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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Stampless Army Cover

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davefor
15 Feb 2013
02:50:22pm
Hi can anyone tell me about this cover? Looks like 10-16-1918 stampless US Army stamp. I couldn't find anything in the specialized Cat. Thanks for your help. Any idea on a value? Dave




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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
16 Feb 2013
10:49:07am

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re: Stampless Army Cover

Dave you won't find anything on it in Scott, if that's what you're asking. I can check the APO later to determine the unit, and once you know the unit, you can see what they are doing. if the unit is storied or engaged in something fierce at the moment, it might up the value, but i see these all the time in the dollar box.

Do you need an explanation for why it's stampless?

David

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lisagrant87
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It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. - Aristotle Onassis
16 Feb 2013
10:55:57am
re: Stampless Army Cover

David,
I would like to know why it's stampless.

Lisa

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"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou"

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
16 Feb 2013
01:20:17pm

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re: Stampless Army Cover

ah, curiosity,

I don't know when the free franking privileges for the military began in the US, but there is a tradition, at least since the second year of US involvement in the first world war, that allowed for the free mailing of any letter at the first class rate for soldiers serving in theatre. I believe this was also extended to troops in training.

Special services, such as registry, air mail, insurance, parcel post, etc., aren't covered, but first class mail is, and has been.

During the American Civil War, the USPOD allowed federal troops to send mail collect, meaning the recipient paid (this HAD been the way mail was sent up until about 1851, or thereabouts, although the sender always had the option to prepay). I believe that at the beginning of the first world war, soldiers were still required to prepay mail, and a special printing of the 1c and 2c WFs were issued (called AEF panes).

Today, US troops are allowed to use free franking in Iraq, Afghanistan. I saw that the privileged was recently rescinded for the Balkans.

Hope that helps, or at least starts things

David

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davefor
16 Feb 2013
02:32:00pm
re: Stampless Army Cover

Thanks David

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lisagrant87
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It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. - Aristotle Onassis
16 Feb 2013
06:23:57pm
re: Stampless Army Cover

Thank you, David! I've been curious and asked a ton of questions my whole life. Some find it irritating....I call it learning!

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Rhinelander
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17 Feb 2013
02:26:37am
re: Stampless Army Cover

WWI was a transformational event for Europe, but overall it did not affect the U.S. much. It is the "forgotten war" in the U.S. You can easily verify this in any used book store where you will find just a couple of books on WWI sandwiched in between several shelves on the Civil War and WWII. In 2000, Time magazin named the "Person of the Century" accompanied by an informal online poll. I put in the person who should be the man of the 20th century by any account, Gavrilo Princip. Albert Einstein won nevertheless.

The muted American interest in WWI is reflected in -- by my observation -- relatively fewer collector's of WWI postal history than WWII and a dearth of literature. The book to have is Van Dam's, Postal History of the AEF, 2nd edition. It dates to 1990. It is the best (and only) there is, but has may shortcomings in the cataloging of AEF postal markings. An all new approach is needed. I hope that the upcoming WWI centenary will revive interest and perhaps we will be getting that much needed new book.

The US entered WWI April 6, 1917. With few exceptions, the first American units arrived in France not until June. Overall, the US was ill prepared for the war. Essentially, an army had to be build by means of a draft. The absence of a solid contingency plan for a large scale military postal service was just a minor part of the enormous challenge of creating a real fighting force almost from scratch (and quick). The regular army only had around 125,000 men at the time of the declaration of war, suplemented by about the same number of national guard troops. So it was not only until almost a year later when American troops began to arrive and see action in France in quantity. By the end of the war November 11, 1918, the US Army encompassed about 4 million men plus 800,000 men serving in the Navy.

Free franking privileges were conferred on soldier's serving in foreign countries by act of Congress on Ocober 4, 1917 and lasted until October 20, 1920. So, there was no free franking privilege for soldiers' domestic mail (an excellent book by Bob Swanson exists on WWI US domestic mail).

The cover shown is quite typical for an American WWI soldier's mail cover. APO 715 corresponds to the 42nd Division. In all the U.S. operated 169 army post offices during WWI, 114 were stationary, used by various units in or passing through the area, and 55 mobile APOs attached to larger formations (armies, corps, and divisions). The cover is an example of the latter.

Arno


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