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Can You Overlap Stamps On An Envelope?

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 14 / Views: 558Next Topic  
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1321 Posts
Posted 08/22/2021   2:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add GregAlex to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
It occurs to me that you might be able to use enough low denomination postage to mail a letter, if you overlapped the stamps. Does the post office have rules that prevent this?
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Valued Member
Canada
319 Posts
Posted 08/22/2021   3:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Casey Magoo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have a Mexican cover where the stamps overlap a LOT, just enough to show the denomination. I have also seen a fair bit of overlap on revenue stamps on documents. Now to try to find that cover...Not sure what the UPU's official stance is.
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Pillar Of The Community
3962 Posts
Posted 08/22/2021   3:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
No.

See Domestic Mail Manual section 604 paragraph 1.7:
https://pe.usps.com/text/DMM300/604.htm
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
564 Posts
Posted 08/22/2021   3:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jconey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The USPS does not like it. https://pe.usps.com/archive/html/dm...209/P022.htm see section 1.3

The only issue I'd think might cause a problem would be if the edge of a stamp sticking up can get caught in the machinery, ripping the stamp, clogging up the works, etc.

As a collector who still removes stamps from mail, I am usually appalled by this as well as the use of tape on stamps.
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United States
5308 Posts
Posted 08/22/2021   3:09 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
From the above link:


Quote:
1.7 Position of Stamp on Mailpiece

Stamps must be affixed firmly in the upper right corner of the address side of the mail cover. Any stamp partly concealed by an overlapping stamp may not be counted as postage.


Interesting. I had always been told that overlapping was ok as long as the denomination of the overlapped stamp(s) were fully readable. Apparently not.
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Australia
33586 Posts
Posted 08/22/2021   5:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Notwithstanding Postal directives,
I have had 1000's upon 1000's of overlapped stamps from my dealer,
over 10 years, nary a one has been questioned by postal authorities in North America.

Denominations were always shown.

Gum arabic stamps can be separated successfully, with strange part postmarks, self adhesive cannot, and can only be discarded.

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Edited by rod222 - 08/22/2021 6:06 pm
Pillar Of The Community
United States
2573 Posts
Posted 08/22/2021   6:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As ever, your mileage may vary.

This doesn't involve US stamps, but I received a CD a couple of years ago from Brazil with 5-6 overlapped stamps to fit its mailer. I soaked them and got all but one cut down by 1/3. Probably should have noticed beforehand that the overlapped stamps weren't thick enough to be full size.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 08/22/2021 6:27 pm
Pillar Of The Community
United States
2758 Posts
Posted 08/22/2021   8:07 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The reason overlapped is not allowed is because you could be covering up a cancel on an already used stamp. I wonder if the foreign overlapped examples were done at a PO in front of or by a postal clerk so they knew the stamps were valid.
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Posted 08/22/2021   8:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Keep in mind the regulations cited so far refer specifically to mail of U.S. origin. They do not apply to the two Canada examples shown or to any other country.
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Posted 08/22/2021   8:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I can think of no one that seeks out postal regulations regarding placement of stamps before they peel/lick and stick.
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Valued Member
79 Posts
Posted 08/22/2021   9:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There is another way to stuff a lot of stamps on one envelope which doesn't involve overlapping but like an "accordion". Like a coil of 20 stamps and you affix only the first stamp on the envelope and then fold up the other ones like an accordion.

It is also possible to overlap stamps such that only 1/10'th of each stamp is pasted down and the other 9/10'th is unattached--such that no stamps paste is actually pasted on another (sort of like dominoes). I received a package from Canada earlier this year which had around 100 copies of the same stamp pasted this way. I understand this technique may not be allowed in US per USPS regulations cited above.

It seems like this general problem of needing a whole lot of stamps to mail a letter/package might have been an actual problem in countries with very high inflation -- as opposed to philatelists using 75 year old stamps to mail around stamps to each other. Any historical examples of this having been the case, or have postal systems always been one step ahead of inflation?
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Posted 08/22/2021   9:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The inflation period of Russia is a highly collectible postal history category. Envelopes were covered from stem to stern in stamps.
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Valued Member
Cyprus
127 Posts
Posted 08/24/2021   2:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Moose to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If I remember correctly, the Cyprus Post Office put an end to this practice about 15 years ago after they realised people were defrauding the system. Some telephone card collectors sending big and bulky packages at the time, started using used stamps and covering the cancellations with another used stamp and so on and finally adding a small denomination mint stamp as the last overlapping piece. It got so bad that they even found that some of the 'stamps' used were in fact just the piece of the stamp showing the face value and conveniently overlapped by another cancelled stamp etc.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1321 Posts
Posted 08/25/2021   11:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting discussion! I hadn't thought of the possibility of covering previous cancellations, but had considered how cut stamps could be disguised. And accordion folding is a clever concept, though the stamps would likely be damaged in transit.

Thanks for all the insightful comments!
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Valued Member
United States
16 Posts
Posted 08/29/2021   6:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add worth to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In the last 2-3 years I have received mail from both Russia and Algeria with overlapping stamps. The Algerian piece was all one type stamp and the Russian one used 2 different values. They were all modern definitives. I would argue this could point to application at the post office as that was all the postage they had in stock. But again that is pure speculation.
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