Addresses in the selvege of stamps can lead an envelope to unintended destination
by David Teisler
15th of January 2012
Doug Cass, a member of a sister organization (Steve Davis' US Specialized, an offspring of SOR), knows I collect tied seals. He received some seals of Omaha Home for Boys from one of his clients, and he kindly added them to an envelope and sent them my way.
Omaha Home for Boys (http://www.omahahomeforboys.org/) has several locations, all in Omaha, Nebraska, serving boys and girls with the stated goal of promoting independent living. Its annual budget exceeds $14M. In 2009, it served more than 200 kids in those three facilities, with stays ranging from 4 to 15 months. Despite its name, it serves as many girls as it does boys. It was created, in 1920, when Father Flanagan’s Boys Town moved. Boys Town, now Girls and Boys Town, remains the older, bigger organization, with an operating budget of $270M, roughly 20 times the size of Omaha Home for Boys. But, I digress.
Doug’s cover is franked with a religious stamp (from a 15th century fresco by Melozzo da Forli) and a block of four labels from the Omaha Home for Boys, two offering “Seasons Greetings” and two “Christmas Blessings,” all with essentially secular images.
The labels are the bottom right of a larger pane, and include selvege from right and bottom. Included on the selvege is some information on the Home, including the name and address of the main facility: “The Omaha Home for Boys / 4343 North 52nd Street, Omaha, NE 68104”. And it is there that the post office sent the cover. Makes sense to me. If I were a machine reading this, I’d choose the typeset address over the handwritten one any day.
The spray-on cancel killing the stamp and labels is indistinct, but based on Doug’s enclosed note, it was put in the mail stream on or after December 16; it was received sometime after that and on or before December 20, per the hand note on the bottom left of the front “Came to Omaha NE 1-20,” which I took to be a mistaken “12.20” rather than a “1-20.” Why not? In Omaha, either someone at Omaha Boys or the Omaha postmaster crossed out the UPC code and typeset address on the bottom and highlighted my NY address in yellow. I received it sometime in the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
So, Doug intended to send me a nice set of tied seals, instead, he gave me an incredible piece of postal history that also included the seals.