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United States/Covers & Postmarks : What the heck?!

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Bobstamp
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31 Aug 2018
11:24:08pm
I received this Hawaii cover yesterday from Stamporama member "bulldog". It was apparently posted by a crew member of U.S.S. Philadelphia, which was the flagship of the fleet that attended the ceremonies in which Hawaii became a territory of the United States. Note how the address is "cut off" at the bottom:

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However, the address wasn't actually cut off. It continues on a flap of paper that is folded over. Here's an image of the back of the cover:

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Here's the same image, upside down so you can easily read it:

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Now it gets interesting. If you unfold the flap, this is what you see:

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Here's the same image, upside down:

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I thought that the flap might have been glued onto the envelope to provide space for the full address, but no, that's not the case. The flap is part of the envelope, which is watermarked with the word "LINEN" and thin parallel, diagonal lines that extend without a break into the flap.

The partial postmark under the flap appears to be a receiver, but it raises a question: HUH?! What the heck is going on? How did half of a receiver postmark end up under a flap that was, apparently, glued down. Or something. This is perhaps one of the most puzzling covers I have ever come across. Any ideas?

Bob

P.S. A photograph of U.S.S. Philadelphia and a bit more information about the ship, adapted from Wikipedia:

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The protected cruiser* U.S.S.Philadelphia[/i …became the flagship of Rear Admiral J. N. Miller, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Station. She steamed from San Francisco 2 July, 1898 to participate in the ceremonies attending the assumption of sovereignty by the United States over the Hawaiian Islands. The [i]Philadelphia arrived at Honolulu 3 August, 1898 and nine days hence her officers and those of the steam sloop Mohican, with a force under arms from the two warships, represented the U.S. Navy at the ceremonies transferring the Hawaiian Islands to the United States.



* The protected cruiser is a type of naval cruiser of the late 19th century, so known because its armoured deck offered protection for vital machine spaces from fragments caused by exploding shells above. Protected cruisers were an alternative to the armoured cruisers, which also had a belt of armour along the sides.




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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
01 Sep 2018
10:02:53am
re: What the heck?!

First, I'll mention that ships didn't get their own cancellations until 1908. Thus the creation of this cover as outgoing mail.

I think the explanation is quite simple. It was an oversize cover. A collector cut it down to fit in an album. He cut off the back portion and folded over and glued the front so the address wouldn't be lost.

Follow the lines of the bottom folds on the back flap. They don't reach the corners like they should. Project that line downward to see how much of the envelope was cut off.



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Also see that the back flap portion was cut off irregularly. See cut above the backstamp

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jbaxter5256
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01 Sep 2018
10:31:55am
re: What the heck?!

Great diagnosis on this one! I am fairly sure you nailed it completely.

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Bobstamp
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03 Sep 2018
11:15:13pm
re: What the heck?!

Thank you, Tom (BenFrank!in1902)! As jbaxter256 said, you nailed it. And I'm rather embarrassed that I had to ask the question! I think that the cover's story was just a bit too obvious. All I could imagine was endless speculation.

Bob

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pigdoc
04 Sep 2018
08:45:40am
re: What the heck?!

Still, it is rather appalling that someone would modify the artifact to fit the display, rather than adjust the display to preserve the history (receiver date cut off).

To me, the time interval from mailing to receipt is one of the most interesting aspects of covers like these - particularly when interceded by an ocean...and a hotly contested annexation!

-Paul

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StampCollector
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04 Sep 2018
07:11:35pm
re: What the heck?!

Here's another one, who needs to check what's inside, the goods are on the outside!Image Not Found

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pigdoc
04 Sep 2018
07:30:44pm
re: What the heck?!

Hey Tony,

Shuffle on over to this thread:
https://stamporama.com/discboard/disc_main.php?action=22&id=150567#150567

I just put a new posting up on it.

-Paul

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
07 Sep 2018
02:02:43pm
re: What the heck?!

Quote:

"Still, it is rather appalling that someone would modify the artifact to fit the display, rather than adjust the display to preserve the history (receiver date cut off).

To me, the time interval from mailing to receipt is one of the most interesting aspects of covers like these - particularly when interceded by an ocean...and a hotly contested annexation!"



Just think about all the used USA Zeppelin stamps! I see them with bits of the flown rubber stamp cachets on them, which means some numb-nutt destroyed flown covers to fit the stamp into the little box in their album!
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Bobstamp
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07 Sep 2018
04:54:34pm
re: What the heck?!

It doesn't surprise me that a collector in decades gone by would have been ignorant of the "rules" regarding the collecting of covers. What surprises me is that the cover survived at all.

When I was a kid collector, I bought one or two first day covers, but I was unaware that collecting covers was a thing. In fact, it wasn't until I started collecting again, in my late 30s, that I became aware of the appeal of cover collecting when a dealer offered me an interesting air mail special delivery cover that had been posted from Terrace, BC to Hawaii, and returned. It had at least a dozen postmarks on it, including RPO postmarks. The dealer sold it to me for a dollar; several years later I traded it for $100 in merchandise from another dealer.

In the 15 years or so that I was associated with the British Columbia Philatelic society, I saw a steady decline in interest in stamps and a steady increase in the interest in covers.

Bob

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