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Is Inverted Postage A Thing?

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
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Posted 12/02/2020   9:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add GregAlex to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Today, while sifting through covers on eBay, I noticed the term "inverted postage" on a number of lots. Basically, the stamp is affixed upside down. This is a common occurrence and I've never given it a second thought. But was there actually some significance to an upside down stamp on cover? Did it convey some coded meaning? I'm referring to covers from the Victorian era, which is mostly what I've been looking through.
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Posted 12/02/2020   10:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I always heard it meant "I Love You". Of course that may not be it any longer

Peter
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Posted 12/02/2020   10:13 pm  Show Profile Check orstampman's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add orstampman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Actually, yes, there was a social meaning assigned to the orientation of stamps on an envelope. I don't have the definitions at hand, but know that there were a number or orientations, many more than just upside down, such as left-leaning sideways, right-leaning side-ways, left-leaning, right-leaning, upside-down left-leaning, etc.

Some meanings such as "I miss you", "I want to see you again", "Yes", "No", etc.

I will see if I can find definitions, but likely someone else on this board will find before I do.

-dave
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Edited by orstampman - 12/02/2020 10:21 pm
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Ireland
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Posted 12/02/2020   10:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add FitzjamesHorse to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In the 1970s it was often used as a sign of disrespect in Britain. A Scottish friend still does it.
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Posted 12/02/2020   10:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Over the years, I have seen several Victorian era postcards which depict stamps placed at different angles and with short, one or two-word explanations under each one...primer style.
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Posted 12/02/2020   10:18 pm  Show Profile Check orstampman's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add orstampman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here's one example:


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Posted 12/04/2020   5:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
That chart is very interesting! Is that a British card? I wonder if the coded meanings differed by country. I would think that the post office would frown on having the stamp placed in different spots on the cover or postcard, at least by the 20th century.
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Edited by GregAlex - 12/04/2020 5:50 pm
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Posted 12/04/2020   6:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It seems like there was a thread here on these cards several years ago. If you assemble a few of these "language of stamps" cards, it becomes apparent there are several variants and one can easily send the wrong message unless using the same code. There are no universal definitions.

Or to have you relationship advanced or soured by leaving a few pennies in the box with your letter for the carrier to affix a stamp correctly - or not!

I agree with GregAlex, with the increased mechanization beginning in the late 1800s, the post office would certainly prefer the stamp be placed in the upper right - the standard position for canceling machines.
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Posted 12/04/2020   6:12 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
https://www.stampcommunity.org/topi...PIC_ID=20663

http://goscf.com/t/26362

The 'language of stamps' was popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century but was incredibly inconsistent. First appearing around 1890 in Europe, the practice saw a large number of schemes produced over the years. In my opinion the lack of any consistency ensured that it would never become widely accepted; the what the placement meant in one scheme was not the same as it meant in another…so it was a gamble that the receiver would get the correct meaning.

I've assembled a slew of these and compiled a history of the 'language of Stamps' with the intent of publishing an article on Stamp Smarter but have not yet gotten it done. I'll see if if I can get it published in the next few weeks.
Don
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Canada
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Posted 12/04/2020   10:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add No1philatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting item. Must be a code for lovers or couples? As Don mentions it would appear inconsistant by area, group or country.

In Canada, you often see the definitive of QEII stuck to the upper right corner upside down, and I know for sure it is just the opposite of "I am thinking of you." At least not in that way.
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Posted 12/04/2020   11:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well, here's one that's clearly tilted counter-clockwise, which either means "Come soon," "I long to see you" or "True to you". Maybe all of the above. Love the drawing on this one! It was sent to a man, but I can't really tell who the sender was.

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Edited by GregAlex - 12/05/2020 12:09 am
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Posted 12/05/2020   01:25 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Or it may mean nothing more than the sender was a bit sloppy applying the stamp. I would hesitate to read any more into it or pay a premium for that aspect. (The illustrated message is very nice though!)
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Posted 12/20/2020   12:57 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Okay, here are a couple covers (not mine) that seem pretty clearly to indicate some message by placement of the stamp. Any guesses?





Actually, the stamp on this last one doesn't seem truly tied to the cover, so I'm not sure.
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Posted 12/20/2020   1:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The 3 cent banknote stamp is used before the introduction of machine cancels - and thus before the push for stamp placement in a uniform position.

For a foreign tangent, Canada slogan 1923, quite late for the need to remind users:
Place stamp
in upper right
hand corner



At least Canada didn't say "upright"!! LOL
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Posted 12/20/2020   2:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I guess this begs the question -- how was the 1892 cover run through a machine canceller at 90 degrees?
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Posted 12/20/2020   3:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Rochester:
Missed the stamp the first time, turned and sent back through. Too short in that dimension to get a full cancel.
More frequently it would be defaced with a handstamp when the machine missed it the first time.
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