US Stamps

By John M. Hotchner

When a Postal Service form the public was not likely to see surfaces

October 25, 2016 02:00 PM

  • This seldom-seen internal United States Postal Service form was used on an undeliverable letter from Germany addressed to Bearsville, N.Y. Sent to the “Dead Mail Branch” in New York City, the letter was returned to the sender in Germany with the transmittal label still firmly attached.

By John M. Hotchner

There are undoubtedly hundreds if not thousands of internal Postal Service forms that the general public never sees, but occasionally we will catch a glimpse, such as the 1974 cover from Germany to Bearsville, N.Y., that is shown nearby. 

Evidently, the cover was undeliverable, and needed to be sent to the Dead Mail Branch. 

The instructions on the form read: “Postmasters will use this label for transmitting dead mail. When the amount of mail to be sent is sufficient for pouching or sacking, fold this form and us as a pouch or sack label; otherwise use it as a package label.”


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In this case, it was firmly glued to the cover and used as a mailing label, and since the mailing address of the sender was on the back of the cover, the label was left on when the letter was returned to the sender in Germany. 

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