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Interesting Illegal Stamp Made It Through...

 
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1185 Posts
Posted 01/04/2019   10:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Stampman2002 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Here's a neat cover I picked up recently. One of the more appreciated perks our Armed Forces enjoy in areas of conflict is the Free Frank privilege.

It's real simple.

Be stationed in an area which has been determined to be a combat or designated disaster zone.

Write "Free" where the stamp goes and have it postmarked by the appropriate APO/FPO.

No stamps are required.

So, what's up with this cover?



There have been attempts, in the past, during various conflicts to get stamps created for this type of use. Some of them have gotten their creators in hot water.

The first example I'm aware of is the U.S. Army Free Mail stamps which I believe originated around the time of the Spanish-American War or WWI period. Here's a couple examples of those:






These are the three colors used. They came perforated and imperforated. And some were used, as shown by the brown example with postmark.

Then there's the one which landed a couple of stamp dealers in hot water. Here's the stamp used on cover:




And here's the report of the conviction of the two stamp dealers who distributed them:




Back to the original cover from Haiti. Does anyone have any information about this or have any of you seen one before?
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Pillar Of The Community
2469 Posts
Posted 01/05/2019   12:00 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Your 1997 APO example has no front-side evidence of barcodes, or machine processing marks. It has the appearance of a local handback cover which never truly entered the mailstream, thus having zero chance of getting caught or seen. Still interesting.

On two tangents ... by coincidence, here is another free cover from Camp Bowie, with the word "free" written near the pasted-on mailman, which looks like it may have been cut from another patriotic cachet?


And a preprinted meter look-alike on a Vietnam-era cover!
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Edited by John Becker - 01/05/2019 12:12 am
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1185 Posts
Posted 01/05/2019   12:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Nice! I love that Vietnam era cover. Thanks for sharing that one, John.

Having been in the military around that time, the cancel is what you would expect from an APO/FPO facility. The use of barcoding was not something which occurred on military covers which originated outside the continental United States.

I could be wrong, but I don't believe barcoding of mail really took off until 1996 stateside. I can look through my cover collection and double check but I seem to remember late 1995/early 1996 as the point where barcoding became more prevalent, but not universal. I seem to remember that it took a couple of years for that to happen. I do know that APO/FPO covers were cancelled at the point they were presented and the military did not have the barcoding capability.
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Edited by Stampman2002 - 01/05/2019 12:24 am
Valued Member
United States
262 Posts
Posted 01/05/2019   12:28 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add craigk to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
community corner
The scouts are reaching out to all Simsbury residence and those in surrounding towns, do you have any information on the following soldiers from World War II?

Rev. H.K. Robinson submitted his resignation as pastor of Simsbury Methodist Church to become an Army Chaplain in March of 1944. Reports are that he died while a Chaplain during WWII. Would like to get more information about Rev. Robinson. He was pastor of the Methodist Church for seven years before leaving to become a Chaplain.

If anyone has information about any of the Fallen Soldiers mentioned or other soldiers killed in action with a Simsbury connection, please contact
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Edited by craigk - 01/05/2019 12:30 am
Pillar Of The Community
United States
6324 Posts
Posted 01/05/2019   12:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Army Frank "stamps" are just fantasies, never sanctioned by the army or the post office dept. Created by a Major Brewster C. Kenyon in 1898 according to Springer.
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Pillar Of The Community
2469 Posts
Posted 01/05/2019   01:10 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
stampman, to paraphrase my point above. Your 1997 cover has all the aspects of a handback cover - it is pristine with no additional marks, scuffs, creases, or wear that I can see - and thus none of the traits that a through-the-mails cover would tend to show. Is it sealed? If so, how is it opened?
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
892 Posts
Posted 01/05/2019   07:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DonSellos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Can someone cite the postal regulation that prohibits placing stamp-like labels on the front of a cover? Is such a regulation still in effect?

Also, did Adam K. Bert and the other stamp dealer actually serve time in prison?

Thanks.

Don
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1185 Posts
Posted 01/05/2019   08:21 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
John, the cover is sealed and was opened at left.
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