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United States/Covers & Postmarks : A question on Minneapolis cancel

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auldstampguy
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Just one more small cover .....
06 Apr 2014
04:59:14pm
I picked up a few covers that have a Minneapolis cancel that have a number between the "Minneapolis" and the "Minn". See the number in red below:

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What are these numbers for? In this case what does the "9" indicate?

Tim.

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BobbyBarnhart
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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin
06 Apr 2014
06:20:03pm
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

That was before the Zip system, so perhaps the "postal zone"? Just a guess.

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Rhinelander
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06 Apr 2014
07:02:58pm
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

It's a machine number. Based on this cover, you should be able to find machine cancels with numbers at least ranging 1 through 9 for Minneapolis.

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smauggie
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06 Apr 2014
07:19:13pm
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

Minneapolis machine cancels of this type number up to 12 I believe. I have a number of this type but haven't gotten around to checking which ones I have. There are also some that are suffixed with the letter A, such as 1A.

Nice corner card!

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auldstampguy
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Just one more small cover .....
06 Apr 2014
10:03:35pm
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

Thanks guys. That helps. That makes the Minneapolis cancels, which are obviously very common, more interesting to collect. Antonio, have you seen any other MN post offices that use a similar machine cancel marking?

Regards ... Tim.

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smauggie
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07 Apr 2014
10:02:43am
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

Saint Paul does. Larger towns like Duluth, Rochester and Saint Cloud might have them as well.

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I still have more questions than answers
07 Apr 2014
12:26:20pm
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

They are machine numbers and they do correspond to which post office branch it was cancelled in. Up through the 60's they went up to 12. Up until the sprayed cancels we see today they did 1 through 12 and letters a through d of each number. I didn't think anyone collected these but me. I have them all. Many cities did this. Chicago has the most numbers that I have been able to assemble. They went 1 though up at least 130. (My memory is failing me and I am at the office.) I can check tonight, but someone will probably beat me to the proper answer. Although not in Minnesota I tried to assemble all the Chicago numbers a few years back. At that time I was missing three. I should pull that out again.

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Rhinelander
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07 Apr 2014
02:25:20pm
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

Pat,

From all I know, the machine numbers distinguish machines in use at the same post office. Larger post offices had more than one machine, and similar to numbered or lettered hand stamps the machine number allowed identifying problems with the machine and/or operator. Machines were also sometimes identified with letters instead of numbers.

For the Chicago Main P.O., which is indeed a fruitful field of study I also have a good run of machines letters/numbers from A to Z and 1 to perhaps 40s from the early machines in use in the 1890/1900s (mostly flag cancels and their predecessor machines). As the efficiency of machines increased , the number of concurrent machines in use (and thus highest number to be found) decreased. Machines that have letters in addition to numbers, such as 1A, 4B etc. tend to be confined to the facer-canceller machines appearing predominantly in the 1970s which had two cancelling dies per machine.

The current ink jets (mostly) also have two cancelling dies per machine, identified with the letter L and T for leading and trailing. Depending on the size of the processing center, the highest numbers can go about into the 10s, perhaps 20s (14T, possibly for instance). I have a list somewhere and could check what the highest numbers appearing from a processing center anywhere in the U.S. would be. A machine number in the triple digits would strikes me as quite unusual.

Arno

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I still have more questions than answers
07 Apr 2014
03:52:33pm
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

Arno,
That makes sense, because the branch offices really are just a drop off point and everything ends up going to the main P.O. for distribution. I am going to look for those Chicago ones tonight. I would really love to see that list you have that tells me more about this.
Pat

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I still have more questions than answers
07 Apr 2014
04:56:44pm
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

Tim,
This is totally unrelated to your post, but I remember Becken Stamp shop from your cover. I think it was around up until some time in the 70's.
Pat

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I still have more questions than answers
10 Apr 2014
10:52:31pm
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

I still think Chicago went above 130 in their machine numbers. The highest I can find with a quick search is 126. I will look again later.
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I still have more questions than answers
11 Apr 2014
08:14:48am
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

Smauggie,
This reminds me, Do you remember once upon a time in a land far, far away you were looking at some of my Minneapolis covers and said that I should do something with them? Well, I did. I started a collection of Minneapolis covers. I spent about four months organizing them and they are now in three volumes. I did a presentation of them to the Collector's Club last August and it was very well received. Thanks for the motivation. I just had them sitting around in shoe boxes. I started working on St. Paul, but it is not coming together as nicely. It keeps getting set aside for other projects.
Pat

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Caprica
27 Apr 2014
07:07:31am
re: A question on Minneapolis cancel

Hello All,
The above posts are most interesting about machine cancels especially Rhinelanders' post.
I have asked the USPS about these numbers but they ignore me.

I collect cds and have many from Chicago and I too want to know the conversion of machine number to actual location where the cancel was done. I like seeing where the stamps came from.

Is there any website or publication where I can see this conversion for any US state?
Any help that any one can give would be greatly appreciated!

I've got about 400 US cds that I need to research. If you have any readable cds with postage stamps (SON, or offstamp) up to 1979 that you do not want, I would like to have them. I'll even pay the cost of posting to Australia.

Cheers


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