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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Interesting Rochester, New York Precancels

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Tom in Exton, PA
27 Nov 2019
I find it interesting when I find covers that came from one source, at different times and places. I have some in my New Jersey collection, where postmark collectors had serviced a ton of covers. But here's a story of commercial covers all somehow surviving some 120 years and ending up in my collection in Pennsylvania!

Part of collecting the Ben Franklin issue of 1902 is finding the precancels on cover. As they were junk mail, assume that the majority of them got tossed out. So I grab them when I see them at a reasonable price.

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These first two items were mailed to the very same person in Switzerland! It uses one Franklin stamp for postage. The second one, which arrived here yesterday, was listed as being part of a newspaper wrapper. No doubt due to the poor quality paper.

When I went into my album I found the other two items. Yes, I knew I had the Rochester precancel on cover, but I bought the latest one because it was very cheap.

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Then I looked twice at the final cover. Note that it's from the same mailer and to Switzerland. And it's on that same poor quality paper, but it's an envelope! So now I have deduced that all three of these were probably envelopes and someone cut down the first two to just fronts, which was a collecting style way back.

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So we have three of a kind! Think of the odds of them all getting back together again, or even three of these surviving!

And the question is, how was this a one cent rate? True the US open circular rate was one cent, but I don't see Switzerland on my postal treaty list of countries where we had extended the local rates. Anyone know?

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