US Stamps

John M. Hotchner

These Christmas seals served as postage

December 20, 2017 06:00 PM

  • A 1940 United States Christmas seal was used as postage on a postcard. It was not accepted by the Winston-Salem, N.C., post office, and the postcard was assessed 1¢ postage due to be collected upon delivery.

U.S. Stamp Notes — By John M. Hotchner

Since the birth of Christmas seals in 1907, their use in place of a postage stamp on mailed letters and postcards had been a problem for the U.S. Postal Service and its predecessor, the Post Office Department.

The example shown here is from 1940 on a postcard canceled in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Someone at the Winston-Salem post office noticed the Christmas seal on the card and assessed 1¢ postage due to be collected upon delivery.

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It is not surprising that some people would make the mistake of using Christmas seals as postage because the National Tuberculosis Association suggested that users of the seals donate a penny a piece. Those pennies added up. In 1940, the money raised from Christmas seals came to $6.3 million.

If a Christmas seal collector were looking for a serious challenge, finding a seal usage in place of postage for each year since 1907 would certainly qualify.