US Stamps

Inside Linn’s: Unicorn stamps and business college practice mail

Sep 27, 2019, 11 AM
In the Oct. 14 issue of Linn’s Stamp News, The Odd Lot columnist Wayne Youngblood explains how a business college created its own stamps and used internal practice mail to teach students the proper methods for handling correspondence.

By Charles Snee

The Oct. 14 issue of Linn’s Stamp News just landed on the presses and goes in the mail to subscribers Monday, Sept. 30. And if you subscribe to Linn’s digital edition, you’re at the head of the line with early access Saturday, Sept. 28. Here are three brief glimpses of the content while you wait for your issue to land in your mailbox. 

Unicorn stamps and business college practice mail

During the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, business colleges developed detailed course of study to prepare their students for a world before typewriters. As Wayne Youngblood details in The Odd Lot, some of these institutions printed their own stamps and created simulated post offices to provide practical, hands-on experience. As the cover and contents illustrated in his column demonstrate, the practice mail created at one college could be quite convincing, despite never having traveled through the U.S. mail system.

Unusual 1930s business reply mail returns deciphered

Tony Wawrukiewicz, in Modern U.S. Mail, continues his exploration of business reply mail envelopes with postage due stamps affixed. These mailings sometimes bear penciled numbers to indicate accounting for multiple returned items. One of the two covers illustrated in the column bears 99¢ in postage due stamps, which satisfied the 3¢ carrier drop rate for each of 33 returned reply envelopes. Read the entire column to learn what makes the other cover remarkable in Wawrukiewicz’s estimation.

Kitchen Table Philately: inexpensive stamps from 26 countries

In each weekly issue of Linn’s, either E. Rawolik VI or E. Rawolik VII dissects the contents of a stamp mixture offered to collectors. E. Rawolik is a pseudonym that is also the word “kiloware” (a stamp mixture) spelled backward. This week, E. Rawolik VII sorts through a sample of 65 stamps from a large worldwide assortment. He reports finding “many interesting stamps” among the 26 countries represented in the sample.

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