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Has The USPS Stopped Cancelling Stamps?

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1003 Posts
Posted 10/16/2017   5:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add GregAlex to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've noticed what appears to be a trend in the stamped envelopes I've been receiving in recent years. Nearly all the large envelopes and most letter-sized have arrived with the stamps uncancelled. I live in the West, but that may not be a factor because I get mail from across the country.

Is anyone else seeing this trend? What would be the cause -- are the processing machines for stamped material being abandoned for lack of use? Hand cancels are still in use, but machine cancels seem to be disappearing.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
6986 Posts
Posted 10/16/2017   6:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have noticed the same. I have not received an APS circuit for instance that had cancelled stamps on it in several years. I am very fortunate that the person ahead of me uses stamps all the time, but they almost never get cancelled.

Peter
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Valued Member
United States
69 Posts
Posted 10/16/2017   9:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cougar01 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Many letters that I receive do not have any cancels on the stamps...............but, my mail carrier must be personally obsessed with this since she insists on using a ballpoint pen to scribble across all of the uncanceled stamps making them useless to save / collect.
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Edited by Cougar01 - 10/16/2017 9:51 pm
Pillar Of The Community
United States
2024 Posts
Posted 10/17/2017   12:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Maybe your Marker Monkeys have flown south for the winter.

Same here, mostly uncancelled stamps on packages. Note that when I go to the P.O., a lot of packages are just dropped off or chucked in the back for x-ray and suchlike and are not usually cancelled by the clerk. After that I guess it's a case of "not my job" and finally whether your carrier has a pen or not.

The USPS bought or started buying new cancelling machines a couple years back. They're crappy, apparently temperamental and miss a lot. When they do cancel things, at least the cancel is usually readable vs. what we got before.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 10/17/2017 12:26 am
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Posted 10/17/2017   02:02 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add erilaz to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here's my experience (I get stuff from all over, mainly eBay purchases):
Regular-sized envelopes and postcards: mostly cancelled, though there are exceptions.
Odd-sized envelopes and parcels: often uncancelled, but I do see a fair number with cancels (and not just pen cancels).

And this isn't limited to stuff mailed in the U.S. Today I got a largish (23x16cm) envelope from Sweden, and the stamps weren't cancelled on it, either.
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Pillar Of The Community
Canada
4583 Posts
Posted 10/17/2017   10:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bujutsu to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I was beginning to think they had stopped too <G>

Without exaggerating, I would have to say that about 70-75% of the mail I receive from the US do not have the stamps cancelled. But, don't feel bad, it isn't only the USPS that is doing this because Canada Post, Royal Mail and other postal entities are doing this as well. Frustrating really because these are stamps left in limbo. If I receive Canadian stamps un-cancelled, I can go to the PO and get them cancelled. With stamps coming from outside Canada, I can't.

Chimo

Bujutsu
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Posted 10/17/2017   12:27 pm  Show Profile Check Stamps1962's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Stamps1962 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I live in the US Midwest. Without exception every item of mail I get from Canada arrives with ballpoint pen cancels. I have concluded it must be someone in USPS,perhaps at some center that receives inbound mail from Canada to the US. This has been going on for years. Sort of ludicrous, as if I could use those over down here.
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Edited by Stamps1962 - 10/17/2017 12:28 pm
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United States
1188 Posts
Posted 10/17/2017   7:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not sure why this is happening. I get a lot of mail which has been cancelled, but on the wrong side of the cover (the back) leaving the stamp still mint.

I know that the sorting machinery used by the USPS is designed to find the stamp, so the only possibility I can think of is that the envelope has some phosphor in it, causing the machinery to think the whole thing is a stamp.

In the case of larger items, such as Priority boxes, these should be hand cancelled when dropped off. I know all the APS circuits I mail from my local post office are hand cancelled immediately after the CVP strips are added, so this may be either inexperience or laziness on the part of the postal clerks.

Just spit-balling here, not knocking any postal clerks out there.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
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Posted 10/18/2017   08:27 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dkabq8 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have seen the same trend. So much so that I got a Mailer's Postmark Permit so that I can ensure that philatelic mail I send is cancelled and avoids pen-cancelling.
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Canada
4583 Posts
Posted 10/18/2017   3:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bujutsu to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Regarding pen cancels etc, |I too have had that done, on Canadian & foreign stamps. We have complained on different occasions at the PO and have stated to them that I am a stamp collector, but they still pen cancel my stamps. On at least 3 different occasions, we were given a special complaint form to sign & send to Canada Post, but, to no avail.

I realize that the job of the people behind the counter is to see that the stamps are cancelled so that they won't be re-used, but, I feel that the least they can do is to cancel them properly.

I strongly feel that CP doesn't really care.

My opinion of course.

Chimo

Bujutsu
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Valued Member
United States
237 Posts
Posted 10/19/2017   02:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Dry Tech to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have also received mail from U.S., Sweden and Great Britain that arrived with stamps uncancelled. Disappointing as an unused stamp without gum is unless to me.

Certainly USPS is not what it used to be. At a time that seems long ago now, letters or packages arriving without cancelled stamps were very rare. Then again the USPS was once the safest place for anything to be moving through, in fact safer to mail, say, stamps purchased when out of town to your home address than to carry it with you on the trip back. This even applied to cash or gems - believe it or not.
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Pillar Of The Community
Learn More...
United States
2855 Posts
Posted 10/19/2017   07:35 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I bet the revenue loss is not that significant of reused stamps so not that much effort to police. Most self-adhesives are hard to reuse anyway. Serious fraud likely comes from counterfeit or stolen stamps.
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Al
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Posted 10/22/2017   4:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
1. How do you convince your letter carrier not to scribble all over unconcealed stamps? I have no idea, but I suppose you could ask, tell them you collect stamps, and so on. Maybe they'll be nice to you and remember?

2. The use of ball point pens is because they're portable and quick to use. The Postal Service really ought to be able to issue everyone a better device, something like the old hand cancels of the 19th century, but portable, lightweight, and so on. And then insist that people use it. But good luck with that! Letter carriers often carry a portable "device" which accepts a customer's signature for certain packages which require one. Why, then, can't carriers (at least the ones in trucks) carry a small device which automatically cancels uncancelled stamps -- like getting your parking ticket stamped at the movies?

3. Why don't the cancelling machines do their job? Too much rushing to deliver the mail, I imagine, combined with machines that are just not very effective at cancelling.

4. Maybe what collectors should do if they want to save used stamps that never got cancelled as "used" stamps is to cancel them themselves. All it would take is a cancellation device with, let's say, some lines across it -- again like the hand cancels of the 19th century. Two cancelled lines, or a curved line, across the corner of a stamp? It's cancelled. Getting a rubber stamp cancel made like this shouldn't be difficult.
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Edited by DrewM - 10/22/2017 5:05 pm
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1003 Posts
Posted 10/26/2017   6:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Kudos to some diligent postal worker in Supply, North Carolina! I got a large mailer today and for the first time in many months, every stamp was cancelled. Maybe the smaller P.O.s have more time on their hands.

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United States
120 Posts
Posted 10/26/2017   8:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cook Islands Specialized1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have noticed that forever stamps that come in the mail are usually cancelled, but stamps that "look old" to USPS employees I feel that they don't want to "ruin" something of such historical value, whereas forever stamps are recent and they could care less.
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Pillar Of The Community
United Kingdom
1025 Posts
Posted 11/19/2017   08:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Outremer01 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Never fear - Royal Mail is here!

More to the point the "person(s)" with the biro or felt pen, who will
helpfully "cancel" any covers that slip through the USPS net:




From Houston, Texas to Bristol, UK.
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