The first thing that jumps out from the cover in Figure 1 is the purple alligator.
Getting further into the cancel, it reads “USCG LORAN Station, Marcos Island, South Bird Island, Minami Torishima, White Pearl of the Pacific.” The cancel is dated April 4, 1972.
What is a LORAN station? The term stands for long-range navigation. This is a navigation system used to determine the position of aircraft or ships when using low-frequency radio signals.
The transmission takes place from land-based radio beacons through the use of a receiver unit.
It has, in recent years, been replaced by Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology.
The location in the cancellation is an isolated island near Iwo Jima in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, now known as Minamitorishima. This explains the presence of the block of four of the 1945 3¢ Iwo Jima commemorative stamps, a total of 12¢ in postage, which is 1¢ more than the 11¢ domestic airmail rate in effect from May 16, 1971, to March 1, 1974.
The island was known as Marcus Island while occupied by the United States from 1945 to 1968, when it reverted to Japanese control. The Japanese name translates as “South Bird Island.”
A LORAN station was opened there by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1964. The station was transferred to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces Sept. 30, 1973, and was closed Dec. 1, 2009.
Mail from Coast Guardsmen was taken in and out by a U.S. C-130 military transport that serviced the island once a week. As seen on the cover, incoming mail was addressed care of the Seattle fleet post office. The outgoing mail went into military postal channels at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
When I first saw the cover, my immediate reaction was Florida because of the alligator. It turned out to be a lot more interesting than a domestic cancel.
Recipients often think of it as junk mail, but those who send advertising through the U.S. mails think of it as a service — a means of informing us in a way that is both inexpensive and personal.
A nice window on the process is shown in Figure 2. It is a 1919 mass mailing to potential mass mailers, using an offset-printed 1¢ George Washington stamp (Scott 525), with gauge 11 perforations and a Chicago, Ill., precancel.
The message on the card trumpets the fact that the increased wartime postage rates — 3¢ for a letter and 2¢ for a postcard, to help to pay for U.S. participation in World War I — had been rolled back to 2¢ for letters and 1¢ for postcards, effective July 1, 1919.
Further, the message on the back of the card talks about “big advantages to advertisers” with the return of the old first-class rates. The key message is this:
“No medium of advertising has ever been invented that beats letters for many appeals. Letters have the personal ring of the individual. They deliver with minimum waste...Our organization...in touch with the experiences of hundreds of results, and in contact with scores of constant advertisers has learned valuable experiences that you need and should take advantage of — in your letter advertising or direct advertising...”
It is signed “Buckley, Dement & Co.; “Advertising Campaigns Planned Printed Mailed.”
Despite rises in postal rates, the message rings true more than 90 years later.
How do I know? If direct mail advertising did not work, advertisers would not be doing it.
October 09, 2015 02:00 PMLinn’s managing editor Charles Snee reported the recovery of a block of three of the 1845 5¢ New York postmaster’s provisional stamp, once part of a block of 10 that was stolen from the Benjamin K. Miller collection in 1977. Read More ›
blogThis month marks my fifth anniversary writing the monthly auction report for Linn’s Stamp News. That’s 60 columns, totaling more than 100,000 words (enough for a decent-sized novel), all about our favorite hobby. Read More ›
blogWhen this cover was listed on eBay in mid-September, it didn't take long for some knowledgeable collectors to recognize this piece of postal history for the gem that it is: an early trans-oceanic survey cover for a Pacific route that included Midway Island, which would become famous as the location of a pivotal 1942 naval battle during World War II. Read More ›
blogIn mid-September I traveled to London, England, to attend Autumn Stampex, one of two British national stamp shows sponsored by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, Great Britain’s national stamp dealers association. The show took place Sept. 16-19 at the Business Design Centre in Islington (central north London), a comfortable and attractive venue for a stamp show. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses current events that relate to the stamp hobby, including the relocation of a stamp show in Sweden due to the Syrian refugee crises, and new stamps honoring Pope Francis and the British monarchy.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke talks about a record fifth win for wildlife artist Joseph Hautman in the federal duck stamp art contest, and see the painting that will appear on next year’s federal duck stamp
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz questions Bolivia’s choice for the design of a 2013 stamp honoring the country’s efforts to protect its migrants in foreign lands.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses the discovery of the upright Jenny Invert pane received in an order from Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., and also reports on the Confederate Stamp Alliance.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.