US Stamps

By John M. Hotchner

Can you solve this 1923 Christmas postcard mystery?

January 07, 2016 10:15 AM

  • With no postage paid and a label pasted on in violation of Postal Service regulations, it is a mystery how this Christmas postcard made its way through the mails.

By John M. Hotchner

Every so often, a philatelic pink elephant comes along; something that shouldn’t exist, but it does. Such an item is the 1923 stampless postcard with a neat machine cancel from Montclair, N.J., dated Dec. 27, 1923.

Because of the placement of the cancel, it is clear that there was never a stamp on the card.

There is, however, a pasted-on greeting that starts “Prepaid”, and continues: “Here’s a Christmas lettergram/Sent by hand of Uncle Sam/Fifty words the law permits/To the person who remits,/Ticked off by the ringing chimes/LOVE! Repeated fifty times.”

The front of the card shows a snowy winter scene and this message: “Sincerely wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Add to no evidence of postage the fact that pasting anything on a postcard was illegal, and we have a real head-scratcher.

Anyone who would like to suggest an answer as to how this postage substitute was accomplished is welcome to contact me John Hotchner, email jmhstamp@verizon.net, or by mail at Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125.