US Stamps

By Charles Snee

Express, Priority Mail stamps dress up coffee parcels

September 01, 2015 12:59 PM

  • Three $17.50 Old Faithful Express Mail stamps pay the bulk of the postage on this parcel front that was mailed in October 2009 from Eugene, Ore., to Sitka, Alaska. The attractive return address label indicates the contents were coffee.
  • This parcel front, also used to ship coffee, bears two $19.95 Grand Central Terminal stamps and a quartet of $2 Jenny Invert stamps. The green color of the return address label brings out the vibrant colors of the stamps.

By Charles Snee

It is always fun to receive feedback from Dollar-Sign Stamps readers, particularly when they share interesting items of postal history.

Way back in early March, Greg Roberts of Oregon sent in some nifty parcel fronts franked with eye-catching, colorful arrays of Express Mail and Priority Mail stamps.

Roberts told me that the parcels contained coffee and were mailed to a former customer in Alaska.

Pictured nearby is one of two parcel clippings that I found particularly attractive.

A total of $61.45 in postage is affixed to the clipping: three $17.50 Old Faithful Express Mail stamps (Scott 4379), a $4.95 Redwood Forest Priority Mail stamp (4378), a 1992 $3 Columbian (2627c) and a 1992 $1 Columbian (2624c).

All six stamps are neatly tied by Eugene, Ore., Southside Station circular postmarks dated Oct. 27, 2009.

Aside from the marvelous stamps (all favorites of mine), I also like the blue return address label of the Equator Coffee Co. that Roberts affixed to his coffee mailing before applying the stamps.

Almost five years later, Roberts sent the second parcel front pictured nearby to the same address in Sitka. This time, the package was mailed from the Westside Station post office in Eugene.

Once again, he used six stamps: two $19.95 Grand Central Terminal Express Mail stamps (Scott 4739) and four $2 Jenny Invert stamps (4806a), for a total franking of $47.90. A green Equator Coffee Co. return address label makes the stamps stand out nicely, don’t you think?

Roberts told me that he mailed “dozens” of packages with similar frankings, “but unfortunately the Alaska business is no more.”

It would be tempting to some collectors to remove the stamps from the clippings, but I prefer to leave them right where they are.

In this way, the purpose for which they were used is preserved for future postal historians to appreciate and study.

I welcome your stories and items about United States dollar-denominated commemoratives and definitives. Write to Dollar-Sign Stamps, Box 4129, Sidney, OH 45365-4129.