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Questions About Favor Cancels

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Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 07/10/2020   09:18 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add blcjr to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Is there an agreed-upon or standard definition of a "favor cancel?" I have seen the term used more or less synonymously with CTOs, and used in contrast to CTOs. I am particularly interested in its use to refer to covers that have received backdated cancellations. While contrary to postal regulations, lots of philatelic covers have received such "favor cancels."

I would also like to see a discussion of when such backdated "favor cancels" cross over the line into fakes or forgeries, and whether there is more appropriate terminology to refer to such cases. To be clear about what I am asking here, it is one thing (to me) for a postal clerk to apply a backdated cancel that may only be backdated by a few days or weeks, and one that is backdated by months or years. I can see calling the first a "favor cancel," but the latter in my view has crossed over the line into clear intent to create something fraudulent. Would such a cover be considered a fake or a forgery? Most definitions of "fake" or "forgery" seem to be focused on stamps rather than covers. For certain, postmarks can be faked or forged, but what do you call a postmark that uses a genuine handstamp, applied by a postal clerk, but backdated several years (implying clear intent to deceive)?

I can provide more concrete examples to illustrate my questions, but I'll await some initial response before deciding how best to do that.


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United States
5 Posts
Posted 07/10/2020   11:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MSU92 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi, I'm new to this whole site but I just now posted something that might be an example of a "favor cancel". I hope it's real but I don't know for sure. Just thought I would share.... don't know how to paste my post in here but it's my Farley Cover topic....
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United States
366 Posts
Posted 07/11/2020   10:14 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Morning all,

To me for what it is worth a "Favor Cancel" is one applied to a cover at the request of the sender that is not the usual cancel the cover would receive if it was just mailed in the routine course of business at the mailing post office headed to the addressee destination. In fact many favor cancels are on covers without an addressee. These items are considered "hand backs" and never see postal service transportation other than back and fourth over the counter between the sender and a postal employee applying the cancel.

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United States
558 Posts
Posted 07/11/2020   1:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add eligies to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Okay, my 'favor cover' story. The last time the US Open was played at the Brookline County Club there was a special cancel for the four day event. Industrially I prepared several covers of golf themed covers to be cancelled for each daily round. I sent them to the Brookline Branch, Boston Post Office for the cancellations. They were returned to me in perfect condition, protected in a USPS provided courtesy envelope. As would my luck run the Open Match ended in a tie. There was no provision for a 5th round play-off cancellation (I thought). Working for the USPS as Facilities Engineer, I was scheduled to perform a maintenance inspection of the Brookline Facility. I knew the Branch Manager well, & when calling to schedule the inspection I asked if there was a special 'play-off' cancellation available and he advised in the affirmative. I again industrially prepared several covers & brought them with me to the inspection. After my exit review with the Branch Manager, I asked if he could have my covers cancelled with the 'play-off' cancellation. This was a couple of weeks after the event. My favor covers for the US Open were complete. (I believe the defending Open Champion won the play-off)
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Posted 08/01/2020   2:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add AnimatedFDCs to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Really a challenging question that depends on your point of view (kind of). I don't typically use the term favor cancel. Although I would be inclined to use favor cancel in combination with "hand-back". In other words the cancel is applied and the envelope immediately being returned to the requestor with the envelope never having gone through the mails. I suspect the great story told by eligies was a situation just like this.
Remember from a PL & R (Postal Laws & Regulations) perspective a date cancel is important because it demonstrates when a letter was handed to the post office for delivery.
So philatelically inspired favor cancelled covers which are hardbacks are one thing.

But you also asked about "fakes" or "forgery" cancels and for myself this is a completely different thing. Those terms both imply an intent to deceive and in that case something could be backdated, forward dated, or even dated same day. If the intent of the creator was to deceive either the collecting community by making a common cover appear rare, or the addressee by suggesting a letter was mailed earlier than it really was. As an example someone could fake the date stamp on their tax return in the hopes that the IRS would think it was mailed by the deadline. Or someone could fake a cancel to make it look like a common usage of the 1893 Columbian 1c was a first day cover.

So favor or hardback cancels, I think a collector should collect whatever they like. (If exhibiting there are some guidelines to follow of course.). Fakes or forgery are a bit different, although there are folks who knowingly collect fakes and forgeries as long as they are properly identified.
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United States
2501 Posts
Posted 08/01/2020   2:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add littleriverphil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

. don't know how to paste my post in here but it's my Farley Cover topic....

Clicking this icon gives you a link.

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