First U. S. Advertising Postmark
officially authorized U. S. Advertising
postmark was used at the Centennial Exhibition, held at Philadelphia,
in 1876. The Exhibition opened on May 10th, and closed on
10th of the same year. The Post Office Department took a
part in the project with special exhibits, including a display of
stamps, re-issues and special printing so familiar to U. W. Collectors,
and the issue of the "Centennial" stamped envelopes, of which
were printed for the edification of the public in the Department's
on the grounds.
A special postmark was used at the Exhibition station reading ""CENTENNIAL PHILA'DA PA.," with month, day and hour, a circular type typical of the style then generally employed throughout the U. S. A "killer" was attached, of which there were several varieties. The postmark is not common but is generally seen on covers with the 3¢ green, Continental printing, and on the 3¢ green, Centennial envelopes, the latter sometimes with a typewritten address. The typewriter was new and the public was invited to inspect it and for a small fee have an envelope addressed on it. I do not recall ever seeing one of the 3¢ red, Centennial envelopes with the "Centennial" postmark, and I suspect that comparatively few of these were sold or used on the grounds.
For early usages of
the Centennial postmark, I have
reports of May 13, 15, 17, 25, and 29, and many others later.
the earliest of all and the most extraordinary is the report of Mrs.
L. Gilpin who has a cover with the printed corner card of the U. S.
Another postmark sometimes erroneously classified as the first advertising postmark, is that reading "Jarrett & Palmer's Special Fast Trans-Continental Train," dated at New York, June 1, 1876. In the light of what I have shown, the Jarrett & Palmer marking definitely followed the the Centennial, an "also ran," we might say. Harry M Konwiser draws attention to the Pleasant Grove, Md., postmaster who manufactured post office cancelling devices and advertised it through a postmark used at this office in the early 50s, but I consider this was a whim of the local postmaster, without instructions from Washington.
Thanks for cooperation to: Chas. H. Baldwin, F. A. Hollowbush, Mrs. Ethel B. McCoy, Donald MacGregor, Roy C. Mitchell, Edwin R. Payne, and Fred C. Schmid.
- George B. Sloane
September 17, 1949
Posted September 7, 1999
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