Notes from the Past

Old Postage Stamps to be Continued in use.

The following important document is to be forwarded to every postmaster in the Loyal States: --
Post Office Department }
Finance Office, Sept. --, 1861}
Sir -- It is found to be impossible to supply at present the demand for postage stamps of the new style.  Every effort will be made to increase the amount manufactured daily; but under the most favorable conditions, the distribution of these stamps to all post offices in the loyal States, can not be effected within the period contemplated by the department.  Under these circumstances, notice is hereby given to all postmasters who have not received new stamps, to continue the sale of the old issue, and of course, to mail all letters brought to their offices prepaid by stamps of the old style.  With each supply of new stamps, postmasters will be directed how to dispose of the old.  A strict compliance with the foregoing instructions is required by the Postmaster General.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. N. ZEVELY, Third Assistant P. M. Gen.
- Elliott "Pat" Perry
Pat Paragraphs
Published 1981, Bureau Issues Association
Posted February 26, 2000

Editor's Note:  This is an excerpt from the Post Office Department's circular letter of September, 1861.  It recognizes the practical limitations of getting the new stamps distributed to replace the 1851-57 stamps demonitized at the start of the Civil War.  The replacement had been directed to occur in August.  Elliott Perry made an on-going research into the introduction of these stamps.  Among other items, he collected and published many of the ads postmasters were required to publish to give notice that the new stamps had arrived and that customers could exchange their old stamps for the new for a period of seven days after the arrival of the new stamps at which time the old stamps would no longer be honored.  The ads were published starting with the first delivery of the new stamps on August 16, 1861, into at least October, 1861, as the new stamps arrived at distant, small post offices.  This overlap led to some of the demonitized stamps being properly used but not being recognized at destination post offices.

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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