S.S. Tahiti

Written by on July 12, 2020 in Lancaster, Presentations with 0 Comments

A presentation on the S.S. Tahiti by Dr. Charles DiComo.

Postmarks and Cancellations

Written by on July 5, 2020 in Presentations with 0 Comments

Thanks to Tony Zingale and the Hamilton Township Philatelic Society for allowing us to share his presentation. Click here to see more interesting presentations on their site!

Postmarks and Cancellations
Kutztown, PA

Kutztown, PA

Written by on June 29, 2020 in Berks with 0 Comments

Have you ever noticed in Kay & Smith’s, Pennsylvania Postal History that the listing for Kutztown is spelled Cootstown from 1805-1835 and Kutztown 1835-present? Both names are pronounced the same, if you are “a little Dutch.“

George (Coots) Kutz purchased 130 acres of land that became Kutztown on June 16, 1755, from Peter Wentz who owned much of what is now Maxatawny Township. Kutz first laid out his plans for the town in 1779. The first lots in the new town of Cootstown (later renamed Kutztown) were purchased in 1785 by Adam Dietrich and Henry Schweier. The town was located on the Easton Road, a main road in colonial Pennsylvania, and was a lodging place for many travelers as it was a one-day ride from both Reading and Allentown. Kutztown was incorporated as a borough on April 7, 1815.

SCARCE POSTAL RATE OF 6 ¼ CENTS

SCARCE POSTAL RATE OF 6 ¼ CENTS

Written by on June 28, 2020 in Featured with 0 Comments

 

The Six-and-a-Quarter Cent Rate

Per the Act of Congress passed April 9, 1816, a single-sheet letter traveling less than 30 miles would be rated at 6 cents (United States Statutes at Large).

However, a small number of covers posted 1816 – 1845 show the rate of 6 ¼ cents. This unusual rate comes from the Spanish real, used in some parts of the US and the Republic of Texas through the mid-19th century. One real was 1/8th of a Spanish silver dollar, or 12 ½ cents US. Half of this denomination, the ‘medio real’ or ‘picayune’, was valued at 6 ¼ cents US. The division of the silver dollar into ‘pieces of eight’ could also be called ‘bits’. Hence, 2 bits would make a 25 cent quarter, and a half bit would represent 6 ¼ cents. (American Stampless Cover Catalog, “The 6-¼¢ Rate”)

In regions where medio real or half bit coinage was in common use, the 6 ¼ rate was considered a ‘rate of convenience,’ as it conveniently matched a denomination that customers would have readily available. The postmaster would write the rate of payment on the cover at the amount paid to simplify the exchange.

Shortages of circulating coinage, particularly during recessions like the Panic of 1837, resulted in banknotes bearing the 6 ¼ rate.

About the Census

This long-overdue census has not been completed by any postal historian/organization to our knowledge. We felt a need to compile as complete a listing as possible, understanding that a response will occur to the census post-publication which will add a few/many more to the census. We look forward to the additional responses.

It should be noted we expected a minimal number of covers (under 15) and were taken aback by the response by numerous postal historians that combed through their collections for these elusive rate covers. The collectors who submitted covers for the census are noted as Contributors in the census.

The Development of Perforations on U.S. Postage Stamps During the Toppan, Carpenter Era: 1855-1857.

Written by on June 25, 2020 in Lancaster, Presentations with 0 Comments
Kennett Square, PA

Kennett Square, PA

Written by on June 16, 2020 in Featured with 0 Comments

Scranton, PA

Scranton, PA

Written by on June 6, 2020 in Lackawanna with 0 Comments

Though anthracite coal was being mined in Carbondale to the north and Wilkes-Barre to the south, the industries that precipitated the city’s early rapid growth were iron and steel. In the 1840s, brothers Selden Theophilus Scranton and George Whitfield Scranton, who had worked at Oxford Furnace in Belvidere, New Jersey, founded what became Lackawanna Iron & Coal, later developing as the Lackawanna Steel Company. It initially started producing iron nails, but that venture failed due to low-quality iron. The Erie Railroad’s construction in New York State was delayed by its having to acquire iron rails as imports from England. The Scrantons’ firm decided to switch its focus to producing T-rails for the Erie; the company soon became a major producer of rails for the rapidly expanding railroads.

In 1851, the Scrantons built the Lackawanna and Western Railroad (L&W) northward, with recent Irish immigrants supplying most of the labor, to meet the Erie Railroad in Great Bend, Pennsylvania. Thus they could transport manufactured rails from the Lackawanna Valley to New York and the Midwest.

Figure 1 Fancy cancel of the Scrantonia Rail, a cross section of the product that brought prosperity to Scranton. Both letters authored by Selden T. Scranton in June of 1850. Date lined from the Lackawanna Iron Works. Scrantonia was the first name for the post office from 1850-1851 certainly better than the local name of Shallow Hollow.

Figure 2 Cover date lined January of 1851 with the 34 mm CDS “Scrantonia

Figure 3 By 1852 the official name was changed from Scrantonia to Scranton. Interestingly, the solution for the Post Master was to have the last 2 letters removed from the 34 CDS resulting in the frequently encountered off centered town name marking.

Kelleher Sale 5102 – May 31, 2020

Kelleher Sale 5102 – May 31, 2020

Written by on May 31, 2020 in Featured with 0 Comments

KelleherClick here to be directed to the auction site. 

Click here for a .pdf version of the auction catalog.

The John Barwis Collection of Philadelphia Postal History

Written by on May 29, 2020 in Presentations with 0 Comments
The John Barwis Collection of Philadelphia Postal History
 

Philadelphia Cancellations

Written by on May 25, 2020 in Featured, Presentations with 0 Comments
Philadelphia Cancellations
 
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