The usual means of identifying a piece of United States mail that in the early part of the 20th century had been exposed to disease and then subjected to a disinfecting process is to see a “disinfected” handstamp. Pictured below is a postcard that has the “disinfected” handstamp placed on it near the Sept. 27, 1909, Mont Alto, Pa., postmark.
There is a variant from Honolulu in the time period of December 1899 to late April 1900. That mail was fumigated for bubonic plague through clipped corners, facilitating exposure to sulphur dioxide fumes for three hours.
The Honolulu-origin covers in that time period are often found with opposite corners clipped, as shown at the bottom of this page on the left. This example has a 5¢ Hawaiian stamp postmarked April 17, 1900, in Honolulu and sent to San Francisco. The upper right and lower left corners were clipped.
A new entry in this derby is shown on the right. This postcard from January 1926 was sent from France to Waterbury, Conn., and it bears the word “Sterilized” on both front and back. The address side is shown. There are bumps in the lower right corner of the card, which might indicate the location where disinfectant was applied.
I asked for background on the term “sterilized” in a recent issue of La Catastrophe, journal of the Wreck and Crash Mail Society.
Only one response was received, from a gentleman in the Netherlands, and he was not encouraging, suggesting that the word was struck in the United States but probably not by the post office.
He noted, “It was not uncommon for individuals or organizations in the States to make up such handstamps presumably to reassure staff or customers.”
He may be right, but I feel the need to throw this out to U.S. Notes readers for a second opinion. If you have any thoughts about the postcard, I would appreciate it if you write to me via postal mail at John Hotchner, Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
blogEleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds share ideas …,” and Linn’s is fortunate to have thoughtful leaders of the stamp hobby on its Editorial Advisory Board. Board members participated in a lively discussion of “The State of the Stamp Hobby” Aug. 21 at the American Philatelic Society Stampshow in Grand Rapids, Mich. Read More ›
August 19, 2015 01:58 PMIn an unusual development for our hobby, the Office of Inspector General of the United States Postal Service is blogging about stamp collecting. Read More ›
August 17, 2015 12:19 AMFrom 1967 to 2006, Royal Mail (Great Britain’s post office) advertised all new issues with posters displayed in post offices. Most of these posters had pictures of the stamps along with basic information such as the date of issue, instructions for first-day covers, etc. Some were a little more elaborate. Read More ›
August 14, 2015 09:46 AMWill the United States Postal Service issue a Christmas stamp this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic television musical special A Charlie Brown Christmas? Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s associate editor Michael Baadke discusses happenings at the recent APS Stampshow from the show floor.
Watch as Linn's/Scott editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the early release of the new U.S. Elvis stamp, the possibility of a Peanuts stamp and Linn's at the upcoming APS Stampshow.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses highlights of Robert A. Siegel Auction Rarities Week sales in late June, and reports that the 49¢ price for a first-class United States stamp will remain in effect until April.
Watch as Linn’s senior editor Denise McCarty discusses the hiring of a new executive director of the American Philatelic Society, the new Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board and the upcoming APS Stampshow.
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.