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United States/Covers & Postmarks : New inkjet cancels being introduced?

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11 Sep 2011
I received an unusual inkjet cancel from fellow Stamporama member Paul (precious) who I must thank for keeping me supplied with inkjet cancels outside my geographic area.

I have been collecting these cancels for quite some time now, but unfortunately missed to collect these from the very beginning. Even though I keep myself to one copy only of each style of cancel from every Processing and Distribution Center (thus, I am disregarding the machine number and L/T varieties), it is still a fairly good number of cancels to collect. Thanks to the centralization efforts of the USPS, the number of P&DCs of course is dwindling, reducing the number of specimens to collect.

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The top two cancels in the scan above represent the two common regular styles of inkjet cancels currently in use. One of these two styles, more commonly the top one, adores the mail in your area. Of course, occasionally we will get a smeared up Christmas or other illegible slogan cancels instead. The quality of these cancellations is really horrific. You have to screen many covers to find any that are as nice and neat as the ones presented above. Legible copies of the slogan varieties, for instance the Valentine's Day cancellation, basically do not exist.

Now compare the inkjet cancel at the bottom. It is clearly of a different make. The printing is much finer; the waves of the cancel are not as steep. I have only the copy shown above and another copy, also from the Richmond, VA 232, number 4 machine, but dated two months later, July 20, 2011. I assume these cancels are from a test phase of a new cancellation mechanism. Keep your eyes out for these new cancels, maybe they are soon coming to a P&DC near you. Needless to say, you should save the earliest uses. If you stick to one copy each, I estimate that there should be fewer than one hundred different locations to collect (easily identified by the three digit zip code).

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