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It has, in recent years, been replaced by Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology.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.
blogIn this column in the Aug. 24 issue of Linn’s, I referred to the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., as a “gift to stamp collectors.” The BNAPS library and the APRL are two of many libraries available to stamp collectors, and some philatelic libraries are available online. Read More ›
blogIt’s often been said that one of the salutary benefits of collecting stamps is the friendships made along one’s philatelic journey. If I were asked to place a value on the bonds thus forged with collectors in locales near and far, I would be rich beyond measure. A few of these hobby friends I have never met in person. Read More ›
blogToday, Nov. 11, 2015, is Veterans Day. Over the years, a number of United States stamps honoring those who have served in our nation’s armed forces have been issued. Read More ›
blogMy previous blog post focused on a mystery: the apparent indentations of paper clips on United States Purple Heart forever stamps that were used to mail payments to the circulation department of my employer, Amos Media in Sidney, Ohio. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses Great Britain’s final stamp issue for 2015, a Star Wars prestige booklet, and reveals what is included in its stamp program for 2016.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses a registered 1967 cover from Qatar that recently sold for almost $1,200 and the latest discovery of an Upright Jenny Invert pane.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman announces that Linn’s has been named official daily publisher of World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and provides an update on the reorganization of the Scott catalogs.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Marty Frankevicz reports on the suspension of Canada Post’s cluster box conversion plan after the election of a new prime minister.
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.