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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

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keesindy
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11 Feb 2017
04:17:05pm
Size matters!

I've mentioned in other threads the unusual hoard of early 1890s stamps and cut squares that Dad found in 1960. The vast majority of the stamps and cut squares were collected from businesses in Union City, Indiana, and maybe next door in Union City, Ohio. The hoard is unique not only from a philatelic perspective, but from a local history/regional commerce perspective as well.

Dad lost interest in stamp collecting a few years after finding these and did little with them. I inherited this hoard mostly intact. It included 11-12,000 cut squares, mostly the 2c Washington that first began to appear in 1886. (There were also about 8,500 Scott 219, 219D and 220x and about 3,600 1c and 2c Columbians.) The vast majority of 2c Washington cut squares are the very common Scott U72 type. I knew nothing about fancy cancels—until I cut open a few of the bundles of stamps and cut squares (100 per bundle). I didn’t know fancy cancels existed and certainly didn’t know they were collectible. I never added to my “collection,” but spent a lot of time off and on over the past 17 years working with it.

One of my challenges has been the identification of as many post offices as possible from the cut squares. The vast majority will never be identified, but it’s fun trying once in a while. Here are a few I encountered as I dove into the hoard again in recent days.


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This unusually large cut square includes the name of the state of origin. That information is always a big help. In this case, we also know the last three letters of the town name are “NDA.” Fortunately, I found another copy with the same killer. That copy also showed more of the town’s name. That cancel included part of the letter “W” in front of “ANDA.” Using city and town listings online at Wikepedia, I searched the New York state lists for “WANDA.” TONAWANDA was the only match. Later, I discovered I also had a TONAWANDA double oval cancel. Some business in Tonawanda was in contact with a business in Union City, Indiana (or Ohio) in the early 1890s. This cut square also clearly demonstrates that some cut squares are anything but square!


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Sometimes, quantity matters. I must have 20 or 30 cut squares with this unique cancel. However, I didn’t realize until a few days ago that it is unique and that I had multiple copies! It has that 3rd cut that doesn’t quite meet the other two cuts at the center. Once I realized this one is unique, I went back through my sorted and unsorted cut squares and found several copies. This copy and many others offer no clue of the post office location or even what state it was from. However, a few other copies include both the state name and all or most of the town name. It’s Dunkirk, Indiana, located only a few miles from Union City where the cut squares were collected. One interesting aspect of this one is how many clean strikes I have. The clerk(s) must have taken more care in cancelling the mail at Dunkirk than is often the case elsewhere.


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Close, but no cigar. This killer seems to be one of a kind in my hoard as far as I can tell. It includes part of the circular date stamp, but not the part with the state identified. And the town name is incomplete, showing only “ELPHIA.” Given that the majority of the hand-cut fancy and geometric killers are going to be regional, I searched for the name PHILADELPHIA only in Indiana and Ohio and other nearby states such as Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky. (I’m assuming that Philadelphia, PA, is not a candidate!) Using the Wikipedia town lists again, I found towns named Philadelphia in both Indiana and Illinois. I don’t have time to check on a post office at Philadelphia, Illinois, but do have a digital list of Indiana post offices with years of operation. Philadelphia, Indiana, had a post office in operation in the 1890s, but I still don’t have enough information to determine if this killer might have belonged to either of these post offices or a third one somewhere else. It’s a nice relatively clean strike, but that’s all it is for now.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I also found a New Philadelphia. It is a city in eastern Ohio roughly midway between Columbus and Pittsburgh, PA. New Philadelphia happens to be very close to Uhrichsville, Ohio, which was the origin for an unusually large number of the cut squares in the hoard. The Uhrichsville cut squares are recognizable because the post office repeatedly used their CDS as the killer.

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Tantalizing. I must have 20 or 30 of these. This one shows no part of any date stamp. However, other copies of this killer identify the state as Indiana and have as much as “CHESTER” for the partial city name. As I noted above, all of these cut squares were collected in Union City, Indiana. That is located in Randolph County and the county seat is Winchester. I’ve found a few different killers from Winchester and several others that may also be from Winchester. Or, they could be from Manchester, North Manchester, Rochester or any of the other *chesters in the region. Winchester is a prime contender because of its close proximity, but this one remains an unknown.


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This is an example of why bigger is better. How many cities across the country used this killer? There were at least 5 or 6 in Indiana alone. This is one of two copies of this cancel. Enough of the circular date stamp shows on this one to see “E FALLS” and probably “LE FALLS.” The Wikipedia lists came in handy again. It’s easy to search those Wikipedia community lists (including unincorporated communities for at least some states) for partial names. Searching the New York lists for “LE FALLS” led me straight to Little Falls.


If this weren’t fun, it would be a lot of work. For some of the more interesting mysteries I’m encountering, I may post them here from time to time to see if anyone can offer help!

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
11 Feb 2017
08:36:41pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Thanks for the interesting post. It does make you want to scream that someone destroyed all those great covers! At Wits End

A few years ago I bought a big cover lot on eBay that turned out to have a billion Seattle, Washington cancels. These ranged from the 1930s to 1950s and were mixed between envelope sizes, many of the commercial B to B covers were legal size. I wanted to get them back in circulation and break up that hoard. I was selling cover lots on eBay then, so in each "100 mixed USA covers" lots, I'd drop maybe 5 different appearing Seattle covers. Then I got the bright idea to offer "50 Different Seattle Business Corner Cards -- City History Lots". And I was able to sell every one of those!

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keesindy
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12 Feb 2017
12:47:17am
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Yes, all of those complete 1890s cancels—gone. But, what would I have done with over 20,000 covers?????

That was a good idea, focusing on the Seattle business corner cards! I hadn't really given any thought to what kinds of corner cards I might have had! Something else to regret!

Like you, I sold batches of items on eBay. That was 15-16 years ago and it was mostly stamps and some older cut squares. I sold the nicest fancy cancels individually and others in small lots. I think I sold about 350 all together if memory serves. Most were common: 158s, 210s, 219s, 219Ds, 220s, 230s and 231s. And I've sold (cheaply) large lots containing thousands of stamps after sorting out the best fancy cancels, 220a 220b, etc. The 220s in particular have a wide range of flaws that fly speckers can peruse. Back in those days, selling on eBay was a more pleasant experience!

I avoided selling the cut squares back then because I wanted to do an economic analysis based on how much mail was coming to Union City from various places around the country and from the local region, primarily Indiana and Ohio. It would have been interesting and unique because virtually all of this mail was gathered in a three-year window. I've pretty much given up on that project because so few of the cut squares have enough of the addresses to determine the recipient businesses. Plus, identifying points of origin for a very large percentage of the cut squares remains elusive. I've listed a few fancy cancel cut squares on eBay in the past, but they're not as marketable as the stamps. Besides from minimal catalog value for the cut square itself, they don't look nearly as nice as stamps on an album page no matter how nice the fancy and geometric cancels look!


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keesindy
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20 Mar 2017
07:38:30pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

A few more of the partial CDS cancels from my 1890s hoard. These were pretty easy to identify with the help of wikipedia cities, towns and unincorporated communities lists for the State of Ohio.

Not too many towns in Ohio with GRAFF as part of the name. De Graff is about 50 miles northeast of Union City, Indiana, where all of these thousands of cut squares were collected. (Some may have been collected across the state line in Union City, Ohio, but I have no evidence to support that possibility.)

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Another easy one. Celina is only 27 miles north-northeast of Union City.

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Sidney is the only Ohio city or town/village that shows up with an "NEY" ending and there are none with "NEV." Sidney is only 35 east of Union City.

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This has to be either Trenton or Kenton per wikipedia. I'm betting on Kenton because it has only six letters and would be properly centered in the CDS whereas Trenton with it's seventh letter would be off-center. What do you think?

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keesindy
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22 Mar 2017
10:08:31am
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Where is TOMOH?

One of the unsolved mysteries from the hoard is this partial CDS showing only TOMOH. I don't know if that is a complete or partial post office name. Regardless, it is one-of-a-kind in the hoard. I've searched online several times to no avail. The closest connection I could find was Tomah, a city in Monroe County, Wisconsin. I found a single reference where the Wisconsin legislature in 1867 was considering a bill "to incorporate the Village to Tomoh in Monroe County." Since the Tomah post office already existed at that time in Monroe County, was someone trying to change the village name from Tomah to Tomoh and the effort failed? Could the "Tomoh" in that legislative record be a typo? I couldn't find a Tomoh village or post office in an 1897 Monroe County, Wisconsin atlas. That atlas included an 1877 county map with post offices and I could find no Tomoh on that map either. Could the CDS contain a typo?

I also considered that the name was ____TOM, OH, a post office in Ohio, but found nothing online to match that possibility.

Does anyone here at SoR have any knowledge of a TOMOH post office or a post office whose name ended in TOMOH?

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sheepshanks
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22 Mar 2017
06:20:02pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Would this possibly be a connection.
https://geonames.usgs.gov/apex/f?p=138:3:0::NO::P3_FID,P3_TITLE:1501577,Omohundo%20Post%20Office%20(historical)
"Link" will not work as a direct link as it contains commas so you will have to copy and paste.
Further thought occurs, if the postmark is turned a quarter clockwise could the 4 letters be
HOWO ?

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keesindy
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22 Mar 2017
11:41:47pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

I appreciate the link, but I don't see a connection there. Maybe I'm just not thinking about this in the right way.

If we read the first four letters upside down, what do we do with an upside down "T?" In addition, the letters are in the normal position in relation to the indicium for a typical CDS strike. Turning the CDS ¼ turn would place them in an unusual position. I'm not convinced that is the way to go with this search, but hate to rule anything out.

Here's one additional comment about my searches. I found a link to Tomoh at the Library of Congress, but it turned out to be a poster related to Tomah, presumably the one in Wisconsin, since that is the only community with that name I've encountered. Even the Library of Congress makes typographical errors! Maybe my speculation that this CDS contains a spelling error of the City of Tomah, Wisconsin isn't too far fetched. I know that such CDS spelling mistakes were made. There were several here in Indiana that have been published in the Indiana Postal History Society Newsletter.

Is anyone here at SoR affiliated with the Wisconsin Postal History Society? It looks like they have an up-to-date website!

http://www.wfscstamps.org/index.shtml

Tom

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sheepshanks
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23 Mar 2017
09:48:20am
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

I was working on the lines of Omohundo being too long to fit the postmark space and getting abbreviated to Omoh.
On the second part are we sure that it is a "T", not all the letter is visible. Not that I can think of what else it may be.

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keesindy
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23 Mar 2017
05:41:03pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

I was certain this would turn out to be Bristol, Massachusetts. Wrong! I didn't find a Bristol, MA. When I searched for a MA town or city ending in "OL" at Wikipedia, all I got was Athol. I'm a geography nut and know more cities than the average American, but this is a city I had never heard of. I've found perhaps 20 cut squares in the hoard with enough information to identify them as originating in MA. They come from a fairly wide variety of cities, but this is the only cut square that I can clearly identify as being from Athol. I would have also expected other copies of this very simple killer design, possibly from other post offices, but I don't think I have any others.

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keesindy
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23 Mar 2017
06:45:28pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

I should have posted this in the beginning. Its' an updated listing of the communities in Indiana and Ohio from which I have identified cut squares in the Union City hoard. I may be able to add a few more eventually, but most additions will need to be based on unique killers and that is much more challenging than identities based on partial CDSs.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
23 Mar 2017
11:00:32pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Be careful with that list... that's how I got hooked on completing the entire state of New Jersey! Next thing ya know... Surprise

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keesindy
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24 Mar 2017
12:08:47am
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

I'll keep that in mind! So far—for 17 years—I've managed to be content with the inherited hoard and not adding to it. So far..................

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keesindy
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31 Mar 2017
05:40:21pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Several years ago, I had stuffed this cut square into one of the glassine envelopes holding the cut squares having RPO cancels. I suppose I thought this might be the Boston and Maine Railroad RPO, but I've recently discovered there was no Boston and Maine RPO per se. Instead, there were several different RPOs that operated on the Boston and Maine routes without using "Boston and Maine" as part of the RPO names. Also, I've recently discovered another cut square with this same CDS design and the same 7-bar ellipse killer. On this second copy, part of the letter "L" is clearly visible in front of the "AND ME" name on the CDS. Also, there is currently a Portland, ME, cover for sale on eBay showing this same CDS design. So I'm guessing these are both from Portland, but am open to other possibilities in Maine. (The book, Cancellations and Killers of the Banknote Era includes a couple of Portland, ME, examples with ellipse killers, but not this style.)

Coincidentally, this one is dated either March or April 16, 1890, and the second one is dated March 14, 1890. This was undoubtedly business correspondence and there may have been monthly (or at least regular) communications between a business in Portland and a business in Union City, Indiana, where the hoard was gathered. I've also got a few dozen other cut squares in the hoard with this same 7-bar killer. However, none show enough of the CDS to identify their post office of origin. I'll bet some of those other cut squares were cut from covers originating in Maine.

A couple of final notes: The hoard contains very, very few cut squares with the readable CDS year outside the 1891 to 1893 time frame. This is one of those rare examples. The CDS information on the second cut square isn't any more readable than this copy! For example, the two-digit year is similarly garbled on both copies.

If anyone here at SoR can either confirm this as a Portland cancel or present another likely candidate, please comment!


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keesindy
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22 Jul 2017
03:39:39pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

This is a pair of cancelled cut squares from Piqua, Ohio. Piqua is a small city about 35 miles east of Union City, Indiana. There was clearly some sort of business relationship between the two cities, but I don't know what that was.

This Die 83 1c pale blue with UPSS watermark 7 measures 39 x 42mm) It isn't listed in the UPSS catalog. Instead, the catalog lists a "milky blue" with a UPSS watermark 12. The killer on this Piqua cut square is one of a kind in the hoard and the CDS contains no time or date information.

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My cut square hoard contains several Die 88 2c green Washington examples from Piqua with partial CDS and one with a nearly complete CDS. I've also got others that are probably from Piqua based on killer similarities. However, the designs are so simple it's not always a clear-cut call. There is some variation due to wear, partial inking and bad strikes, but I think there may be at least three different 3-bar round cancels from Piqua—very similar, but different.

Also, this copy has one of the Die 88 varieties. The tooth below the "E" in CENTS is connected by a line to the ribbon line just above that "E." For those who may be interested in such things, I'm posting a set of examples I created a few years ago.

This is a clean strike of a common Piqua killer. It is a full corner cut square and the size is 42 x 51mm.

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keesindy
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26 Aug 2017
08:37:12pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

The embossing of the postal stationery indicia makes it difficult to get clean strikes of the killers. Stamps are more likely to show clean strikes. However, cut squares have an advantage over off-paper stamps in that they often contain a partial circular date stamp (CDS) along with the killer. Those CDSs may show enough information to determine the post office of origin in many instances.

This first example doesn't display the killer very clearly, but does include nearly a full CDS. There was no mystery here. This was postmarked at Palmyra, New York, and the killer was nearly as simple as they come. It is indistinguishable from a multitude of similar designs. Consequently, the post office of origin would be virtually impossible to determine without at least a partial CDS.

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The next example was better inked. So the killer was clearer. The killer's design was also somewhat more creative and distinctive, making it easier to tie that design to Arcanum, Ohio, when no other information is available. However, this was one of those rare cases where the cut square was cut large enough to include the entire CDS. If only more of the 11-12,000 cut squares in the Union City hoard had been cut in this manner! I've never tried to count the number of full CDSs in the hoard, but I doubt there are more than 25-50.

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This second Arcanum cancel has a very similar killer design (inverted in this strike), but the size is dramatically different. I assume they represent two separate carvings of the same basic design since the cancel dates are only a few days apart. Does that suggest the design had some special significance? Or maybe the creator thought it was unique enough to be recognizable as his/her work at Arcanum and simply repeated the design on multiple devices.

I don't know what arrangements the collector of these cut squares had with the businesses in Union City or how many individuals were cutting the indicia from the envelopes, but the the sizes vary dramatically. These two Arcanum cut squares appear to have been addressed to the supply company where many of the cut squares were collected. I'm guessing the same person cut both of these Arcanum cut squares and I wonder if it would have been done by someone at the business rather than by the collector and his family or employees. It's too bad the person who created these cut squares wasn't responsible for even more of the cutting.

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keesindy
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04 Sep 2017
01:19:01pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

The process of elimination!

These cancels clearly originated in Iowa, but the originating city or town name was incomplete. In searching online lists of Iowa city and town names, I found only one that included "RIE CITY." It is Prairie City, a small community east of Des Moines. Of the 11-12,000 cut squares in the hoard, I've found only 20 from Iowa and three of those came from Prairie City. These two were cancelled in 1891 and the third has a less complete CDS and doesn't show the year. In 1890, the population of Prairie City was only 684.

The cut square on the left was cancelled in November and the one on the right apparently in December, 1891. The third (not shown and without the year) was also cancelled in November.

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As far as I can tell, there was no industry in Prairie City at the time. There were "supply" companies in Union City where some of these cut squares were being collected. I've seen a couple of examples in the hoard where mail seemed to be arriving at specific businesses on a regular monthly basis from individual small towns, but those were much nearer to Union City.

In this case, my guess is that a general store owner or hardware store owner in Prairie City was ordering wholesale from one of the supply companies in Union City. Although Union City was well served by railroads, I'm still surprised such transactions were occurring with a business that today is 450 driving miles from Union City, Indiana.

Both of these examples display one of the unusual Die 88 varieties. The top point of the shield’s crown extends much higher than normal. (The third Prairie City cut square is on white paper and doesn't display this variance.) I can't explain why it exists and I do not yet know how common it is. It wasn't among the 29 varieties that H. S. Dickinson identified in his 1955 study of this indicium, but I have copies on white and blue paper as well, indicating that multiple batches were printed with this variation.

One would think these two impressions would be identical, coming from the same post office within a month or so of each other and both containing the same uncommon shield crown point variation. Generally, they are identical, but take a look at the two teeth above the "ES" in STATES. Does that look like a simple inking problem to you?

And there is another variable associated with the shield's crown. It’s not just the height of the crown’s point that varies. The depth of the shield’s crown overall varies considerably as well. Most of the previously posted Die 88 examples are ordinary in this regard. The Prairie City examples seem to be at one extreme and here is an example from the other extreme.

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smaier
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Sally
04 Sep 2017
02:04:36pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Iowa ends in "WA". These cancels seem to be "OA."

I don't have any better ideas as to what it could be but just wondering if it was common to have the name of the state spelled incorrectly?

Sally

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sheepshanks
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04 Sep 2017
03:57:39pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Not sure if it helps or hinders but there were Prairie City's in Chouteau County, Montana; Ottawa County, Oklahoma and Grant County Oregon, all had historical post offices.

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keesindy
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04 Sep 2017
07:24:38pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Thanks for the comments and suggestions, but IOA was an abbreviation for Iowa. I suppose postal historians and older "Hawkeyes" are the only people who would remember that today.

This footnote

1. "Ioa." or (more typically) "IOA" found in Iowa post office cancellations from the 1870s.

comes from this Wikipedia "List of U.S. state abbreviations" page.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_abbreviations#cite_note-1

Tom

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musicman
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04 Sep 2017
09:40:26pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Never fails....no matter how much I glean from this site, there is always
something new to learn...almost every day!

"IOA"

Abbreviation for Iowa 130 years ago! Nice!



Thanks for that, Tom!

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smaier
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Sally
04 Sep 2017
10:04:29pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Tom,

Thanks for the info. Interesting that there would be an abbreviation for Iowa - when they added the period, it still adds up to the same number of characters so they weren't really saving any space.

Though I live in Iowa, I am an Indiana native. Will have to check with some Iowa postal historians to see if they have anything to add.

Appreciate all your postings from your "hoard". Always enjoy reading what you have to show,

Sally

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keesindy
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04 Sep 2017
11:10:15pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

I don't know the history of that Iowa abbreviation. It doesn't make a lot of sense today. Using Iowa's (or POD's?) logic, Ohio would have been abbreviated OHO. But, as far as I know, Ohio never used a 3-letter abbreviation. I think the "Buckeyes" have always used "O" or "OH."

Tom

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roy
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BuckaCover.com - 10,200 new covers added February 21
04 Sep 2017
11:13:01pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

There are about 50 Iowa town cancels in their own category on BuckaCover.

Here is one of them with the full strike of an IOA. abbreviation:

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Roy

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keesindy
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04 Sep 2017
11:21:09pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Thanks, Roy!

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copy55555
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05 Sep 2017
04:15:30pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

If I remember correctly, back in the 60's when snail mail was the norm, I used a 3-letter abbreviation for all states. ILL IND CAL WIS etc.

Tad

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keesindy
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09 Sep 2017
11:10:42pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Yes, Tad, 3-letter abbreviations were the norm. I'm not sure when we made the switch to the 2-letter system.

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keesindy
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09 Sep 2017
11:27:15pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

This was an unidentified post office as far as I was concerned for 17 years. Today, I finally took a crack at identifying it and within 15 minutes knew it was Forest, Ohio. The USPS says only two post office names in Ohio ended with the "EST" letters. One was Forest that opened in 1854 (and is still open) and the other was Urbancrest that opened in 1899. Since the year of cancellation was 1892, the post office had to be Forest. Besides, the town name would be centered at the top of the CDS and the odds of the town name being more than 6 letters in length were very low.

This is the only Forest cancellation I've found in the Union City hoard. Forest is in north central Ohio and about 80 miles northeast of Union City, Indiana. The shape of the killer is very similar to a Philadelphia padlock killer shown in the Cole book.

Fortunately, some of the cut squares in the hoard were cut very large and included addressee information. The addressee in this case was “_____ Supply Co.” Many of the covers in the hoard had been addressed to one or more supply companies, but the most likely recipient was Knapp Supply Co., dealing in plumbing, steam and gas fitting supplies since 1874. They were the only supply company important enough to be identified in the 1890 Sanborn™ fire insurance map set for Union City. The company relocated to Muncie, Indiana, in the 1920s and is still in business.

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keesindy
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10 Sep 2017
09:49:22pm
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

A change of pace

This isn’t what you’re accustomed to seeing from the Union City hoard. The vast majority of the stamps and cut squares were postmarked and collected in the 1891-1893 timeframe and were issued during or shortly before that period. However, a few earlier issues were represented as well. Some of these may have been examples of late use, but some carry cancellation dates from the 1880s.

This one is an example of the latter, a common Scott 277 UPSS Die 81 2c brown Washington on white paper with an 1887 cancellation. It happens to be an unusually clear strike and contains enough of the CDS to identify not only the likely post office of origin, but the designer of the cancel as well.

In terms of this cancel’s origin, Syracuse, New York was an easy guess. How many cities’ names end with “USE?” And how many state abbreviations end with “Y?” Those two clues narrowed the possibilities very quickly. Then, I got lucky and quickly found information to confirm my guess.

Until a couple of years ago, I had been a member of the U. S. Cancellation Club and saved the newsletters. I was going through those newsletters, looking for any information that might help identify the post office of origin for this item. I found a short article in the May, 2016, newsletter by Roger Curran with a color image of a matching cancel. His article was titled, “Wesson ‘Time on Bottom’ Cancelers, A Variation from the Norm.” Figure 1 in the article shows an entire cover with a Syracuse, New York, cancel identical to mine except the killer in the photo has a numeral “1.” The Walter D. Wesson patented canceler was distinctive in having the state above the date and the time in a straight line at the bottom. Mr. Curran says this type of cancel was in widespread use. In the October, 2011, American Philatelist magazine, Wayne Youngblood wrote,“…at least twenty-eight different cities in eleven different states…” used the Wesson devices. It’s use was most common in the 1880s, but also continued beyond the turn of the century.

There are a few dozen of these Die 81 cut squares in the hoard. A few of these display this style of ellipse killer, but don’t include enough of the CDSs to identify their post offices of origin or determine if they’re Wesson’s design. Cut squares with partial CDSs can be annoying in that regard!

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Wayne Youngblood's article is online, but I kept getting errors when I tried to include a link here. It's easy to find via a Google search.

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"I no longer collect, but will never abandon the hobby"
keesindy
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13 May 2019
12:49:15am
re: Cut Squares, fancy cancels and identification of the post offices

Here are three more examples of cut squares that were cut large enough to include partial CDSs and allow identification of the originating post offices. In the case of the Battle Creek cancel, the clerk's aim was so bad he/she almost managed to get the entire CDS onto what ultimately was a very large cut square.

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In the cases of Delaware, Ohio and Sandusky, Ohio, the clerks were a little more successful in striking the intended target. If we had been left with only the very common manufactured elliptical obliterator image, we would never know where these originated. As luck would have it, their aim was bad enough to allow partial presentation of the CDSs, and that led to the identification of the post offices.

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