US Stamps

A thank-you to postal workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Aug 10, 2020, 9 AM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

We properly thank our first responders (EMTs, firemen and women, police) hospital and other medical staffs and eldercare workers, but the same level of recognition seems to be lacking when it comes to our postal workers. Yet the post offices never locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Postal personnel reported for duty. And the mail — if perhaps a bit slower — continues to provide family connections while travel is constrained and serves as the backbone of American commerce.

As I was thumbing through some World War II covers, I noticed the 1944 cover sent by railway post office (RPO) franked with the 1942 3¢ Win the War stamp (Scott 905) that is shown here in Figure 1. And although it is 75 years old, it seems like a fitting way to recognize the United States Postal Service for its continuing efforts to keep all of us in the loop.

The cachet on this cover reads: “Rain or shine, hot or cold, war or peace — the U.S. Mail Service never lets us down.”

Perhaps we should now add, “In sickness and in health.”

Employees at my local post office worked for months without personal protective equipment, window shields and social distancing markers in the lobby. All are in place now, but the staff has always been cheerful, professional and service-oriented in how they approach their work.

It is tempting to take for granted that they will always be there, but it is USPS policy that they are. And it is also an act of will and sense of service on the part of window personnel, letter carriers, and the host of backroom support staff and supervisors, to be at their stations.

I, for one, am grateful.

Post Office kindness

The 2¢ cover in Figure 2 was sent from Ocean Grove, N.J., to Marysville, Ohio, on Aug. 15, 1895.

It looks like an average cover roughly opened on the right side and franked with a 2¢ Washington type I stamp, until it is turned over as shown in Figure 3. There, handstamped in purple, is the message: “Was dropped in the Ocean Grove P.O. Without stamp. Stamp supplied by P.O. Please Remit.”

Without a return address, the Ocean Grove post office could not ask the sender for the missing postage. Why the post office chose to supply the stamp instead of sending the cover onward postage due is a mystery. But it seems from the fact this is a handstamp, that it was this post office’s standard method of handling such situations.

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