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Memories From Your Collecting Years Tell US A Story

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1492 Posts
Posted 09/02/2022   5:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In 1997 at Pacific '97, which ran from May 29 through June 8th, 1997, I was walking with my mother and father who came with me that day to see the show. I went most days. It was early in the run, but I don't remember the day.

We had entered and were getting our bearings on the floor when the owner of Kirk's Stamps came rapidly walking in our direction looked over, saw me and exclaimed, "There you are!" I had given up and was walking this cover over to the McCusker (FDC) booth to sell or consign it for auction if I did not see you he explained, adding that someone offered it for sale at his booth. He snapped it up but never had paid that much for a single cover and wanted to get his money turned. He showed me but I insisted he show my parents too explaining dad was a life long collector and Mom collected Finland. He gave a one time price offer and I said we'd meet him back at his booth shortly. Kirk turned around, we three talked, dad went off, and mom went with me to the booth. Along the way she asked if the item was really special and did I really like it. Yes and Yes, and I was going to purchase it somehow. My mother reminded me my birthday was a couple of months away and if she purchased it for my birthday, I should not expect anything else. Okay.

When we got to Kirk's booth, he started to speak to me but I gently redirected him to my mother and said he would need to deal with her. Confused, he did, she paid, he handed the cover in a bag to her and she turned to me and said, much to Kirk's surprise, "Happy Birthday!" I thanked her and him and added, we need to go to the Jay Smith (& Associates) booth to look at Finland for her now. She passed in 2002, but made the show for me philatelically as well as a life long memory.

I have only shown a few close collector friends and two parcel post collectors the item, so no photo here, at least until I publish an article about it. The seller was not a known collector, nor even known if a collector, which is consistent with the item not previously appearing in literature. However, it was one of the best birthday presents ever I received from my mother (I did get something on my birthday, but 'only' from dad). I was a bit over 40 years old at the time. It is the unique block of four as well as largest and only known multiple on a July 1, 1913, the First Day of First Class validity of the US three cent parcel post stamp, Scott #Q-3. Only one single stamp of the three cent, is known on a 7-1-13 cover and was a philatelic creation. My example is a commercial registered letter usage with added Washington-Franklin to pay for the additional weight over one ounce. There are no 1-1-1913 First Days of the stamp as it wasn't released until months later.

Now for balance, a quick Dad story:

I showed up at the window of a clerk at the Berkeley (CA) Parcel Post Annex. I asked to buy a plate block of the then current $5 Americana Stamp and a couple of singles.

The clerk told me she didn't have any.

I replied, "yes you do."

"How do you think you know?"

"Dad told me."

"You dad is wrong."

"I don't think so."

"Who is your dad?"

"The postmaster here."


"He also said to tell you he would help you getting the balance of the broken sheet out on outgoing packages." That changed her look of despair to a smile. This was when the meters maxed at $9.99 at the station and a casting company would periodically bring in hand-trucks of parcels for International Air Parcel Post late in the day, but before the mailing deadline, with postage costs of $100+/- for each package. It was an all hands on deck time.

The plate block and singles were well centered too.

Dad also told me when to go in as he wanted to be out on lunch to see how the clerk handled it when he wasn't around.

Next time there was no problem. She saw me, smiled and said, I guess he told you he just sold another sheet to my stock....
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1492 Posts
Posted 09/02/2022   6:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Okay, just one more involving me giving, not getting.

Years later I was at the counter of Berkeley's Station A, the new current one, not the old one I was escorted out of as a child when I was standing exactly where my daddy said to stand and some carrier did not think I was telling the truth when asked what I was doing there (waiting for my dad).

I had just finished doing the needed processes with the clerk for the special delivery mail I had brought. The clerk ask if there was anything else. I replied, yes, can you tell me how soon or at what time these will be delivered? The clerk looked at me like I sprouted horns and a third eye but nicely explained he could not tell me that as he did not know. I laughed as said, I guess you did not read the address. He looked at the address, smiled and said right now! I told him thanks and I am leaving now.

Dad brought home the last day of service special delivery envelope that evening. I told him I needed the envelope back to frame it. It was was framed with a parcel post set, showing postal people at work, postal transportation methods and items sent by parcel post. It hung on his dining room wall for more than 30 years on the wall by the head of the table. Besides the needed postage to make the rate, the envelope had the most current stamp on the day he started, the most current stamp that last day and a full strip of the postal people, each of the stamps showing an activity. During his 37 (38 with WWII military service) year career he performed many of the actions shown on both sets of stamp.
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