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What Kind Of Rpo Cancel Is This???

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Valued Member
Germany
58 Posts
Posted 07/15/2020   6:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add grisuhh62 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi,
I found a cover that looks not very interesting. But on the back there is a RPO postmark I never saw before. I have the information that in the "United States Railway Post Office Postmark Catalog 1864 to 1977 Vol 1-3" it cannot be found.
There is on the buttom a Name. Is this possibly a (private) postmark from a Clerk or a station agent?? I do not have any literature about this.
Can anybody help me??
Regards
Juergen
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Australia
33652 Posts
Posted 07/15/2020   6:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Juergen,
just a FYI
I checked an executive order, for persons about to retire in 1932
NY and Pitts RPO )New York and Pittsburg)
A W Zuck was not mentioned
(around 20 other employees)
May save you a search.

Does the "Tr 39" have significance? "Trainee" for example (pun not intended)

He may be cited in a later print?
example
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Edited by rod222 - 07/15/2020 6:45 pm
Pillar Of The Community
United States
503 Posts
Posted 07/15/2020   7:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
grisuhh62

This is a style of RPO mark used by a clerk to show they handled the registered package envelope containing registered mail. It was used as evidence documenting the "chain of custody" trail requirement for registered mail. Was your cover registered?
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Posted 07/15/2020   8:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Short answer:
It is a "rubber road stamp", to quote postal terminology, see below.

Long answer:
The literature is not very helpful, but there are some short references. Specifically, the following Railway Mail publication:



Which mentions the "rubber road stamp" in the 4th scan as part of the description of the facing slip, which require the name of the clerk:






Facing slips showing round and straight-line versions of the rubber road stamp:



Also used by railway mail clerks on forms:


Also, the 1940 Postal Laws & Regulations volume noting backstamping requirements on registered and special delivery mail:



The examples I have handy are on "Special Delivery - Airmail" covers
Example 1, front and back:



Example 2, front and back:



Thus I would guess that the original poster's cover is also a "Special Delivery - Airmail" cover. It would be interesting to see full scans of the front and back.

I do not see any references on how to order one or whether the USPOD or the clerk paid for it.

The "Tr 39" is the Trip number.

Add: 2 straight line versions with the clerk name on a registry jacket from 1909:

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Edited by John Becker - 07/15/2020 8:16 pm
Valued Member
Germany
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Posted 07/16/2020   05:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add grisuhh62 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank You all for these very detailed informations.
Yes, it is an Air Mail and Special Delivery cover. I uploaded the front and the back of the cover.
These images are from the offer on eBay where I bought it. It will last until I have it.





Exists any publication about such postmarks from RPO clerks?? I fear it does not. Because I think it would be too extensive.
Regards
Juergen
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Posted 07/16/2020   07:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, great response from John.
Juergen,
I went in via the back door,
you can get 1000's of names of US postal works, and their duties
via the "Executive order" freely available on the internet.

These are the people about to officially retire I am guessing.
That's the best I can do,
I dare say, someone somewhere may have collected and listed those RPO impressions.
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Edited by rod222 - 07/16/2020 07:26 am
Valued Member
Germany
58 Posts
Posted 07/19/2020   05:23 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add grisuhh62 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi,
sorry for being late.
Many thanks for all these informations. Today I have not decided to collect such RPO's or other. The only ones I collect are the RPO Cancels of the Canal Zone.
I do not know what is in the future.
Best wishes
Juergen
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Valued Member
Germany
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Posted 10/29/2020   7:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add grisuhh62 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi, it's me again.

I found this on the page of the "TPO & Seapost Society - USARPO".

"A steel postmarker assigned to the Clerk-in-Charge was ordinarily the one used to postmark mail within a RPO. However, Railway Postal Clerks (RPCs) were required to have a "personal postmark" device. Usually a rubber stamp, it showed their name, work assignment location, train/trip/tour (abbreviated "TR") number, and date. Imprints were made upon facing slips, pouch/sack labels, and official correspondence.

On occasion, these markings may also appear on the rear of special delivery or registered mail envelopes, indicating that the clerk performed distribution of that mail piece. Rubber stamps after the mid 1950s were provided by the Post Office Department by requisition. Prior to that era clerks procured or made their own personal postmarkers, but at their own expense. Those often continued in use for as long as the clerk worked on that route."

Have anyone an idea where I find more information about these "personal postmarks"?? On the page, for example, of the "Mobile Post Office Society" I found nothing, also at the publications.

These quote of "1940 Postal Laws & Regulations volume" by John Becker did not say anything about "personal postmarks".

Can it be true that there is no publication about these postmarks? I cannot believe it.

I will be very grateful for any hint in any way

Regards

Juergen
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Posted 10/29/2020   7:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would interpret "rubber road stamp" in the PL&R scans above to equate to "personal postmarks".

There are many postmark types/styles for which comprehensive published listings do not exist, particularly among specialty and auxiliary markings. Research, cataloging and publishing are ongoing tasks for all facets of the hobby. Identify an unpublished area and write about it!
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Valued Member
Germany
58 Posts
Posted 10/30/2020   3:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add grisuhh62 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@John Becker
I guess I am on the way!! When I saw the results of my researches to this topic, it seems to me that there is nothing publication be made until today. It is very difficult to get more information as written in this threat.
So I will keep looking for information and will buy the one or the other cover with one of these postmarks. And, perhaps, some times it will be a "publication". We will see.
Thanks for Your hint!!
Juergen
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Germany
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Posted 08/19/2021   08:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add grisuhh62 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello,
i have been trying to get information. What is clear is that such stamps existed and were used. But I found this:



Point 3 clearly states that private stamps, like the ones we are talking about here, are not allowed. So a violation of the regulations.
I have it from this document:



Otherwise, I have not been able to find anything else about these private stamps so far.
What are Your comments to this?

Juergen
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Posted 08/19/2021   10:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I believe you are taking a small portion of the regulations out of context. These RPO clerk marks are not "postmarks" in the regulatory sense of being the primary postmark/obliterator to date and cancel the stamp. Your quote on 10/29/2020 from the TPO & Seapost Society summarizes their use very well.
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United States
2673 Posts
Posted 08/19/2021   11:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add littleriverphil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I asked the VP of the Mobile Post Office Society, Rick Kunz what the straight line clerk handstamps where called, he said "clerk daters". Bought this one from him (among others ), the other came from eBay.



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Valued Member
Germany
58 Posts
Posted 08/20/2021   11:34 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add grisuhh62 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@John Becker
the text of the TPO & Sea Post Society describes the postmarks in detail, I agree. But they cannot give me a source for this claim when I ask. And I would like to read it in the regulations of the RMS itself that this statement is true. But so far I do not find this.
It is indisputable that these stamps existed and were used in the sense described. I have been able to acquire a few myself, but only from the 1930s.
That these stamps were paid for by the RMS from the 1950s(?) onwards must be due to a decree/law. And I find nothing about it.
I hope someone in this forum can name me where I found this exactly describing statement in the regulations.

@littleriverphil
thanks, I will looking for "clerk dater" at http://www.uspostalbulletins.com/searchpdf.aspx and I will see whether I will find something. Maybe that will get me ahead. (sorry - DeepL).
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Edited by grisuhh62 - 08/20/2021 11:36 am
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Posted 08/20/2021   1:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I suspect the TPO statement describing these devices would be summary based on years of collecting experience, rather that quoting a particular government publication. Agreed, if these devices were "required", there should be some official reference and how they are obtained, etc. I would like to see documentation also.

These personal devices are NOT postmarks, so they do not fall under the section 720(3) you cite from the 1932 PL&R. They are not intended to cancel stamps, although it occasionally happened.

Railway mail clerks were required to create a lot of paperwork to document their work. Purchasing their own rubber stamp containing their name, route and date would be a convenience to them. The earliest ones I have handy are from 1894, used on a registry jacket:



And one from 1901:



Registered mail being the most controlled and monitored, the use of these personal devices as a way of efficiently completing the paperwork trail was clearly allowed instead of writing the information repeatedly by hand.

Beyond the scant information in the Postal Laws & Regulations and the Postal Bulletin, I would suggest looking into the various publications of the Railway Mail Service. Here is the top panel of one from 1932 similar to the Postal Bulletin:



I am unaware of any runs of RMS publications being digitized yet.
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Valued Member
Germany
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Posted 08/20/2021   2:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add grisuhh62 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Could it be that these stamps and their use contradicted the regulations but were tolerated? Then I will probably not be able to find anything in the regulations.
But according to the TPO & Seapost Society, these stamps were paid for by the RMS at some point - it should have been from the 1950s, if I remember correctly. But that would have to be found then. But I have so far only found an online archive of postal ordinances, which only goes up to 1940.
Are there perhaps stories/reports from railroad postal employees about this.

@ John Becker
but they were also used on Registered and Special Delivery Mail on the reverse where the official RPO postmark should be used.

What I am looking for is "proof" of the claim on this website. First of all one can assert everything about something which is existent, how it came that it "exists". But to make such assertions public without being able to name a source, contradicts at least in Europe and also in Germany valid right, as it is absolutely duty when taking over e.g. an article of a magazine.
This is my opinion.
If I write an article, sometime, for the magazine of my club and quote this, that is not a "reputable" source to refer to, I think.

Of course they existed and you can see what they were used for. But they were private stamps, which actually contradict 760(3) after all.
As I said, I think it is likely that they were tolerated precisely because it meant facilitating the work in the RPO. As you, John Becker, also write.
Wait and see - I may never find out for sure as I would like to.
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