US Stamps

Finding the earliest use of the ‘Please Mail Early for Christmas’ cancel

Dec 16, 2016, 10 AM
This cancellation, dated Aug. 29, 1998, seems to be pushing the envelope for encouraging early Christmas mailings. Can a Linn’s reader come up with an earlier date? (The stamp and cancel are photographically cropped from the cover.)

By John M. Hotchner 

Would you like a challenge?

Shown nearby is a 32¢ Flag Over Porch stamp (photographically cropped from its cover) that has been struck by a slogan cancellation that reads “Please Mail Early For Christmas.”

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How early? The cancel is dated Aug. 29, 1998. So, three months ahead of the Christmas rush, and four months ahead of the day itself. It seems that the Pittsburgh, Pa., post office was really pushing early mailings.

The challenge is this: Can any Linn’s reader come up with an even earlier use of the “Please Mail Early” cancel? If so, please contact me, John Hotchner, Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125, or by email at

I’ll feature the earliest example submitted in a future issue of Linn’s.