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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Held For Postage Cover

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
21 Oct 2015
04:51:39pm

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I have a number of cards like this one and have a question regarding the postage rate and why there was an additional 1 cent stamp needed back when the postcard rate was 1 cent. I just got this one from the 'bay, I bought it because I didn't have an example of the black "Held For Postage" oval up on the stamp.

This is a standard size picture postcard, mailed in 1905 from Cleveland, Ohio to Los Angeles, California. It was mailed on April 12th, and the purple "Held for postage..." marking was applied on April 15th. The second stamp was apparently received on April 27th and was on it's way to California. It has a Los Angeles receiving mark in May, but I cannot read the date.

So what's the story here?

The card is charming as it appears to be between two little girls who are lonesome for each other!

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roy
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BuckaCover.com - 8,000+ new covers coming November 7
21 Oct 2015
05:53:13pm
re: Held For Postage Cover

Is there any glitter on the picture side of the card?

Roy

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
21 Oct 2015
07:07:56pm

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re: Held For Postage Cover

nope. Just a generic seaside color no border card.

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roy
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BuckaCover.com - 8,000+ new covers coming November 7
21 Oct 2015
07:20:48pm
re: Held For Postage Cover

I wonder if the postmaster thought the right-most stamp was previously used - possibly because of the stain and the damage. Or maybe there is some evidence of a cancel that is not part of the other three?

Roy

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
22 Oct 2015
10:11:24am

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re: Held For Postage Cover

I think I figured it out. Up until 1907, US postcards were only allowed to have the address on the stamped side. Any message had to be on the picture side and many cards had a small white area below the picture for that. This card was printed in England and is a divided back card. It does say "For postage, in the United Kingdom only, this space may be used for correspondence".

Per a postcard site I found, it said the divided back cards were only approved for use in 1907. So that means that in 1905 the post office deemed this card a letter and charged two cents.

Does that make sense?

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Webpaper
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22 Oct 2015
11:14:42am
re: Held For Postage Cover

Yes. I have a couple of postcards franked with the 2c red of the 1903 series and if memory serves they were divided back. Can't locate them, naturally.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
22 Oct 2015
11:28:57am
re: Held For Postage Cover

Tom, great solution

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roy
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BuckaCover.com - 8,000+ new covers coming November 7
22 Oct 2015
12:03:52pm
re: Held For Postage Cover

That's an interesting bit of rate-oriented postal history that I did not know. I browsed through my database of sold postcards of this period, and found many confirming pieces. All the US produced postcards pre-1907 are undivided backs, and post-1907 are typically divided backs. In both cases, many examples with 1c franking. I did not find any divided back postcards with 2c franking.

However, here is one that made it through:

Image Not Found

Note that it is a UK postcard posted in NY - not caught for the additional 1c.

I just found another interesting one in current listings:

This one may be very close to the rules-change date (I found another similar one dated early October 1907):

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Roy

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
22 Oct 2015
12:15:17pm

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re: Held For Postage Cover

Hi Roy-

I just found this on Wikipedia:
Postcards were not allowed to have a divided back and correspondents could only write on the front of the postcard. This was known as the "undivided back" era of postcards. From March 1, 1907 the Post Office allowed private citizens to write on the address side of a postcard. It was on this date that postcards were allowed to have a "divided back".

So your 1907 card was legal, and no doubt printed that year since it's a US card. I'll have to go through my hoard and see if I have some of those "sneaky cards" that got through on the one cent rate prior to 1907.

That's what I like about stamps. I've been collecting this era forever, and you can still learn something new!

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
27 Oct 2015
12:14:22pm

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re: Held For Postage Cover

I had some further thoughts about my "held for postage" card, and others that I have. How was this business conducted? There is no return address, so did the USPO send a request for postage to the addressee? Has anyone owned or seen these requests? I can imagine them being either postcards or as elaborate as an envelope with a return envelope inside so that he person could send that specific post office a penny or a penny stamp?? This could be very interesting.

And think of the cost of getting that penny! USPO would've been better off just ignoring the postage deficiency!

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