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US Postal Regulations For Postmark Ink Colors

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Posted 11/29/2022   05:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
hy-brasil, I was unaware of the show background for the Lindberg covers. That's useful information. Thanks.

As for your example of a Greenhurst flag cover, I digitally compared the cancel with your cover and mine:


Is this consistent with your surmise of an integrated duplex canceller?

Here's a curious Greenhurst cover:


Edit: I concur with John's assessment.

If this is a legitimate cancel from the Greenhurst PO, it is most likely a backdated favor cancel. That's the VE date for GB. I doubt that the stamp for the "VE" was in existence on May 7, though it wouldn't have been hard to create. It is odd that the postmark (CDS) was applied with a different color than the flag "VE".

Basil
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Edited by blcjr - 11/29/2022 10:11 am
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Posted 11/29/2022   09:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Morning all,

The USPO had many issues with the quality of ink when it "arrived" at the local post office due to freezing or otherwise being contaminated in shipping. The earliest references I have seen require postmasters to us a good quality of black ink. If you read through the Postmasters' Assistant publication available on line in the 1860's you will find many notes about poor quality ink being received by postmasters, etc.

Also look at discussions on the use of, and prohibition of use of. the early rubber faced postmarking and canceling devices marketed to postmasters by various vendors. It is not common but unusual green ink examples can be found in the 1870's into the 1890's.

Doing a fuller analysis of the ink issue is on my "future to do list when and if I fine the time" list. Hopefully, we can keep this discussion going and uncover more facts.
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Posted 11/29/2022   10:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I vaguely remember red date stamp cancellations when I was mailing from APO's in Iraq and Afghanistan. I will try and dig some up.
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Posted 12/01/2022   04:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Is this consistent with your surmise of an integrated duplex canceller?

Yes it is, otherwise how else could the flag vs. CDs alignment be maintained? The difference is less than a millimeter in real life and could be accountable by being struck by a rubber-faced device (or similar); a metal face canceller wouldn't show that difference over such a short time. There is minor distortion of other parts of the flag, too. This might depend on your definition of "integral". If the design was in two pieces glued to to wooden handle, that's integral to me.


Quote:
That's the VE date for GB.
.
It's the date of surrender by Gen. Jodl at Eisenhower's headquarters in Reims that included signing a surrender document separately with Great Britain, France, Russia and the US. Works for me, though the deadline to ending hostilites was 2301 hours Reims time on May 8. In any case, fighting continued for some time after.
https://www.archives.gov/milestone-...r-of-germany
VE Day was and is not a regular holiday in Great Britain. In 1995 and 2020, the month's bank holiday was moved to May 8 for VE Day, not May 7.


Quote:
I doubt that the stamp for the "VE" was in existence on May 7, though it wouldn't have been hard to create.

I don't know how you could assume that the "VE" is posthumous. The Allies were in Germany in March 1945, plenty of time for people to prepare cancels and covers. This is not the only place that made covers with VE killers. "VE" was a term already being used in US newspapers, etc. in 1944 and did not spring up on the day.

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Posted 12/01/2022   3:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
hy-brasil

I suppose the difference in our covers could be explained using a rubber device. What about this one?


I surmised that two different devices might be involved from the variation in Greenhurst VE day cancels:


More evidence of that:


As for May 7, I don't recall where I got the idea that this was the day VE is celebrated in Europe. I must have read about the May 7 surrender at Reims, and just assumed that was the day it came to be celebrated on in Europe.

You are right of course that victory was anticipated well in advance of the date of surrender. I have a press clipping in my exhibit of Victory, VT WWII covers in which the postmistress said that she had received 2500 covers to hold for cancellation when victory in Europe was declared, and at the time of VE, she had 500 covers she was holding for cancellation whenever victory was declared over Japan. It wasn't long after D-Day that the Allies were so convinced that victory was just a matter of time that Generals Marshall and Arnold went on a camping trip together on horseback into the Sierras. Despite all this, I know from my work with the Victory, VT covers that backdating favor cancels occurred regularly. I cannot say for certain that was taking place in Greenhurst. I was just opining.

Basil
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Posted 12/01/2022   4:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It is now very clear the Greenhurst 4-bar handstamp had the bars masked-off and the various flag/VE/VJ killers were applied with a separate impression from a second device. This is not a surprising process as a postmaster or clerk would not permanently alter a government-issued device just to please collectors. Imagine trying to explain to a postal inspector why the bars were removed!
Regardless, the regulations still stated that USPOD-issued black ink should have been used.
Nor do I believe any of these would have been backdated as the clerk/postmaster would have risked their job to do it. If you were a clerk/postmaster, would you risk your job for a mere collector?
Here are two other masked-off 4-bars, the first from a non-leap year!


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Edited by John Becker - 12/01/2022 4:12 pm
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Posted 12/01/2022   8:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
John,

There is a well-documented history of backdating of US Naval ship covers. And there is little doubt that numerous instances of the ubiquitious WW II Victory, VT, covers were backdated. You may recall our brief correspondence back in early 2020 when I was embroiled in raucous dialog with Ken Lawrence over the Victory, VT, covers. He wanted to attribute all the suspicious covers to forgeries created with faking postmarks via electrotyping. While in the end I conceded that that was the likely provenance of a few of them, I demonstrated that most of them could be explained by backdating. A majority of the Victory, VT, D-Day covers are backdated, but a few have a high probability of being legitimately postmarked on June 6. Most VJ and VE day covers are legimate, but examples of both that are either backdated or electrotype forgeries abound. I exhibited my findings at GASS 2022 in Chicago last year. The exhibit received a large vermeil (1 point shy of gold), but more rewarding for me was that it received an APS Research Medal for my work on the Victory, VT, postmarks. The exhibit is online at Stampsmarter, here:

https://stampsmarter.org/learning/album_VT.html

You can jump to this link to see my analysis of the D-Day covers, if you are interested:

https://stampsmarter.org/learning/a...ml#gallery-7

But for a quick illustration, the following image cuts to the chase:


By my reckoning, the "Type A" postmark is legitimate, and the "Type B" postmark is a backdated postmark created sometime after June 1944. My reconstruction of things is that in the days and weeks following June 6, the postmistriss received requests for June 6 cancels. Eventually, in a following month, say August, she decides to create the "favor cancels." She takes out the month and date slugs in current use, and grabs "JUN" and "6" slugs from a different year to create the cancels. I found multiple instances where this is a logical explanation for cancels for the same date which are significantly different (most notably VJ day cancels).

When I prepared my exhibit I had examples of the "Type B" backdated covers associated with William Linto and Dorothy Knapp. I corresponded with Doug Weisz about Knapp's practices and he was adamant that Knapp would not have knowingly created a cachet for a backdated cover. But she was regularly presented with covers blank except for a postmark received from others with requests for cachets. Doug recently put a Knapp Victory, VT, D-Day up for bid on eBay that I immediately recongized as legitimate ("Type A"), and I was lucky to get it for the opening bid. Here is an image of the two, the top being "Type B" (backdated) and the bottom "Type A" (legitimate):


We've strayed a bit from the OP, but having created the thread, I excuse myself. Backdating may not be common, but it happens. And it happened quite a bit during WW II in Victory, VT. I was no doubt reading the bias from my experience with the Victory, VT, material into my assessment of the Greenhurst postmarks.

Basil
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Posted 12/01/2022   8:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Each town's practice (ethics?) would have to be evaluated separately. I have no interest in doing that rabbit hole. It is also off the topic of ink color.
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Posted 12/01/2022   9:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Understood. Victory, VT, was a tortuous rabbit hole, for sure.

But the ink color question did have an ethical component. In my opening post, I think I wondered if postal authorities were inclined to "look the other way" when non-black ink was used on philatelic mail, like FDCs and the WWII patriotic covers. It sure seems as that is the case.

In Pub186 there are examples of colored cancels, but no explicit mention of approval of them (returns from CTRL-F = 0).

I was wondering if there was ever any discussion in postal regs or sources (e.g. Postal Bulletins) of the use of colored or non-black ink for exceptional cases of any sort. From all that has been said, and not said, in this thread, I presume for now that the answer is no.

Basil
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Posted 12/01/2022   10:45 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply




Don
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Posted 12/01/2022   10:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Okay, the April 14 Greenhurst must be in two parts. The difference in inking each part makes it obvious. I wondered then why go from two parts then one then back to two for the VE cancel? I then took another look at my cover and the CDS is more bright blue. a different blue, than the dull bright blue of the flag; it does not show well at all in the scan. So I now agree that all Greenhursts have separate CDSs, but with a possible twist.

There is no trace of bars on my flag cover and on the 2nd and 3rd cancels in the first set of VE cancels. When 4-bars are masked, or uninked, some part of the bars normally show, even if just a couple of dots. So how many devices would be sent to Greenhurst, a fairly small office where Greenhurst is a hamlet of Ellery? Ellery had a constant population of 2000+ in the 1940 census but the area was and is a tourist place so there would be a transient population (maybe not so much in the war years). How many clerks? 2, perhaps? If there were spares then I could imagine a device reported as broken or the bars portion perhaps actually damaged, with the "dead" device resurrected as a phantom CDS. Enough old 4-bar devices are floating around (mostly worn to death) that it seems only a pinkie swear by the local postmaster that the device was unusable was enough. The CDS(s) in all shown is/are really nice and new, better than I would expect even for a small office in maybe a year's time. Need to do an overlay to prove multiple devices were used here; but I guess probably so. In the first group of VEs, the "8"s in the dates are different between the first and the others with the same time reported. In the second group of VEs, the bars are different and don't seem seem to follow a progression of wear for a single device. As blcjr noted, this also could show backdating was going on.

I thought it was obvious that the VE cancels were in two parts to effect the two different colors without transfer of colors from one side to the other. The Henton LEAP YEAR is in two different colors, also (I think, not fading) and in any case, the design was also used as a separate cancel on registered covers.

blcjr, do you have ANY Greenhurst or Victory cancels showing times after 5-6 PM? If not, then that might explain the reason for backdating. Normal business would take enough clerk's time so there were probably stacks of covers left to do at the end of the day. If they were all philatelic unaddressed to be sent under cover, somebody didn't care about proper dating although that's not supposed to be done. As noted elsewhere on SCF, when the USPS today announces that pictorials can be had after day of use, the cancels returned typically have the date left out.

And thanks for the menton in the Victory, Vermont exhibit.

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Edited by hy-brasil - 12/01/2022 11:01 pm
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Posted 12/01/2022   11:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Not Mine.
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Posted 12/01/2022   11:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The USPOD and USPS had/have enough of a bureaucracy that there should have been some memo over the years about ink color. I've seen more than one different memo about reminders on handling registered mail including the ambiguously worded one that led to the creation of fancy registered cancels of the late 1920s to very early 1930s. Those also come in many color inks and the memo/order that basically shut down the group of collectors mentioned above (who were mostly collectors of 19th Century fancy cancels before) made no mention of ink colors used on registered mail, which was all over the place aside from the fancy cancels. It didn't stop fancy cancels and also didn't stop the continued bad handling of registered mail.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 12/01/2022 11:32 pm
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Posted 12/02/2022   05:08 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
hy-brazil

A scan of WWII period Greenhurst covers at eBay, both current postings, and sold items, regularly shows time stamps of 9AM, 1PM, and 4PM suggesting three dispatches on a normal day. I found two exceptions in the sold items, both with an Aug 14, 1945 postmark. This is one of them:

While certainty is impossible, I'm inclined to believe that this was probably postmarked on Aug 15, or later, i.e., is a backdated "favor cancel." While Aug 14 newspapers reported a flash report being picked up in Guam indicating Japan's intent to surrender early on Aug 14, official announcement by Truman did not occur until 6 PM that evening. And that announcement said that an "official" declaration of "VJ-Day" would come at a later date. The Greenhurst PO was likely closed at 7PM on August 14, and while it is possible that someone listening to the 6PM radio announcement might have had the presence to locate someone who could meet them at the PO and apply a contemporaneous 7PM postmark, it is just as possible (and IMO more likely) that someone some days later asked the post office for backdated cancels. The "Finis! World War II" stamp or imprint is most certainly an addon; how likely is it that a rubber stamp or printing plate could have been applied and presented to the Greenhurst PO for a 7PM postmark on Aug 14 1945?

Over the years postmasters have bent the rules to satisfy the demand for philatelic contrivances repeatedly. How many "FDCs" exist with timestamps prior to official first day of issue? More than a few, I'm sure. Backdated covers are equally, and perhaps more, common.

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Posted 12/02/2022   08:47 am  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"The USPOD and USPS had/have enough of a bureaucracy that there should have been some memo over the years about ink color."

There are so many postal regulations that no one (postal workers or collectors) knows them all, hence some POs could have broken the rules without knowing it.
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