relatively "friendly" conditions at Camp Amache correlated with higher numbers of volunteers for military service. 

The following also comes from the Densho Encyclopedia:

"A total of 953 men and women from Amache volunteered or were drafted for military service during WWII. Of this number, 105 were wounded and 31 killed in action. Among those killed was Kiyoshi Muranaga who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor . However, not all Amacheans responded favorably to the notice for induction into the military. Thirty-one men from Amache were tried for draft evasion, found guilty, and sent to prison in Tucson, Arizona."

I think it is important to point out that, while Japanese people in these camps were denied their freedoms, they were still subject to being drafted for military service.  I don't think it takes too much imagination to understand why many of those drafted would be inclined to say "no" and accept the punishment of doing so in protest.

Okubara family in mess hall - from Mill Valley Public Library

The Okubara family was forcibly removed from their home in Mill Valley, California in April of 1942. The Spring 2019 Mill Valley Historical Society Review features the story of the removal of Japanese citizens, including the Okubaras. The Mill Valley Public Library includes images of the family, including the one shown above.  Sam can be seen as the second person from the right (in uniform).  Sam's parents, Tora and Harry can be seen at the left.

While Tora would die from heart failure at the camp in 1945, both Sam and his father would return to Mill Valley at the end of World War II.  Sam would then depart to serve in Japan soon after.  The story in the Mill Valley Historical Society Review is worth a read if you want to get a better flavor of events for that community.

Granada Pioneer - from Library of Congress

While detainees found themselves in less than desirable situations, they still did what they could to build community.  Many of the camps created their own newspapers as evidenced by the masthead of a May, 1944 edition of the Granada Pioneer (Camp Amache) shown above.  Reading the contents of these papers show the tensions that reflect the rejection of their loyalty to the land in which they lived and their connections to their homeland or the homeland of their ancestors.  They also reflect what was likely a wide range of opinions regarding how they should react within the population of prisoners in these camps.

From Oct 14, 1942 Granada Camp Bulletin

The Granada Pioneer had its start as a camp bulletin that began publication on October 14, 1942.  In that issue, it becomes clear that the addition of several thousand people to a small, rural population did not come without significant strain on the existing communities.  One article makes note (shown above at left) that the rural Granada post office struggled to handle the sudden boom in mail volume.  Another mentions that passes to shop in Lamar were not going to be offered because internees had cleaned off the merchants shelves, leaving nothing for the local farmers.  Subsequent bulletins for the next week indicate that rapid adjustments were being made and the Lamar Chamber of Commerce was now courting business from those at Camp Amache.

While the War Relocation Authority named this the Grenada Relocation Center, the US Post Offices recognition of the name Amache seems to have resulted in the latter name receiving more use.  By the time this letter was sent, the post office in the camp had its own cancellation device, though I expect it was in use sooner than this.

And finally, you might notice that both envelopes were addressed to the newspaper named the Denver Post.  Sam Okubara's letter may well have contained payment for a newspaper subscription since his letter was addressed to the subscription office.  However, a very faint marking on that envelope indicates that it was in the Steno Department on the 17th of October.

Since there are no contents, we can't be wholly certain of anything.  Though it seems odd that a mere subscription would require the efforts of the Stenographer Department.  If anyone has insight on this, I would be happy to hear it.

And that is how two of what must be many fairly common-looking covers elevate themselves well above firestarter status.  They shine a light, without being subjected to burning, on a time in history that we should contemplate and learn from.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope you have a fine remainder of your day and an excellent week to come.

Bonus Material - the Prexies

The 1938 Presidential Series is often referred to by philatelists as the Prexie Series or the Prexies.  And, of course, there are people who love to collect and explore the history and postal history that surrounds them.  The United States Stamp Society has a nice overview of the entire issue that you can look at if you want to learn more.  This online exhibit by Hal Klein can give you an overview of the rates these stamps could pay.

If you like even MORE detail about the stamps and their production, you can go to this page on the Stamp Smarter site.  It is here that you might notice the stamp production numbers for each denomination.  The three-cent Jefferson had a total production level of 130 BILLION copies during the 1938-54 period.  The next highest production number for a denomination in this issue is about a quarter of that.  Now you might get an idea of why there are so many of them out there.

Yet, despite the relatively common occurrence of this particular stamp, a person can find truly interesting, and very worthwhile, things.


Postal History Sunday is published each week at both the Genuine Faux Farm blog and the GFF Postal History blog.  If you are interested in prior entries, you can view them, starting with the most recent, at this location.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Carried Away - Postal History Sunday

Welcome to Postal History Sunday, a weekly feature where I share a hobby I enjoy with anyone who has interest.  It doesn't matter if you are an accomplished postal historian or just a curious bystander, everyone has an opportunity to learn something new.  Ignore your troubles for a bit - maybe if you forget to water them, they won't keep getting larger?  Grab a beverage of your choice and put on your fluffy slippers and take a few moments away from the rest of your busy life.

This week, we're going to look at the service provided by letter carriers in the United States to get the mail from the sender to the post office in the 1860s.  I typically refer to these as carrier covers, and they can be an interesting sub-topic for postal historians.

We're going to start with this 1861 letter that originated in Philadelphia.  There are two postage stamps (1 cent and 3 cent) representing four cents of postage paid to get this letter to Baltimore.  The three cent stamp paid the postage for a simple letter weighing no more than 1/2 ounce within the US, as long as it did not travel over 3000 miles.

Letter Mail Rates in the United States April 1, 1855 - June 30, 1863

up to 3000 miles prepaid
3 cents
1/2 ounce     
over 3000 miles prepaid    
10 cents
1/2 ounce 

This particular PHS is concerned about what the blue 1-cent stamp paid for - carriage to the Philadelphia post office.  This could either mean that the letter was picked up by the postal carrier from the sender or some other drop off locations, such as a post box.

A person could also pay to have a letter carrier deliver letters in the larger cities, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia.  The full street address on this envelope tells us it could have been carried to No. 41 Charles Street.  The recipient would have paid one penny for delivery to the carrier - the sender could not prepay for carrier delivery.  But, today we are not going to concern ourselves with delivery.  Instead, we'll focus on carriers getting letters to the mails.

A Service Taken For Granted

While I recognize that fewer and fewer people actually send letters via the postal service, many who read this blog have at least some memory of a time when paying bills and sending written correspondence via the mail was commonplace.  Unless you lived in a small, rural town, you probably have (or had) a postal person delivering mail to your office or place of residence.  If you wanted to send something in the mail, you could simply place it in your mailbox and that same person would pick up your letter and take it to the post office for you.  

That's a good example of carrier service to the mails.  The big difference is that no extra fee beyond the regular postage rate was needed to secure that service.  Prior to July 1, 1863, people who wanted their letter carried to the mails had to pay an extra fee.

from Smithsonian National Postal Museum

I do not live in a town and I also benefit from Rural Free Delivery in the United States.  In other words, I do not have to pay extra to have someone drive by our farm six days a week and drop our mail off in a box that looks a good deal like the one shown above.  And, just like someone who lives in a city with postal carriers, I can place mail into my mailbox and raise the red flag on the side to alert our rural carrier that I have placed a letter(s) into the box that I want them to take to the post office for me without paying more.

The rural service started in the late 1890s, though it was not adopted everywhere at once.  Prior to that point, rural customers had to make a trip to the nearest post office (that could be lengthy) to pick up and drop off mail.  Or, they made arrangements with someone else to drop off or pick up mail.

Well, believe it or not, there was also a time in the United States where even people living in some of our largest cities either had to go to the post office themselves to pick up or send a letter OR they had to pay someone to go to the post office for them.  The 1860s were a key period where carrier services expanded rapidly from the largest cities to smaller cities and towns - which is one reason why I enjoy looking at items from this period in the United States.

A Penny to Carry Your Mail

Here is a similar item showing 1 cent payment a letter carrier to take this envelope to the New York City post office.  In addition the possibility of handing a letter directly to a carrier, New Yorkers could find one of the lamp-post drop boxes scattered throughout the city.  

There were 586 such boxes in 1863 in NYC but there were most likely fewer in 1861 when the letter shown above was mailed.  To my knowledge, there isn't any way to tell whether this envelope was handed to a carrier or taken from one of these boxes.  But, once again, the 1-cent stamp is evidence that the carrier service to the New York post office was paid.  

And, before we move on, there is something different about this cover.  See if you can see it.  If you can't, don't worry, I'll fill you in later!

from Smithsonian

According to Appleton's United States Postal Guide for 1863, carriers visited these boxes six times a day to empty them and take the letters deposited there to the post office.  There were 137 postal carriers employed by the New York City post office if we use the numbers in the report of the Postmaster General for the fiscal year 1863/64.  Their job, in addition to picking up letters from these letterboxes, was to also make deliveries of the mail and collect the one cent carrier fee.

You might be surprised to learn that the first collection box officially sanctioned by the US Post Office was patented in 1858 by Albert Potts.  These were quite small and required frequent emptying.  This, of course, led to larger boxes, including those built under contract with the Post Office by John Murray in 1860.  If this topic interests you, you may enjoy reading the summary provided here by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

There was limited carrier service for pick up and delivery well before the 1860s, which is the period I focus on.  The New York City Directory and Register for 1789 lists at least one letter carrier named Hugh Duncan, as pointed out in this presentation by Calvet Hahn and confirmed by viewing the directory in question (shown below).  There are also covers that exist to show carrier delivery service in Philadelphia as early as 1754.

The motivations for the US Post Office to begin taking carrier pick up and delivery more seriously is a fairly complex question.  I could point to Europe and the history of mail pick-up and delivery that was well established there.  But, that would only serve as the model for some of the ideas that were implemented in the United States.  We need to remember that the majority of the population resided in rural areas and the existing city infrastructures were much younger and less established in the US. 

An Outside Motivation - Protecting Turf

Just as private mail services pushed the US Post Office to provide cheaper postage (and get laws passed to remove the competition), the private services that offered to take mail to and from private homes and businesses encouraged change by providing competition.  One well known private service was called the Blood's Penny Post in Philadelphia.  

Shown above is a letter that was mailed in Philadelphia on September 4, 1861, to Washington, D.C.  A three-cent stamp paid for the domestic postage to get from Philadelphia to D.C., but there is an additional adhesive on this cover that represented payment to Blood's for carrier service.

The Blood's carrier service started in 1845 as D.O. Blood & Co, becoming Blood's Despatch in 1848, and was finally known as Blood's Penny Post in 1854.  At its height, it serviced hundreds of collection boxes throughout Philadelphia that were emptied as many as five times a day.  

If you'll look at the cover above, you'll find a round marking at the bottom left.  It is hard to read, so I can provide you with a similar marking that bears different dates and times.  If the marking on our cover were clearer, we might expect to be able to find out which time of day this letter had been collected by Blood's Penny Post - just as the example below from 1858 illustrates for us.

In September of 1861, the cost for carrier service by Blood's Penny Post to the US Post Office in Philadelphia was one penny.  Blood's started the service at a cost of three cents in 1845, dropping it to 2 cents and then 1 cent (in 1855) as business grew and competitors attempted to get into the fray.  If you are interested in seeing examples of postal history from Blood's and their competitors in Philadelphia you may view them in Vernon Morris' exhibit of Blood's postal history.

It turns out that it can be useful to have the federal government on your side.  The US Post Office had the ability to declare any road or street a "post road."  Once a road or street had that designation it was no longer legal for a private entity to carry the mail via those routes.  In July of 1860, the Postmaster General announced that all streets in Philadelphia were post roads.  As a result, Blood's was technically no longer allowed to carry mail in the city - but they opted to ignore that announcement and continued to provide their services.

However, after the Post Office sought an injunction to prevent Blood's from continuing in 1861, the Penny Post finally shut their doors on January 10, 1862.  If you would like more details about Blood's Penny Post, I suggest you read this article in the Classics Society's Chronicle by Edward Harvey.  And, if that's still not enough for you, you can read this article that expands on certain details by Steven Roth (starts page 4). 

US Postal Carriers in Major Cities

A person can, if they wish, find examples of the US Post Office's penny carrier service in several of the major cities in the early 1860s.  In my own collection, I have examples for New York City, Boston, Brooklyn, Baltimore and Philadelphia (another is shown above).  In each case, a three cent stamp pays for a simple letter weighing no more than 1/2 ounce to travel from one point to another within the United States.  The one-cent stamp pays for the carrier service to the post office.

It is interesting to note that the US Post Office in Philadelphia was not too proud to take a few clues from the successful Blood's Penny Post.  The back of this letter shows a poorly struck postmark that would include the date and time stamp to show which carrier circuit picked the item up.

Rather than show you that marking, because it is hard to read, let me show you a similar marking that bears a different date in time so you can get a feel for what it looks like.

As postal use grew in the 1860s, the number of cities that provided carrier services increased.  And, on July 1, 1863, the one cent fee for carrier service was removed and Free City Delivery was established in the United States. At that time only 49 post offices employed at least one carrier and there were approximately 450 carriers in total.  By 1900, over 400 cities employed nearly 10,000 letter carriers and rural delivery was starting to get a foothold.

Why are Postal Historians Attracted to "Carrier Covers"?

As a postal historian, I appreciate items that provide me with clues that tell me how the letter traveled through the mail. Once we get to the middle of 1863 and the 1 cent fee for carrier pickup to the post office was removed, we lose some of the indicators that might tell us how a letter got to the post office in the first place.  A letter that was picked up from a lamppost drop box will look exactly the same as one that was dropped by the customer at the main post office after July 1st of that year.

That's why items prior to that date, like the cover shown above, have a special attraction.  The mere existence of the 1 cent stamp on this cover tells us that a carrier picked up this item and took it to the post office.  Just a bit more of the story is evident here.  And, because I know it cost 1 cent for a carrier to pick this up, I know the item shown below was NOT taken to the Philadelphia post office by a US post carrier.

Why?  Well, the postmark date is 1861, so the 1 cent carrier fee was in force.  There is no indication of carrier service so it is highly likely it was dropped at the post office.

If this item were dated October 1, 1863 (instead of 1861), I would not have any clues to tell me about the journey this letter took to get to the post office.  It could have been dropped in a post box, handed to a carrier or passed to the postal clerk at the post office.

But, that's not the whole story of what attracts people to items we call "carrier covers."  You've actually gotten a taste of it in this Postal History Sunday.  We have interesting stories involving private local carriers that provided a service that the US Post Office was either neglecting or not doing sufficiently well.  We see evidence of social change as mail was made more accessible to a wider audience.  We see the progress where a convenience that initially required payment eventually becomes an expected free service.

It's a good story.  And you all know how I like a good story.

Bonus Material

The letter that features the Blood's Penny Post stamp is written to a Private James C. Hufty of Colonel Baker's "First California" Regiment, Company C.  Hufty, a 21 year old, enrolled on April 18, 1861 with the First California.  Apparently, Hufty found some way to hold on to the letters he received because there are several envelopes from this correspondence available to collectors.  

Camp Oregon (where this letter was addressed) was part of the defense around Washington, D.C. (to its northwest) and many of these camps included the families of some of the soldiers.  This could, I suppose, help explain how these envelopes survived.  Is it possible he had someone at camp who kept track of these letters for him?  Below is a photo of the 31st Pennsylvania Volunteers encamped at that time near Washington, D.C. (a different unit that did not include Hufty).

Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-cwpb-01663

Private Hufty would be among 553 Federal prisoners taken at the Battle of Ball's Bluff on October 21, 1861.  I have not been able to track Hufty beyond that point in time.

Senator Edward D Baker, of Oregon, formed this regiment largely with volunteers from Philadelphia and New York City, despite what the name might imply.  Baker was a politician and a friend of President Lincoln.  Because he recruited this regiment (and he had connections), Baker was given the commission as Colonel, despite his lack of military training.  This was a fairly common occurrence early in the war, which led to numerous mistakes in early action.

from WikiMedia Commons

The Battle of Ball's Bluff was a prime illustration how the lack of military background cost dearly.  Baker positioned his troops on low ground, putting them at great disadvantage.  They were pressed back to the Potomac where many were killed, captured or drowned in the attempt to retreat.  Baker paid with his life and his incompetence resulted in the creation of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of War.  The Joint Committee was created to begin addressing the competence of military leadership and to counter politically motivated appointments.

Baker shot at Ball's Bluff - from Library of Congress

After the Senator's (Colonel's) death, the 1st California was renamed the 71st Pennsylvania Infantry, though it was (and is) still often referenced by its original name.  The 71st participated in many major battles, including Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.  They were mustered out in August of 1864.

If you are interested in more details surrounding the 71st Pennsylvania, the History of Edward Baker's California Regiment, 71st PA Inf. by Gary G. Lash could be of interest to you.  

And one more tidbit for this week

I promised earlier that I would fill you in about the thing that is "different" for the second cover shown in today's Postal History Sunday - so here we are!

The United States Postal Service issued a new design of postage stamps in 1861, releasing them for use in August of that year.  At the same time, the demonetized the older designs of postage stamps - making them no longer valid to pay postage.  The idea was to prevent postmasters and persons in the Confederate States from using older stocks of US postage.

However, there was a period of time where old postage was still allowed and, of course, not every instance where a person tried to use an old stamp was going to be noticed.  While the new designs were different, their colors and designs were similar enough that a person with much to do might miss it.  This is an example of a cover where an old design from the 1851 / 1857 series (the blue one cent stamp) is used with a new 1861 design (the rose colored three cent stamp).

Of course, there is more that can be said about that - but that might be best said in another Postal History Sunday.

Thank you for joining me this week.  I hope you have a great remainder of your day and a fine week to come!


Postal History Sunday is published each week at both the Genuine Faux Farm blog and the GFF Postal History blog.  If you are interested in prior entries, you can view them, starting with the most recent, at this location.