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United States/Covers & Postmarks : An early pre cancel

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Webpaper
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27 Nov 2018
10:37:39am
When you find a stamp with a "brush" precancel it is often kind of a guessing game as to where it is from.

This early cover would be the same way were it not for the enclosed note which is from the postmaster in Gerry NY requesting that the postmaster in Ellington NY post the notice enclosed in the envelope.

Interesting both as a postal history piece as well as a precancel and serves to identify Gerry NY as an office that used precancels for what is now considered 3rd class mail.

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vinman
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27 Nov 2018
01:14:28pm
re: An early pre cancel

Nice find!
I collect early precancels and it nice to find them on cover, especially what is called a silent precancel. I have several in my collection on cover and quite a few off cover. Your cancel is not listed in"Silent Precancels" by David Smith, published in 2016.
Here is the contact information if you want to add it to the list of known precancels.
I made a scan and added to my book.
Vince

David W. Smith
P.O. Box 64
Trumansburg, NY 14886-0064
Precancelsmith@aol.com

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smauggie
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27 Nov 2018
03:10:40pm
re: An early pre cancel

While the stamp does appear to have been cancelled prior to being affixed to the envelope I am not sure this qualifies as a pre-cancel. I am pretty sure that was done as a time-saving practice and may have been done in violation of postal requirements for cancellation.

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canalzonepostalhistory.wordpress.com
Webpaper
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27 Nov 2018
04:09:49pm
re: An early pre cancel

Quote:

"While the stamp does appear to have been cancelled prior to being affixed to the envelope I am not sure this qualifies as a pre-cancel. I am pretty sure that was done as a time-saving practice and may have been done in violation of postal requirements for cancellation."



Cole calls it a precancel (pgs 198-199) and shows several examples (see below). I remember APS had an article on them although I can't lay my hands on it right now and I believe that several examples were shown either in Billigs or one of the early PMCC (Post Mark Collectors Club) publications. Will try to locate the articles later.

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vinman
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27 Nov 2018
04:10:51pm
re: An early pre cancel

The definition of a precancel is a stamp cancelled prior to entering the mail stream. It was mostly done for convenience, although it was also done for accounting purposes. There are examples of precancels being used as early as 1861. I would like to know what David Smith would call this cancel.

Vince

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Webpaper
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27 Nov 2018
04:39:24pm
re: An early pre cancel

Quote:

"I would like to know what David Smith would call this cancel."



I will be mailing him a copy tomorrow to see if it should be added to the list of known uses ....
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Webpaper
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30 Nov 2018
08:22:08am
re: An early pre cancel

I emailed David Smith and he was happy with the "find" identifying a new silent precancel from a small town.

He stated "Next edition will include it as Gerry Type A ".

Thanks for the information

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pigdoc
30 Nov 2018
08:55:51am
re: An early pre cancel

Webpaper,

The compulsive researcher in me wants to know two things about this cover:
- What year was it posted?
- What was the "notice" to be posted?

I note that both post-offices (Ellington and Gerry) are still in operation today. They are located about 8 miles apart. Very interestingly, Gerry seems to have been discontinued between 1869 and 1873. The 1880 issue of the Official Register (published July, 1881) shows a S. E. Palmer as the PM for Gerry, not E. M. Sandy. (The PM for Ellington is shown as Sardius Frisbee.) Unless, of course, E. M. Sandy was not the PM.

The stamp appears to be Scott 134 or 145, making the earliest year this cover could have been posted 1870. Can you tell if the stamp has the 'secret mark', making it Scott 156? In that case, the earliest date would be 1873. Given that Gerry was apparently not in operation during the tenure of these stamps until 1873, I would expect the stamp to either be a late usage of 134 or 145, or be 156.

Bottom line, I suppose, is that we can peg this cover to have been posted between Dec 31, 1873 and Dec 31, 1879.

-Paul

PS, the salary earned by S. E. Palmer for 1880 was only $166.05. So, it would seem unlikely that he had a clerk...

PPS, the other unasked question about this cover is, Why did it not go as 'free' mail?

PPPS, During this era, the position of PM was occupied by a person riding the coattails of the political party in power. So, as the dominant political party changed, often, so did the PM. So, PMs tended to have short tenures. Knowing presidential politics in the 1870s (I don't) may shed some light on when the PM position changed hands...

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ikeyPikey
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30 Nov 2018
10:53:52am
re: An early pre cancel

Quote:

"... PS, the salary earned by S. E. Palmer for 1880 was only $166.05. So, it would seem unlikely that he had a clerk ..."



My encyclopedic knowledge of 19th Century salary scales is incomplete, but I can google ...

https://libraryguides.missouri.edu/pricesandwages/1880-1889

A salary of U$D 166.05 per month was well above the typical U$D 2-4 per day paid to skilled laborers, suggesting a supervisor-level wage, and allowing plenty of room for a lower-paid clerk.

A salary of U$D 166.05 per year suggests part-time work.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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Webpaper
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30 Nov 2018
10:57:54am
re: An early pre cancel

Will try to catch everything here

What year was it posted?

It's a Scott #206 so it would be in the 1880's.

What was the "notice" to be posted?

Does not state what it is

Gerry seems to have been discontinued between 1869 and 1873

Gerry actually had (2) derivations as follows

Saint Clairsville (1822-1825) Gerry (1825-1869) Sinclairville (1869 to date), and

Vermont (1826-1873) Gerry (1873 to date)

--------------------

Cannot find a PM by the name of E.M. Sandy in Chautauqua County but did find a preacher named E.M. Sandy who belonged to the Genesee Conference which included the church in Gerry.


Whether or not Sidney Palmer had a clerk or not it is possible that E.M. Sandy held a contract for delivery of mail (if provided by the PO) or possibly as a substitute in the event Mr. Palmer became sick (not sure when that started either).

Why didn't it go as "Free" mail - good question since it is in an "OFFICIAL" envelope. Could it have been a church bulletin or other notice that precluded it being sent free ?? Afraid that will probably remain unanswered.

As for the position of Postmaster being political that occurred well into the middle of the last century. In the 1930's my great uncle was postmaster in a small Vermont town with -0- registered Democrats. When Roosevelt was elected he registered as a Democrat to keep his job (fact). During the next election cycle when the votes were being tallied there were two votes for Roosevelt and one of the local electors said "The SOB must have voted twice!" (nice story - could be true).

My grandmother was Postmistress in a different small town in Vermont in the 50's and 60's and when Kennedy was elected it was strongly suggested she switch parties which she refused to do. She kept her job anyway so there had been some progress.


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pigdoc
30 Nov 2018
11:04:05am
re: An early pre cancel

(double-checking column headings and footnotes in Official Register)

Nope, that $166.05 was what the PM of Gerry, NY earned for the entire year of 1880.
In today's dollars, roughly $5313.92. Just roughly. Presuming a 3% inflation rate.

I used the Rule of 72s.

:-)
-Paul

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pigdoc
30 Nov 2018
11:11:00am
re: An early pre cancel

GREAT response, Webpaper!!!

It might be taken as proof that the cover contained an unofficial notice to be posted by the presence of the 1c stamp on it!

However, that still doesn't absolve the sender of using official government property (the Official envelope) to conduct non-official business. But, I like your hypothesis!

(Maybe that's where the $300 penalty came from!)

I love how a homely little piece of paper can inspire such a RICH story!

-Paul

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pigdoc
30 Nov 2018
03:20:29pm
re: An early pre cancel

Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS on making a contribution to the body of postal history knowledge!

Interesting how this kind of knowledge accumulates in such tiny increments, and by serendipity. Like, if the enclosure wasn't there, we would not have known how to attribute the precanceling.

-Paul

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