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United States/Covers & Postmarks : 1 1/2 cent Harding on cover

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BobbyBarnhart
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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin
03 May 2015
11:57:49am
I have a vague recollection that when I was much younger, around Christmas, my mother would mail Christmas card in unsealed envelopes for 1 cent less than the current rate. Is this an accurate remembrance?

I ask because I found the cover below and it is franked with 1 1/2 cents with a December 23 date (year unknown, but assumed to be during 2 cent rate period). However, the envelope was sealed and opened by slitting the right edge with a sharp knife. Assuming a Christmas card was enclosed, was this a proper usage?

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nl1947
03 May 2015
12:57:30pm
re: 1 1/2 cent Harding on cover

In Canada in the 60's I believe there were 2 xmas stamps issued, one for unsealed xmas cards and one for first class mail.
Someone more familiar with Canada postal history can verify but they may have been 3c & 5c respectively.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
03 May 2015
02:49:03pm
re: 1 1/2 cent Harding on cover

Nelson is correct that Canada had a christmas stamp franked at below the first class rate. I don't know the rules around it.

Bobby is also correct that there was a US Christmas rate. I believe it was a penny below the first class rate. It had to contain a christmas card, there could be no correspondence, and, as Bobby noted, it had to be unsealed.

What you have illustrated, however, is NOT a Christmas card but a third class usage. Third class was VERY different in its usage in the first three-quarters of the century than it was towards the end. Third class was typically at a penny, until about 1952, when it rose to 1.5c, if memory serves (Tony W will need to confirm), and THAT is what we are looking at.

Please note that Harding came in sheet stamp (that's what you have) and, much later, coil. Both stamps are fairly cheap, but the Harding coil on cover is much more valuable (as is the later Taft double rate coil).

David

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BobbyBarnhart
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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin
04 May 2015
10:04:03am
re: 1 1/2 cent Harding on cover

What exactly did "third class" mean? Was it size of envelope, contents, bulk mail, etc.?

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
04 May 2015
12:15:21pm
re: 1 1/2 cent Harding on cover

in some ways, third class encompassed much of what it does today: samples, flyers. It could also include seeds. It could NOT include correspondence.

in other ways, it's nothing like today's third class (which, of course, is no longer third class but the renamed Standard B). Sinlge items could be mailed, and could be dropped in any PO, unlike today, when one must have minimum weight or units and must have a permit AT the PO at which you're dropping it AND all the myriad paperwork to accompany it. Then there was a single rate (1c, 1.5c, depending on the year; today, rate is determined by saturation density and sorting).

Let me know if you want more details

David

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Bobstamp
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04 May 2015
05:23:04pm
re: 1 1/2 cent Harding on cover

Here's a similar cover in my collection:

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Here's the back — note that it was not sealed:

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Given the date of posting, I assume that it contained a Christmas card.

***

An aside, for history buffs: The community from which it was posted, Keams Canyon, Arizona, must be one of the smallest, most remote communities in the U.S. It's located in bone-dry "Navajo country" in northeastern Arizona. Here's a Wikipedia photo:

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Bob


A brief history from Wikipedia:


Quote:

"Keams Canyon (Hopi: Pongsikya or Pongsikvi; Navajo: Lókʼaaʼdeeshjin) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. The population was 260 at the 2000 census. Pongsikya is a narrow box canyon named after a plant of edible greens that survived along the seasonal stream that drains from Antelope Mesa and flows through the three mile long canyon. Here William Keam, and then his cousin Thomas Keam, operated a trading post during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. They served the Navajo Indians and opened the door to commercial trade for the Hopi Indians. The nearest [other?] trading post was some fifty miles away and Keam’s trading post was 13 miles east of the Hopi Indian’s settlements on First Mesa. With the opportunity for full year round trade nearby, the regional Indians quickly identified the canyon with the traders and the name Keams Canyon took hold."



The community to which the cover was addressed, Fort Wingate, near Gallup, New Mexico, has a colourful history, dating from the Indian Wars of the late 1800s.

• Fort Wingate was established on the southern edge of the Navajo territory in 1868. The initial purpose of the fort was to control the large Navajo tribe to its north. It was involved with the Navajo's Long Walk. From 1870 onward the garrison was concerned with Apaches to the south and hundreds of Navajo Scouts were enlisted at the fort through 1890.

• 1860 A temporary post, Fort Fauntleroy, was established at Bear Springs (Ojo del Oso), a place visited by Navajos. Later it was renamed Fort Lyon, when General Thomas T. Fauntleroy, for whom the fort was originally named, joined the Confederates.

• 1862 The post was renamed Fort Wingate after the abandonment of an army post of that name located sixty miles away in San Rafael, New Mexico. It was named for Major Benjamin Wingate, 5th U.S. Infantry, who received wounds to his legs during the Battle of Valverde.

• September General Edward Canby ordered a new fort to be placed at the headwaters of the Gallo River. It was designed to house four companies of troops.

• 1864 Colonel Kit Carson was ordered by Canby to bring four companies of the First New Mexico Volunteers to the fort to control the Navajo.

• 1865 there were 3,089 troops in the New Mexico Military District, 135 at Fort Wingate.
It was the staging point for Navajos being sent on the Long Walk

• 1873 - 1886 Participated in Apache Wars with troops and recruited Navajo Scouts.

• 1878 there were 137 troops at Fort Wingate.

• Was asked to settle disagreements between Navajo and citizens in New Mexico 1868-1895.

• 1891 Assisted Arizona units with angry Hopis

• 1907 Two troops of the 5th Cavalry went from Fort Wingate to the Four Corners area after some armed Navajo. This was the last armed expedition the US Government ever made against the Navajo. One Navajo was killed and the rest escaped

• 1911 A company of cavalry went from Ft. Wingate to Chaco Canyon and camped there several days to quell a possible uprising by Navajo

• 1914 Over 2,000 Mexican soldiers and their families were given refuge at the fort from the Mexican Civil War

• 1918 Fort Wingate focus turned from Navajo to World War I .

• 1940 Used to store munitions from World War II onward.

• 1950 Bureau of Indian Affairs given part of the land for Indian boarding school.

• Redstone and the Pershing 1 rockets were tested among other things at Wingate.

• 1993 the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) closes the post. Environmental cleanup and land transfer to the surrounding community continues to the present day.

This history doesn't do much to show what was happening at Fort Wingate in 1937. I'm guessing that a Navajo or Hopi community was just outside the fort itself. I also assume that the recipient was either a Hopi or Navajo, but the surname is difficult (impossible?) to read:

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nl1947
04 May 2015
05:54:47pm
re: 1 1/2 cent Harding on cover

One good thing that did not happen there

Quote:

"In 1991, the DOE considered Fort Wingate as places to store store 20,000-plus plutonium cores - or pits - from dismantled nuclear weapons. The Fort Wingate storage plan was subsequently scrapped. "



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Bobstamp
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04 May 2015
06:43:15pm
re: 1 1/2 cent Harding on cover

I grew up in New Mexico. It's always given me a warm glow — a glow of radiation, perhaps! — to know we were so close to Jornada del Muerto desert, where the first A bomb was tested. Jornada del Muerto translates from Spanish into "Day/Time of the Dead," which seems chillingly appropriate.

My grandparents were awakened by that blast; they rushed outside and could see a red glow in the sky over the Jornada del Muerto Desert.

Fortunately for New Mexicans, especially those in the southwest corner of the state where we lived, the clouds of radioactive dust from the nuclear test sites in Nevada travelled north into the mountain states and northeast into the Midwest. But we lived just a few miles from the huge copper mine at Santa Rita, which certainly would have been a prime target of Soviet ICBMs.

Bob


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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
04 May 2015
10:08:59pm
re: 1 1/2 cent Harding on cover

Bob's cover, with the dated cancel and unsealed flap sent around Christmas make me think that it is a Christmas cover. which got me checking Tony W's book.

it is NOT called a Christmas rate, but from 5.4.11 (happy birthday, Christmas rate) until 1.7.68, Christmas cards could be mailed, unsealed, at the third class rate.

David

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