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Extinction Of Non-Spray Cancels, Minneapolis Lacks The Year

 
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Posted 05/14/2020   9:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add bluejay2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
It has been approximately 15 years since spray-on cancellations became the norm in the United States. Perhaps the non-spray cancellation machines will soon be extinct, after a decades-long period of service.


As of 2019/2020, any thoughts as to how many of the non-spray machines remain in operation? Perhaps just some low-volume postal distribution facilities? For example, all mail that I have seen from Guam continues to have a non-spray cancel.

Minneapolis seems to have two non-spray machines in operation. By my calculations, less than 1% of Minneapolis mail is canceled by these older machines. All Minneapolis specimens that I have found for 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 lack the year within the cancelation circle. Perhaps Minneapolis wants to be Peter Pan's new "Never Never Land."

Furthermore, the machines' components are occasionally assembled wrong. For example, the date might appear upside-down. Perhaps the increase of cancellation errors is triggered by fewer USPS employees familiar with the older machines?

Perhaps in the future I will reply to this thread with my inventory of cancellations that lack the year, plus related oddities.

Disclaimers: I am neither a cancellation expert nor a postal machinery expert. I previously shared this information on a forum that has since disappeared. At that time, someone thought the non-spray cancellation machine was called a "Mark II."

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Posted 05/14/2020   10:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jleb1979 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is a postal service bulletin from back in 2007 about the gear which required getting a new year die sent out for the Mark II Facer Canceller, and noting that all AFCS (Advanced Face Cancellation System) had been upgraded to spray cancellation and did not need the year die any more.


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Posted 05/16/2020   2:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bluejay2 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you to "jleb1979" for the postal bulletin link. I appreciate knowing this additional detail of the explanation.

I have previously heard that the number/letter combination identifies the cancellation machine. On these Minneapolis year-free cancellations, I was accustomed to them always reading, "9B." Upon inventorying these covers, I realized that starting in 2019, the indicator alternates between 9B and 9C, but never in use simultaneously on the same dates.

The photograph in my original post above was from envelopes processed by USPS in October 2017. Below is a photograph of misassembled cancellations from 2018 and 2019.


It will be interesting to see which city eventually has the last remaining of these cancellation machines in active operation.
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Posted 08/04/2020   7:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bluejay2 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I remain curious as to which towns will be the last to utilize the old-style cancelation machines. Unless we learn how to predict the future, the answer might not be known for many years (or perhaps just a few months or days).

In the interim, I assume there are many such machines still in operation. So far this year, I have seen such cancellations from Guam, San Diego CA, Minneapolis MN, and Bemidji MN.

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Posted 08/05/2020   07:56 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add danstamps54 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Bluejay2

You might want to consider the Post Mark Collectors Club http://postmarks.org/

Examples of recent machine cancels occasionally pop up in our monthly bulletin. I'm not aware of anyone compiling an inventory but it would be an interesting exercise.

Dan


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Posted 08/05/2020   08:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Perhaps 15-20 years ago the Postal Service proactively removed and scrapped all canceling machines from the smaller offices as enforcement of their procedures requiring them to send all mail to central processing plants. Obviously there a few of the facer-canceler style remaining at these sectional centers (which may be an obsolete term now), which I sense are used very sparingly for overflow volume, or handling skips/nixie mail. In other words, not on run of the mill daily mail. Finding a current machine cancel from a truly small office would be truly unusual these days.

One of the characteristics of the true facer-canceler machine is the "lead" and "trail" dials differentiated by the pair of bars to the left of the trail dial. These are absent on all but one of the Minneapolis impressions above, which make me think this dial is being used in a single-head machine without facing ability (or only a small part of an original facer-canceler unit). The much-maligned Chamberlain machines of the 1990s were such machines, having a single canceling head, requiring mail to be manually-faced, and machined to accept the facer-canceler dials.
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Posted 08/05/2020   09:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Linus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Scanned below is one I received in my mailbox from Waterloo, Iowa (population 68,000) dated November 2019. I was surprised to see they were still using the old purple ink from long ago.

Linus


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Posted 08/05/2020   09:26 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bluejay2 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
John Becker, thank you for that great observation. I have never given attention to those marks. Assuming I am interpreting the description correctly, I annotated this graphic to bring attention to those marks.


That prompted me to reanalyze some of these covers. My quick analysis found a possible pattern: postmarks by Minneapolis' machine "9C" possess such marks. Meanwhile, the marks are absent on cancellations by machine "9B." Perhaps also noteworthy is that "9B" and "9C" seem to never be in use simultaneously. Sometimes their use is alternated every-other-day.


danstamps54, thank you for that reference to the Post Mark Collectors Club. Depending upon which web browser I utilize, I intermittently see a signature below your post. I appreciate it, as it reads, "Experienced stamps need a home too. I'd rather have an example that is imperfect than no example. I collect for enjoyment, not investment…"

jleb1979, a repeated thank you for the link to the 2007 postal service articled titled, "Supply Management: 2008 Year Type for Hand Stamp and Canceling Machines."

Linus, thank you for sharing the Waterloo IA cancellation. It also seems to possess the "lead" and "trail" marks referenced by John Becker.
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