Notes from the Past

The New Precancel Rulings

Precancel and Bureau Print collecting, which has been growing by leaps and bounds in late years, seemingly has had a bombshell dropped in its midst in the recent rulings from the Post Office Department drastically curtailing the use of these specially overprinted stamps.

The new orders apparently came out of a clear sky, but they were no doubt in the making for some time previous.  Effective immediately, no stamps above the 6 denomination are to be precanceled and any such stocks on hand are to be used up at once, and all precancels are forbidden on parcel post matter.  Further, no more than one precanceled stamp can be used on any piece of mail unless no single denomination is available at the office of use.

I believe it is the Department's intention to abolish, eventually, all precanceled stamps, at least I got that impression in a conversation about two years ago with a postal official when strong pressure was being exerted upon the Department's head men to order their abolition.  It was the opinion of the Post Office Department's Inspectors' service, I gathered that the savings made in cancelling and other other operations avoided through the use of precanceled stamps were being offset by losses caused by the illegal re-use of precanceled stamps.  The postage meter namufacturers may be somewhere in the picture swaying the Department, but I think more likely it will prove to be the Post Office Inspectors who are turning on the heat and I suspect that the orders just issued are only the beginning of a series to follow.  

- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
April 9, 1938

Posted September 2, 1999

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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