US Stamps

By John M. Hotchner

One of the most interesting Christmas cards you’ll come across

January 16, 2017 02:00 PM

  • “Uncle Sam’s Mail” on the address side of this 1906 postcard hints at an interesting postcard front.
  • The front of the postcard shows Uncle Sam, with pants glued onto the card, and a Christmas greeting.

John M. Hotchner 

One of the more interesting Christmas cards I’ve seen is the red “Uncle Sam’s Mail” postcard shown nearby. It was canceled Dec. 26, 1906, in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Inscribed on the front of the postcard is “U.S. Mail Xmas Special.”

The design features an image of Uncle Sam, with his signature hat, looking out at a naval vessel. His red and white striped pants are glued to the cover.

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The postage paid is 2¢ rather than the 1¢ postage that would normally be required on a postcard of that era. The reason is that Uncle Sam’s glued-on pants and the “A Merry Christmas” greeting inserted into them violated post office rules.

According to the rules, nothing could be added to a postcard sent at the postcard rate. The additions meant that the postcard had to be paid for as if it were a letter. Had it been sent with a single 1¢ stamp it would have been assessed another penny postage due.