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Questions About Postage Due Stamps

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Valued Member
Italy
7 Posts
Posted 12/05/2021   10:56 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add PaoloG to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hello folks,
there's lots of info on the Internet about postage due stamp, but I've been looking left and right and can't find answers to these specific noob-level questions. So here we go!

1. This might seem obvious to some, but when postage due stamps were sold over the counter (for collectors), were they sold at "face value"? If not, how did that work?

2. Tricky question, this one. What would have happened if I applied postage due stamps to a cover, besides regular postage stamps, and post it?
Both in the case that the regular postage stamps which I applied were enough to cover the cost of franking, and in the case they were not.
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Pillar Of The Community
United Kingdom
6108 Posts
Posted 12/05/2021   11:04 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I suspect the answer to your first question varies from country to country. In GB, they were not, I think, originally available for general sale, but they have been for a number of years. As far as I know, an individual can't use postage dues on letters.

Conversely, some postage dues were also produced primarily for sale to stamp collectors - the attractive issues from former Portuguese colonies are an example of this.
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Edited by GeoffHa - 12/05/2021 11:05 am
Valued Member
United States
483 Posts
Posted 12/05/2021   1:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rdavid to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome, Paolo. This is a fine forum. with many well-versed members. I too favor short-lived countries. Have fun.
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United States
881 Posts
Posted 12/05/2021   1:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Both questions have answers which vary by country.

In general, the face value and it was a face value was collected when sold. When actually used as intended the difference was that the money was collected after mailing not before with payment of the amount collected shown by the dues.

They were not valid to prepay postage and if handed to a clerk they should not be accepted. If found in the mail stream, the item could be delivered with postage due collected or postage due collected but with credit given to the due stamps already affixed.
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90 Posts
Posted 12/05/2021   7:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Can someone answer #1 as far as USA goes. Were dues available over the counter at US post office? How much did they cost? I never really understood how unused dues were acquired in USA. Just looked it up in Scott and unused is valued higher than face. If you did purchase a due stamp from the post office, was it of any value postally or was it purely for collectors?


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Posted 12/05/2021   7:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In the U.S.:

Postal Bulletin number 20680, dated January 9, 1969 had the following announcement on page 1:


It says "to *again* make these stamps available", which implies an earlier period of availability, however I don't have the time this evening to chase it down.

The May 1, 1969, order form of the Philatelic Sales Unit included due stamps at face value. (I just found this edition of the Philatelic Sales list this afternoon in the back of an old album!)
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Edited by John Becker - 12/05/2021 7:40 pm
Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 12/06/2021   01:35 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Can someone answer #1 as far as USA goes. Were dues available over the counter at US post office? How much did they cost?


The issue is that this question even limited to just the USA covers a period of over 140 years. For example, after the Parcel Post System started in 1913 there were periodic reminders to the postal employees that the Parcel Post Due stamps were not to be sold over the counter to people while acknowledging that such occurs. The USPOD even acknowledged that collectors wanted to get the stamps but they were not to be sold over the counter.

Then when you look, you find regulations regarding how to handle mail which was posted with postage due stamps affixed. That alone shows, rules or not, PD stamps made it into the hands of the public uncancelled. Additionally for various reasons, even postmasters and clerks affixed PPD stamps to envelopes and sent them on their way knowing the envelope was to be delivered. PPD stamps were sent to all post office and never recalled. Offices with little or no demand for postage due stamps were stuck with them. Thus the PPD stamps were used to mail post cards, letters and even to pay for registration on letters. That covers the 1, 2, 5 and 10 cents PPDs being used as such and surviving in collector's hands. I do not recall seeing a 25 cent PPD used in that manner during the last almost 40 years. Neither did Gobie nor Doolittle discuss nor see such an item.

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Valued Member
Italy
7 Posts
Posted 12/06/2021   03:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PaoloG to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks to all for the replies and to rdavid for the kind welcome!

So, as far as I understand, postage due stamps did not always use to be sold over-the-counter to the public, but rather it depended on the postal administrations of the single Countries, is that correct?



Quote:
Then when you look, you find regulations regarding how to handle mail which was posted with postage due stamps affixed. That alone shows, rules or not, PD stamps made it into the hands of the public uncancelled. Additionally for various reasons, even postmasters and clerks affixed PPD stamps to envelopes and sent them on their way knowing the envelope was to be delivered. PPD stamps were sent to all post office and never recalled. Offices with little or no demand for postage due stamps were stuck with them. Thus the PPD stamps were used to mail post cards, letters and even to pay for registration on letters.


This is very interesting and sounds very new to me! So to summarize, while postage due stamps were not theoretically valid for postage in the US, in practice they were indeed used as such. Is this what you mean?

Also, what are the highlighted regulations?
Was it that "the item could be delivered with postage due collected but with credit given to the due stamps already affixed", as mentioned in your earlier post?
Were these UPU regulations or USPS ones?
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Posted 12/06/2021   08:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Be careful about getting caught up in the exceptions. The vast majority of postage due stamps were properly applied by postal authorities for legitimate due uses to be collected on delivery or return.

Due stamps mistakenly used to attempt original payment of postage/fees are very uncommon. Because it occasionally happened, a procedure is mentioned in the regulations for dealing with it.
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Edited by John Becker - 12/06/2021 09:07 am
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Posted 12/06/2021   09:53 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The other thing to bear in mind is that postage dues weren't necessarily used for the obvious purpose - i.e. to recover underpayments. You'll often find larger denominations and multiples thereof used to charge businesses for money owed to the post office - the "to pay" function.
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United States
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Posted 12/06/2021   4:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
You'll often find larger denominations and multiples thereof used to charge businesses for money owed to the post office


In the USA this is called business reply mail where the business promised to pay the postage on items mailed to them when a reply permit was printed on the envelope. Depending on the number of replies, postage due collected could be a few cents to hundreds of dollars at one time.

As John Becker notes the improper use of postage due stamps was a rare occurrence but as such are quite collectible. In the US, the most expensive of such collectible misuse are the examples of the Parcel Post Due stamps since finding any of them on cover begins with a catalog value of three figures with a dash "-" rather than a price for the 25 cent value. At the time the price became a dash, the list price was $750.





Forgot 10 cents:



Examples of PPD with the first being a due used to mail a birthday post card:


Card sent without postage and postage due collected upon delivery:
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Edited by Parcelpostguy - 12/06/2021 4:58 pm
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United States
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Posted 12/06/2021   6:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Also, what are the highlighted regulations?


Mention of postage due can be found for example on Page 49, paragraph 67 of the July 1915 US Post Office Guide which then references the 1913 Postal Laws and Regulation, as amended, Section 599.

The 1915 USPOD Postal Guide can be found in the Stampsmarter.com library and the 1913 PL&R at http://www.uspostalbulletins.com/

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Pillar Of The Community
Australia
750 Posts
Posted 12/20/2021   06:06 am  Show Profile Check 64idgaf's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 64idgaf to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In Australia, postage due stamps were first issued in July, 1902. It was not until May 1904 that mint stamps could be legitimately sold by the Post Office. Applications had to made to the Deputy Post Master in each state. This remained the case until 1953 when the Philatelic Bureaux were established.

There are mint examples of stamps issued prior to May 1904 so dealers and collectors found their way around the regulations.

Postage due stamps were disregarded as a legitimate method to prepay postage and would be disregarded if this was done. Examples are scarce and collectible.

There were no universal rules, each postal administration made their own rules.
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Australia
750 Posts
Posted 12/20/2021   06:14 am  Show Profile Check 64idgaf's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 64idgaf to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The US parcel postage due stamps were issued in early 1913 and intended only for postal deficiencies on parcels. There was some disquiet around this process and from July, 1913, parcel postage due stamps could be used as though they were regular postage due stamps. I have seen usage as late as 1930.

Postal items in the first half of 1913 are very collectible.

Here is one of the few examples I have (all after mid 1913).


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Posted 12/20/2021   08:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
64idgaf,
Some corrections on your write-up....
Town name is SummerSville, with an internal S in the first line of the analysis.
The portrait is George Washington, rather than Franklin.
These cancels were not applied by a machine, but rather applied by hand with a device known here as a 4-bar handstamp, so-called after the 4 bars of the killer, made of rubber.
A very small office with no delivery services. Note the lack of a street address. The recipient had to pick her own mail at the post office. It appears she went there that day and had to pay 2 cents to get her overweight letter.
There free forwarding/returning on first class mail in the U.S. at this time, so the due amount would be (with a high degree of certainty) from this being an overweight letter.
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United States
881 Posts
Posted 12/20/2021   1:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
with John Baker.


Quote:
Here is one of the few examples I have


I see your nice example as a over one ounce and under two ounce first class letter. Likely the sender was aware of the more than one ounce weight. Without the return address, the item could not be returned for additional postage (to who?). As being received and delivered by the same office there was no need for a "Held for Postage" notice.

All Post Offices received parcel post and parcel post due stamps. There was no recall of the parcel post due stamps, thus post offices used them as they had due mail. I am aware of very small offices using the PPD into the 1930s in the correct postage due manner as well.

[64idgaf I have sent you an email via the SCF service.]


Quote:
There was some disquiet around this process and from July, 1913, parcel postage due stamps could be used as though they were regular postage due stamps


The stamps, PP and PPD were issued and restricted to Parcel Post Service for the sole reason that the USPOD wished to track the revenue generated by the service and compare it to the costs of the service. It did not take long, just a couple of months, to determine the new service was not only cost effective but quite profitable. A second set of Parcel Post stamps (**) was stopped mid-development and in June 1913 the stamp use restriction was lifted with regular postage stamps now acceptable for parcel post matter and the 17 parcel post issues acceptable for all uses in the manner of regular postage and postage due stamps.

** Postal clerks complained that the postage stamps were all the same color which made rapid denomination identification difficult. That was first addressed by add the spelled out denomination on both top or bottom and side of selvage of each pane.

The second complaint was that all 17 issues were issued in panes of 45 and thus harder to quickly calculate as compared to 50 or 100 image panes.

Both concerns were being address by a second set of parcel post stamps which were created only up to the 20 cent value (these only exist as essay die proofs, one of each value). They featured the denomination large in the center of the stamp with each value to be a different color. When it was determined PP Service was profitable, the issue was cancelled. These designs were slightly reworked later to be used for documentary stamps. The series beginning with Scott R228 can be found on parcel post matter from November 2, 1917 through December 31, 1921 paying the WWI parcel tax on parcel post matter. The actual documentary design comes in many flavors with overprints and such.

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Edited by Parcelpostguy - 12/20/2021 5:13 pm
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