US Stamps

Inside Linn’s: U.S. Special Handling service comes to an end after 97 years

Jun 30, 2022, 8 AM
On Aug. 29, 2021, the United States Postal Service’s Special Handling-Fragile rate was increased for what turned out to be the last time before the service ended on July 10, 2022. Bob Rufe, in a feature article in the July 18 issue of Linn’s Stamp News, explores the fascinating history of the Special Handling service.

By Charles Snee

The July 18 monthly issue of Linn’s Stamp News just landed on the presses and goes in the mail to subscribers Monday, July 4. And if you subscribe to Linn’s digital edition, you’re at the head of the line with early access Saturday, July 2. While you wait for your issue to arrive in your mailbox, enjoy these three quick glimpses of exclusive content available only to subscribers. 

U.S. Special Handling service comes to an end after 97 years

Linn’s Stamp News reported in the May 23 issue that the United States Postal Service would end its Special Handling service on July 10, after almost a century. This decision prompted Bob Rufe, an expert on all aspects of Special Handling service from its inception in 1925 to the present, to write a special feature that artfully reviews the service’s history and the challenges facing collectors of postal history associated with special handling. Be sure to keep this article handy for future reference.

Airplane mail, part 2: 1911 airmail flights

When and where did the first airplane mail take to the skies? In the second of his two-part exploration, Spotlight on Philately columnist Ken Lawrence provides additional answers to this important aerophilatelic question with a look at notable airmail flights that took place in 1911. The 1910 flights were the subject of his column in the June 20 issue of Linn’s. Lawrence opens part 2 with the first airplane mail flight of 1911: Fred J. Wiseman’s Feb. 17-18 trip from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, Calif. “Newspapers in both towns gave extensive coverage to the event,” Lawrence writes. “Teachers dismissed classes early so that schoolchildren could witness Wiseman’s performance.” Come along for the rest of Lawrence’s ride. You won’t be disappointed.

A visit to the St. Kitts post office

Vacation cruises can provide opportunities to visit post offices on tiny islands. Such was the case for Chris Lazaroff and his wife, Denise, when their recent Caribbean cruise made a port stop at St. Kitts. Lazaroff details his visit to the St. Kitts post office to buy stamps and mail postcards home to family and friends. “The clerk greeted me with big a smile that I could see even though she was wearing a mask,” Lazaroff explains. “She asked how she could help, and the first thing I asked was for stamps to mail postcards to the United States.” Dig into the rest of Lazaroff’s story to learn what stamps the post office had in stock when he visited.

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