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United States/Covers & Postmarks : A New Jersey Postal Adventure!

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
28 Sep 2021
09:20:31pm
When hobbies co-exist in harmony? Maybe!

I got a call late last week from a fellow in New Jersey who was giving up car modeling. He is 75 and cannot see well enough to build anymore, and arthritis in his hands makes it painful. He knows about my local club, and appreciated attending our annual show. He calls to donate his remaining hoard of kits to our club. So today I drove from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to pick up this collection. We will use the sealed kits for our raffle at next year's show. And I'll share the opened and played with stuff with our club members! He was pleased, he wanted it all to go to good use and not the landfill!

Jim is in South River, NJ. I'm familiar with that area and my Waze program knew exactly where he lived! We had a nice visit. Jim has his finished model cars in wall mounted display cases in his living room. He built some of them in the late 1950s, so it was a treat to see them!

I haven't been on a postmark run in nearly two years, mainly due to Covid. I went into my car's glovebox looking for my owners manual, and I saw my envelope full of stuff used to chase postmarks.... hmmm!

It was already noon by the time I left Jim's place and I wasn't all that prepared. I knew I was near the town of Edison and one elusive postmark... a contract post office in Devine's Pharmacy. It was listed as only being open full days on weekdays, so I hadn't been there. And a handstamp from a contract post office would never be found in the mail or on eBay... the only way to get one was to go and fetch it! So we were off!

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Exhibit One - "Contract Postal Unit" Edison, NJ! on one of my postcards! The listing on USPS.Com calls it CPU Devine's Pharmacy and lists the hours as 9:30am-2:00pm and 2:30pm-5:30pm. I was fortunate to arrive at 1:30pm, because a handwritten sign said the hours were now 12:00pm to 2:00pm and 2:30pm to 5:00pm. Ya never know when chasing postmarks!

I was fortunate that the older gentleman at the counter was very nice. He understood my request and allowed me to guide him to the proper location for the postmark. He apologized for the light cancel, saying he was going to have to reink their only device, but there wasn't much call to stamp things. That confirms just how rare the markings are! I had been thinking about this one for a long time, and now it is done! I have no idea how long this office has been active, it wasn't listed in any of my resources, I added it from the USPS.Com website. Nobody at the pharmacy knew either!

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Then I headed south to the Ernston Station of the Parlin post office. To add to the confusion this is actually in Sayreville, NJ... I know that because my son in law's brother is a cop there. There is no Ernston section of the town, best I can figure is the office was named after the road it is located on.

Again, a post mark I've been thinking about for a while. The office has been active since 1970 and is difficult to get to. A highway project on the corner of Ernston Road and Route 9 did a highway overpass over Ernston Road and pretty much destroyed any access in or out of the little strip mall where the post office is located. In fact Waze had a hard time, and directed me into a dirt parking area behind it. I had to walk in!

The lady behind the counter was very friendly and not only granted me my postmarks, but handed me the device and a piece of paper to practice. And I was able to do perfect postmarks! Note I said postmark"s", since these were tough to get units, I hand cancelled 3 cards at each location, knowing I could share or trade them with others in the postmark club.

I was on a roll! But at the same time it was 2:30pm and I was two hours from home. I wanted to get through the Pennsylvania Turnpike before rush hour, so I headed home! It was a good day and I can scratch these two postal units off my bucket list!

No post in this series is good without a recap! These two markings brings me to 984 unique cancellations out of 2220 possible for a 44.32% completion.




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philb
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29 Sep 2021
04:52:02pm

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re: A New Jersey Postal Adventure!

You are a digger !

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
30 Sep 2021
12:48:40pm
re: A New Jersey Postal Adventure!

Thanks Phil!

Since I posted this, I checked both my database and the USPS.COM site to see what other contract post offices I was missing. I found 4 in lower Monmouth County / Upper Ocean County that were fairly close together. I printed it out and put it in my envelope that sits in my glove box. Next trip to NJ, I may visit these!

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