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Has The USPS Stopped Cancelling Stamps?

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Valued Member
Bulgaria
51 Posts
Posted 11/19/2017   09:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add filkata to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just to add an example, all the covers I receive from Israel have uncancelled stamps as well.
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Valued Member
United States
16 Posts
Posted 11/21/2017   04:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add SeberHusky to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I buy stuff on eBay a lot. Occassionally people will use a sheet of stamps rather than a printing a PayPal label. Lately this year the packages I have gotten (either actual packages or bubble envelopes) have not been cancelled. This has been good for me as I am a new stamp collector and it's really cool to have some unmarked stamps.

I just got a sheet of eight 1971 8-cent USPS stamps that the sender attached to a letter he used for some vacuum screws I ordered. Only one of the stamps got hit by the auto-printer that prints the origin city stamp on letters and one was partially torn from mailing damage, but none were cancelled.

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Pillar Of The Community
Canada
701 Posts
Posted 07/01/2019   2:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dutchman1948 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is what Royal mail told me when I complained, and yes, it is a dear John reply:

Dear John

Thank you for your email.

Whilst the majority of our postage stamps are automatically cancelled by the collecting mail centre, occasionally some letters are missed. On occasions when this is noticed by mail centre staff, they will typically use a hand-stamp to cancel the stamp.

To minimise any delay, if an unstamped item has progressed further through our network, or is out on delivery, then we ask my colleagues to cancel the stamps using a pen.

I am sure you will understand that it is paramount for Royal Mail to prevent re-use and protect our revenue.

Whilst we understand that this may make some stamps unsuitable for philatelic purposes and deeply regret any disappointment we may have caused, the prime focus of the business must be on protecting our revenue.

I hope you have found this information useful and that this explanation resolves your enquiry and concludes this matter for you. If you need further help, please visit our Help and Support Centre on our website at www.royalmail.com/help.

Kind Regards

Alison Walker
Royal Mail

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Valued Member
375 Posts
Posted 07/01/2019   4:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Andyrich74 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Funny you noticed that; happens all the time. Just got this today in the mail.





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Valued Member
United States
124 Posts
Posted 01/09/2020   09:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wannahocalugie to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm going to revive this topic for a moment. I ordered some stamps and they came in regular letter sized envelope from Canada. There were six stamps (would post picture, but unable to at the moment) total equaling $1.27. Three .20, two .25 and one .17. Funny thing, this was mailed before Christmas on 20th and arrived after the New Year on the 8th. In all this time and holidays the automated bottom envelope cancel is the only cancellation for the entire envelope, which means only one of these stamps is actually cancelled. There are no pen cancels and between two countries during the holidays when I have noticed they love stamping wreaths and such, nothing! Lazy or no longer care is correct, but I'm thankful as the modern stamps are appealing with no marks on them:-)
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1506 Posts
Posted 01/09/2020   12:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Anything on the back of the envelope? When "vintage" stamps are used for postage, they may not have tagging. If there is no tagging, then automated facer-canceler equipment cannot orient the cover face-up and/or apply a cancel in the upper right corner because the position of the stamps cannot be electronically "found". The result often is a cancel on the reverse or no cancel. On small mail pieces with low-value postage there is no economic justification for human labor to apply a pen cancel.
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Valued Member
United States
124 Posts
Posted 01/09/2020   4:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wannahocalugie to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
No, envelope is completely clean with exception of the very bottom front I mentioned from automated cancel machine (very small). Truly just a plain white envelope. I should add, this traveled from Canada to Florida.
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Edited by wannahocalugie - 01/09/2020 4:12 pm
Valued Member
United States
30 Posts
Posted 01/09/2020   6:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Gierhead to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am a rural route mail carrier in KS. My co-workers/clerks don't hand cancel stamps that get through the machines uncancelled. Not a priority I guess. In their defense, they are very busy with all the Amazon we handle.
But never fear......I always have an ink pen handy. Any uncancelled stamps I see get a simple line across it or, if I'm feeling artistic at the time, a star or some other form of "artwork" done. Keeps me entertained at an otherwise repetitive job.
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Valued Member
United States
124 Posts
Posted 01/11/2020   2:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wannahocalugie to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is the picture of the front of the envelope and back. Front is only half as there is nothing but addressee and return address. Only the bottom machine cancelled. Cool for me


I'll just have an unblemished (for the most part) cover
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United States
1233 Posts
Posted 01/11/2020   8:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add JLLebbert to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Gierhead: There are other threads in this forum where collectors have complained about "marker monkeys" ruining stamps received on packages & envelopes. I gather that this is a worldwide problem these days. I think they are referring to the use of a sharpie rather than a pen though the latter would not be as egregious in my opinion. Have you ever considered getting an inkpad along with some sort of interesting rubber stamp and carrying it with you on the job? Of course, there probably aren't that many collectors in rural Kansas (and I'm sure your route is 50 miles or so west of me), so you probably don't have many (if any) collectors to irritate via pen cancels.
John
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Valued Member
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United States
478 Posts
Posted 01/12/2020   10:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jleb1979 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Here in Pennsylvania (US), outside Philadelphia, I too have seen mail from all over the US arriving without cancellations. This does not seem to happen much with holiday cards, but perhaps 60% of my philatelic shipments are missing cancellations. In another 20% of cases, the cancellation by machine has been so small it misses many of the stamps applied.

But here is one that arrived in my mail yesterday. This is a 6 in x 9 in envelope, so the cancel applied, which managed to reach onto the single stamp, is a whopping 2 in tall x 4 5/8 in wide. I do not know that I have seen a larger, although I am absolutely not a student of cancels. This will certainly get the job done!

I suppose we can now say, "What leaves Vegas - gets cancelled...."


Note - the image was edited to remove the sender's and my addresses.
The verso was clean..
-Jonathan
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Valued Member
United States
30 Posts
Posted 01/14/2020   7:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Gierhead to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
JLLebbert That sounds like a good idea! But then, my work space at my case is limited. An ink pad and rubber stamp would always be getting knocked around or onto the floor.
Yes. I am about 50 miles to your west. We've conversed before. You sent me quite a list of "varieties".
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Pillar Of The Community
1009 Posts
Posted 01/14/2020   11:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I really wish the USPS would provide their carriers a simple canceling device -- like a pen, but not a pen -- that does not require using an ink pad. Surely there must be a way to make a simple pen-sized device that can make a postal cancellation on unmarked stamps easily and quickly.

There are many small "stamps" that allow stamping shapes like stars, circles, hearts, and so on, onto paper. As I teacher, I bought a bunch once to stamp onto students' homework, but then changed my mind since these were older students and it would like a bit too elementary-schoolish, I thought.

Each was a simple little pre-inked device that would fit into a pocket with a cap on the bottom (like the cap on a pen) to keep from inking your pocket, it was simple to use. Take off the cap, stamp it on the paper, then put the cap back on. Five seconds tops. Or something else.

If carriers were issued small, simple devices to carry with them like pens in their pockets, they could do this quickly and easily -- and avoid the awful black markers and ink pens that ruin so many stamps. Not a major priority, I suppose, but since it's so simple to solve the problem, why not solve it?

If I had to use an ink pen, I'd cancel uncancelled stamps in black (maybe a black felt tip pen) using a circle with a part of the circle on the stamp and the rest of the circle on the envelope -- like a postmark. That would make it look more official, more postmark-like, and would ruin stamps less than an ink pen line or scribble does. No collector wants stamps with ink marks on them. I've even had beautiful souvenir sheets ruined with ink lines by postal delivery people. Doing their job, I know, but why not let them do their job better with less damage?
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Edited by DrewM - 01/14/2020 11:48 pm
Valued Member
United States
94 Posts
Posted 01/16/2020   11:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stampboylife to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have to agree, recent eBay packages I got from USPS had bunch of forever stamps that were never cancelled. On envelopes I see machine cancels. But on larger packages I dont see them cancel it.
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Valued Member
United States
134 Posts
Posted 01/16/2020   12:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add qaman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Guys I get what you mean but things change, remember when the first pictorials came out and the uproar (before my time). Right or wrong it is the new way for mail. Start a monkey marker album. younger collectors are Ok with this and many have started Monkey Marker albums to see what they get. It's kind of like the SON stamps newer collectors don't understand the fascination in them. Personally I would get some type of line stamp and stamp on envelope to tie the stamp to the cover.
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