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United States/Covers & Postmarks : What is special about this 1887 postal card?

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Rhinelander
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13 Dec 2008
04:20:51pm
Let's see what you think about this one.
According to my 2002 Scott specialized catalog, this postal card # UX9 is valued at $0.55 in used condition. Here are the front and back of the card:

my picture
my picture1

Question: Which aspect of this card considerably increases its collectible value? If you don't know the answer, you may guess and I will give hints.

I would love to say that whoever gets it right gets to keep the card, but I can't do that. So the reward are my kudos only.
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Teisler
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
13 Dec 2008
07:00:43pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Does this have anything to do with the importance of the animal (bitching) in question? Is it a show dog or the son of a triple crown winner or some such? I'm guessing, of course.

David

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Boston_bob
13 Dec 2008
07:34:13pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Sent before Issued?

Bob

P.S. How many kudos to the dollar?

(Message edited by Boston_Bob on December 13, 2008)

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Rhinelander
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14 Dec 2008
09:12:30am
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Wow, this is fun, so far we have . . . . nothing.

@ David

No. I am not aware that the message on the card has any historical significance and would add to its collectible appeal.

@ Bob

a) No. UX9 was issued December 1, 1886. The above card is dated December 16, 1887. Good try, though.

b) I have seen very similar cards offered for twentyfive kudos (=dollars).

What else?

Arno

(Message edited by rhinelander on December 14, 2008)

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Boston_bob
14 Dec 2008
09:50:39am
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Ok Arno,

So I don't have much to do today, and this is the best amusement so far.

I'm thinking that it's either:

A.) That guy in the circle really isn't who he's
supposed to be. (Jefferson isn't it?)
or

B.) It's that postmark with the "C"

I'll go with B.

Please send my kudos without delay! :-)

Bob

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Rhinelander
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14 Dec 2008
10:17:53am
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

@ Bob

A) I agree. I have never seen a poorer depiction of George Washington, but all of these postal cards are like that. -- So no added collectors' value in this respect.

B) What makes you think that?

Arno

(Message edited by rhinelander on December 14, 2008)

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Rhinelander
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14 Dec 2008
10:20:13am
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Just to be sure: Above was a joke. Of course, it is Jefferson. ;)

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Joshtanski
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14 Dec 2008
11:10:38am
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

I'm curious to know if the C in the cancel has any special meaning as well. Is it one of the earlier types of duplex cancels?

Josh

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Rhinelander
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14 Dec 2008
11:34:35am
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

@ Josh

A.) Yes. The C has a special meaning. And extra kudos may be earned for finding out what it means. However, focusing on the "C" is slightly missing the point. It would be highly unusal if there was anything but a "C" in this postmark.

B.) No. It is not an earlier type of duplex cancel.

I hope this is getting interesting now . . .

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Bobstamp
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14 Dec 2008
01:24:00pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Does the existence of the ÒN.J.Ó rather than a time indicia (indicum?) have anything to do with your question?

Bob

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Rhinelander
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14 Dec 2008
01:49:47pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Ok. Following up on the letters. While you are all still thinking hard about the postal card, I am presenting you with a little side challenge.

Here is a 1908 cover from Worcester, Mass., with one of the most common types of US cancellations one may come across:

my picture

I will later tell you a little more about this specific cancellation. For now, here is a detail of the postmark:

my picture1

Please note the small lettter inserted in a space in the left portion of the bottom two waves of the canceller. It is a 'T'. Since Josh brought up the potential significance of the letter 'C' in the cancellation of the postal card, here is my Sunday challenge:

Check your US (or Canadian) covers and postcards from the period from approx. 1905 to well into the 1920 and see if you can find other cancellations that look exactly like the above specimen from Worcester. Such cancels should be easy to find. Let's see how many different letters in the cancellation you can come up with.

Again, the cancellation must be identical, i.e., must be the same wavy line cancel, it can be from any town, and we are looking for different letters. Scans of your finds to be posted in this thread. (Information on how to post pictures is under "formatting" in the side bar to the left, scroll down to the section "images" -- it is really easy).

I don't know if this gets us any closer to the solution of the intial question, but let's see . . . ;)

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Rhinelander
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14 Dec 2008
02:01:08pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

@ Bob

I was writing my above message, while you posted yours.

Good observation. The year slug is missing in the postmark. Such errors, i.e. missing time/date/year, up side down insertion of slugs in postmark, and other careless clerk errors, may make an item more appealing to a postmark or cover collector. In this case: No it is not what makes this card a very collectible piece.

It is something about the postmark though . . .

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Boston_bob
14 Dec 2008
03:19:13pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

I'm not much into cancellations, postcards, covers, etc. (duh...ya think?) but I was just wondering what the cancellation is cancelling? Is there something missing here...like a stamp?

Ok, ok, I'll turn in my membership card at the door.

Bob

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Patches
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Liz
14 Dec 2008
03:57:28pm

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re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Re the first card that is shown at the beginning of this post.

There is no year showing in the postmark. Is this normal?

We can presume that it was posted in 1887 by the date written on the message.

Imagine a card today being sent to Hartford Conn without a street address.

Is the signature on the card some famous person's signature or does the company's name has some significance?


Liz

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Rhinelander
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14 Dec 2008
04:47:28pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

@ Boston_Bob

The cancellation is cancelling the postal card. See the "One Cent" under Jefferson's head?. This is the imprinted "stamp." Modern postal stationary that already comes "stamped" in the form of the postage being printed on the card or cover has the "stamp" printed in the upper right hand side as is convention these days. Back in the days the stamp could be anywhere. So again: This is not unusal. Please keep your member card, though. If this was easy, I would not have kicked off the discussion.

@ Liz

Hello. And thanks for chiming in.

A. Bobstamp already brought up the missing year-date. Yes. I fully agree, a missing year-date can be unusal and add to the value -- provided the cancellation actually normally has a year-date. In this particular case, I would have to say that the missing year is not uncommon, if not to say the rule. I actually would have to research that. So good point, but it is not what makes this piece interesting per se.

B. Yes. There is no street address. Again, good observation, but I believe this is fairly common for mail matter of that time period.

C. I have no idea. Is it a famous person or company?

@ all
I hope you are still searching for those cancellations with those letters. I swear: If you have any US covers or postcards posted in any town of size from 1900 to 1925, there are VERY good chances that these will have a cancel like the one shown from Worcester. I am not sending you on a wild goose chase.

To move forward on the postal card -- because I don't want to cause you sleepless nights --
Josh said, it might be an early Duplex cancel. I said no. So what else is it?

(Message edited by rhinelander on December 14, 2008)

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Boston_bob
14 Dec 2008
05:15:38pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

ZZZZZzzzzzzzz........

Time to come clean, Arno.

Bob

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Teisler
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
14 Dec 2008
07:15:18pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

any chance that this is the first use of metal or machined cancels?

I'm enjoying this immensely and appreciate the observations and the very kind way that Arno continuously corrects us; would that he were as generous with his clues

David

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Musicman
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14 Dec 2008
07:26:56pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Arno,

You must be doin' good; Boston Bob is the only one being put to sleep here.

'Scuse me while I go look thru my 1900 - 25 year date covers.....


Randy B.

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Boston_bob
14 Dec 2008
07:53:39pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Excuuuuuuuuse me Musicman!

This is my fifth post on the subject.

DOES THIS SEEM LIKE I'M SLEEPING? :-)

Along with David and others, I've been trying to coax hints from him from the start using different strategies. None of which have seemed to work.

Bob

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Teisler
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14 Dec 2008
08:01:22pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Boston Bob and me are equally shameless in our equally futile quest for clues while we alternate in our public humiliation. NY's Lottery is up to $170 M; which is tougher? Guessing Arno's cover or capturing the big prize?

Incidentally, half of what I know about cancels I've learned from Arno; when done, i'm guessing he;ll be accounting for about 55% of my cancel knowledge.

David

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Boston_bob
14 Dec 2008
09:30:45pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

David: Couldn't have said it better.
Arno: I can't wait to learn more.

"... and so to sleep, perchance to dream..." (but not about cancels, I hope)

Good show all,

Bob

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Rhinelander
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15 Dec 2008
12:27:44am
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Folks,
I had a crazy evening. Something came up and I am posting this now from Richmond after a three hour drive from Eastern North Carolina where we live. In addition, I had some inexplicable error message when I got here and tried to access the message board. Maybe Tim was fixing something in the background. In any event, it is all back to normal now. Please everybody accept my apologies if I have annoyed you. It was certainly not my intention.

Let's leave the question what those letters in the cancellations mean open for now. I promise, I will get back to it.

David was getting really close with his last statement "first use of metal or machined cancel."

It is indeed a Leavitt machine cancellation. Thomas Leavitt of Boston invented the first succesful machine to be used continuously in the US for the cancelling of mail matter. His machines saw use from 1875 to 1892 in a large number of major cities. The cancels are highly collectible. Because I am away from home now, I am unable to scan and show a few more of these postmarks for purposes of illustration. I will get back to this as soon as I can. I again apologize for the anti-climactic way this is ending.

The "football"-style canceller is a trademark of Leavitt cancellations. There are also other styles. But this style is interesting (and challenging), because its machine pedigree certainly does not jump at you. Much to the opposite the cancellation is not readily distinguishable from duplex hand cancels of this period. Here are some hints: Machine cancels were made for rapid cancelling. Because of the increased wear, postmarking machines always have steel dies which create a "sharp" impression. Furthermore, because of the automatic feeding mechanism, the orientation of machine cancels is always very much parallel to the edge of the card or cover. Look at the card again with this knowledge. Doesn't the cancel now really look like from a machine?

The Leavitt "football"-style cancel always has exactly eight bars. Duplex cancels usually have more than eight bars. Again, I wish I could show examples.

The inventions of Thomas Leavitt constituted a major breakthrough in the automization of mail marking. However, we are still quite at the beginning of the evolution of such machinery. Considering the historical time line, we are in the midst of the industrial revolution. The automobil was invented in 1885, I believe. The Leavitt machines were far from perfect and did not handle mixed mail matter of varying thickness and lengths very well. Accordingly, they saw almost exclusive use for the cancellation of standardized governmental issued postal cards.

http://www.postalhistorystore.com/servlet/the-3965/Leavitt-Machine-cancel-B/Detail

http://www.postalhistorystore.com/servlet/the-17758/UX6-International-Postal-card/Detail

It is way past midnight now. Well, take a second look at your postal card 1875-1892. Who knows what you may discover.

Arno

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Boston_bob
15 Dec 2008
07:43:30am
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Arno,

A sincere thank you for a wonderful educational experience. I wish there were more discussions such as this in which to participate.

Best regards to a fellow North Carolinian,

Bob

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Teisler
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15 Dec 2008
04:21:26pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Arno,

the next question that strikes me (no pun, sorry) is: are all duplex footballs Leavitt devices, or did other manufacturers copy the look of the device.

Like BB, I, too, thoroughly enjoyed this and profited from it (intellectually speaking).

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Rhinelander
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15 Dec 2008
11:45:54pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

@ Boston_bob

Thank you. I have quite a few more items that I believe would make for educational and interesting discussion. I like these discussions, too, and will certainly initate a few more. We are not quite done with this one, though. Specifically, I am actually surprised that no other cancellations of the above "Worcester-style" have turned up.

@ David

Kudos have been dutifully sent in the general direction of "north of here."

Yes. Machine cancellations where the canceller is a football are Leavitt. It is the most common Leavitt type. Like I said, I will show a few more of these cancels including some other Leavit types as soon as I get my hands on a scanner again. These cancels can be confused with duplex hand cancels, but really not so much with other machine cancels.

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Teisler
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16 Dec 2008
05:48:47pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

it is fascinating. I never knew the football cancels, that dominate in the first half of the 20th century, by any name other than football duplex, and knew nothing of their history. Year dates are common today, but were rare in the 1850s and early 1860s (making it difficult to date occupied confederate territory or is that reconstruction Mobile?).

I hope I'm not ruining the next installment of "the Strike".

David

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Rhinelander
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17 Dec 2008
07:51:54am
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

Ok, here are some more Leavitt cancellations with this football design Albany, NY, Buffalo, NY, and San Francisco, CA:



Unfortunately, ink starved cancellations are the rule. If you look thes above examples over, you should observe that the orientation of the postmark is a good help to discern Leavitts. The postmark has to be very much parallel to the top edge of the card. Strikes of hand cancellations are generally not like that.

I mentioned other styles of this type of postmark. Here is one example from Baltimore and also a Baltimore "football." (Actually the football cancels are referred to as type "B" in the literature).



A good number of experimental Leavitt cancel are seldom seen. The really rare ones are the ones used on cover, when attempts to manufacture a machine that could handle letters of varying sizes were still ongoing. Leavitt cancels on governmental postcards can be found much more easily.

(Message edited by rhinelander on March 25, 2011)

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Rhinelander
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25 Mar 2011
09:32:25pm
re: What is special about this 1887 postal card?

I picked this one up on our auction last week. The ones from Boston are among the more common Leavitt cancels. It is an above average clear cancel and I am happy I was able to add it to my small collection of Leavitts. This subtype is characterized by the missing year date. The date on the back of the card states "Feb 7, 1889," but it has to be 1881 or 1882.

my leavitt

(Message edited by rhinelander on March 25, 2011)

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