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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : How exactly did Postage Due stamps work?

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Josh Tanski (Joshtanski)
16 Mar 2008
11:59:13am
Hi All,

How exactly did postage due stamps work? My understanding is the postage due stamps got stuck on the cover to mark that postage due was paid, not to indicate postage was due to be paid?

If so, why did they require special stamps rather than the postal customer just using normal stamps or cash to pay the due?

Thanks,
Josh
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Randy B. Kerr (Musicman)
16 Mar 2008
02:46:47pm
re: How exactly did Postage Due stamps work?

Josh,

Quoting from Scott U.S. Specialized;

POSTAGE DUE STAMPS
-------------------

"For affixing, by a postal clerk, to any piece of mailable matter, to denote the amount to be collected from the addressee because of insufficient prepayment of postage."

Note that it says the fee was TO BE collected from the person RECIEVING the mail when it arrived; therefore the postage due stamp/s were already affixed to the mailed item but not yet paid for until the item arrived at its final destination.

Randy B.

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David Teisler (Teisler)
16 Mar 2008
07:13:13pm
re: How exactly did Postage Due stamps work?

This is interesting; i had always thought that US postage due denoted the amount paid, not owed. I found, from members of this group and Steve Davis' US Specialized, that Engish and Dutch dues, denoted what was owed, not paid. I have a US cover, it's been featured here before, in which multiple GB and Dutch dues are affixed, each denoting what was owed, but never collected. I've never seen a US cover with multiple dues, not that this proves anything, but... I'll also look to see if I can find any covers with "T"s AND US dues; failure to do so will reinforce Randy's quote.

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Jim Stebbings (Nightowl)
16 Mar 2008
07:44:20pm
re: How exactly did Postage Due stamps work?

I'm old enough to remember the family receiving the them. It meant to leave some cash in the mailbox for the mailman!

There were older alternative, and maybe some complications...look at the July 11 2007 thread "General U.S. Postage Due Usages." It discusses precanceled postage due stamps as well as a hand-stamped note to collect.

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Bob Ingraham (Bobstamp)
16 Mar 2008
07:57:46pm
re: How exactly did Postage Due stamps work?

I remember a postal clerk -- "Toad" Wilson (!) -- charging me postage due and affixing the postage due stamps to envelopes, then cancelling them. This was at the Silver City, New Mexico post office in the 1950s.

Bob

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Doug Warren (Dougwtx)
16 Mar 2008
08:00:15pm
re: How exactly did Postage Due stamps work?

I too am old enough to remember receiving 1 or 2. The recipient of the letter had to pay up although our carrier was nice enough just to leave an envelope in the mailbox so the money could be put in it when he comes the following day. Not sure what the PO would do if you didn't pay... I guess hold your mail hostage.

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Bob Ingraham (Bobstamp)
16 Mar 2008
08:05:44pm
re: How exactly did Postage Due stamps work?

I'm sure that if postage due was not paid, the mail would be returned to the sender, or in lieu of a return address would be sent to a dead-letter office.

In Canada in relatively recent years, an honor system was in force. Envelopes would be marked with an indication that postage was due and delivered with the understanding that the recipient would pay the amount due. Somehow I feel that little of that money was collected! I know that I certainly ignored (or forgot) to make payment. Postal service is often so bad that I kinda feel that Canada Post owes me!

Bob

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Josh Tanski (Joshtanski)
17 Mar 2008
07:52:20pm
re: How exactly did Postage Due stamps work?

Interesting. If they indicated amount owed, why was there a need to cancel them? Aren't they an accounting system?

Unfortunately, I've never seen postage due stamps used in my lifetime. I did get a postcard from Germany where they mailed it at their domestic rate instead of their international rate. It got a "T" handstamp, which I think was done in Germany, as my post office didn't try to collect anything. My guess is my local post office didn't know what the "T" was for.

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richard novick (Rgnpcs)
17 Mar 2008
08:18:43pm
re: How exactly did Postage Due stamps work?

As I am one of the older members of this group, if not the oldest, I recall the usage of postage due stamps well. If it was a matter of pennies, the envelope usually had a stamp or two on it, and when delivered you paid the postman the amount due. If you were friendly with the postman, and you were not home, he would deliver the letter, and collect from you later. The postage due stamps were actually receipts of payment. Sometimes you may see full sheets cancelled. Let us say that you owed $5.00 for a package that was mailed with not enough postage on it. The post office may not have had higher denominations of postage due stamps, and they certainly could not attach one hundred five cent stamps to the package, thus they would take a sheet of one hundred five cent stamps and cancel them when you paid the amount due, and at that time they would give you the sheet. Sometimes they would just give you a full sheet without cancelling them, as you could not use them for anything.
Richaard

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Kenneth L. Perry (Sponthetrona2)
04 Apr 2008
05:56:38pm
re: How exactly did Postage Due stamps work?

I'm sure that if postage due was not paid, the mail would be returned to the sender, or in lieu of a return address would be sent to a dead-letter office.

In Canada in relatively recent years, an honor system was in force. Envelopes would be marked with an indication that postage was due and delivered with the understanding that the recipient would pay the amount due. Somehow I feel that little of that money was collected! I know that I certainly ignored (or forgot) to make payment. Postal service is often so bad that I kinda feel that Canada Post owes me!
Bob

I was a postman for many years and it was my policy to pay the postage due for my customers out of my own pocket. I was responsible to pay the post office at the end of the day the amount due. It's sad to hear that just because service is bad you take it out on the postman who is trying to do a good job. Ultimately it comes out of his pocket. The stamps were primarily a reminder on the envelope that this money was due to the postman for under payment by the mailer. Be advised, it's the not the post office who lost money but that carrier who delivered your mail.

Perry

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