US precancels

This article appeared in Mekeel’s Weekly Stamp News – March 18, 1911 – Volume XXV, Number 11, W Number 1055

By John A. Solomon.

Precancelled stamp collecting has certainly taken a new lease of life. At present more interest is shown than for several years past.

Nearly all stamp papers have paid some attention to precancel matters of late, and if frequent advertisements regarding these stamps count for anything, there is surely some demand for precancelled stamps.

Many U. S. collectors who formerly would not even look at precancels, are beginning to realize that a showing of precancelled stamps is entirely in keeping with other U. S.

A good precancel collection is not so easily built up as one may suppose. Although many varieties of the 1902 and present issue can be secured with little effort, most of the high values of the 1898 and earlier issues are scarce and are always in demand. Much has been said concerning the status of stamps with the regular office or newspaper cancellation mark. It places the precancel collector in a peculiar situation when it comes to proofs concerning these stamps when off the cover. In my opinion, the right way to distinguish these stamps is to preserve them on the original cover, thus preventing any doubt about their standing. Among many, Milwaukee, Providence and Augusta, Me., have recently been guilty of such practice. This is some excuse for Augusta, as it has always used this form, but why Milwaukee and Providence, where the regular precancel method has prevailed should do this, cannot be explained.

St. Louis, which recently adopted the precancel method, has come out with a new type, New Haven, Conn., which has been off the precancel map for nearly a decade, has loomed up with a new precancel. Fort Wayne, after nearly ten years use, has discarded its fancy framed precancel, for a plain two line horizontal type effect.

When precancelled stamps were an innovation, many cities sent out their stamps showing the date of the month and year. Binghamton, is the only city left that uses this form today.

Commemorative issues are by long odds, the most popular kind of precancels. Aside of a few one cent varieties, these issues are very scarce and constantly in demand, still precancel collectors do not seem over anxious to sell them in spite of alluring prices.

Montpelier, Vt., Spencer, Mass., Lyons, N. Y., and Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, are among the latest towns to adopt precancelled stamps, Lowell, Mass., probably holds the record for using the same precancellation the longest time. Lowell issued precancelled stamps as far hack as 1894 and has yet to change its original type.

Judging from business possibilities, it would seem that the larger cities would have a tendency to monopolize the precancel market, but this is not so. Many small towns, some scarcely heard of outside of their own states, have their own precancelled stamps. Among others may be mentioned Clintonville, Conn., East Clarendon, Vt., Sherman, N. Y., West Grove, Pa., Calla, Ohio, Exeter, Nebr., Edella, Pa., Hika, Wis., North Cohocton, N. Y., East Whitman, Mass., etc. The population of most of these towns are even less than one thousand.

Canadian cities are certainly making their sister cities in the states sit up and take notice, no less than eighteen Canadian cities and towns are using precancelled stamps in a clean manner. There are no sensational questionable varieties, in fact, I have seen but one double impression, that being a 2c issue from Montreal. It certainly speaks well for King ‘William’s domain.

Springfield, Mass., and Springfield, Ohio are the only two cities of the same name in this country that issue precancelled stamps, although Niagara Falls, N. Y., and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Can., are also in this class.