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, or by mail at Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125.