US Stamps

Maybe it’s time to consider using a cancellation guide

May 26, 2020, 8 AM
A Danish stamp collector attaches this guide to philatelic mail to visually advise Danish postal clerks on how to apply neat cancellations.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

My local post office is staffed by agreeable window staff who are mindful of my wishes for nice cancels on the mail I send.

But I feel a bit crabby when I have to remind them over and over again that a neat cancel is just as effective for purposes of revenue protection as multiple cancels that obliterate a stamp design.

My friend Arne Rasmussen of Denmark has shared with me the method he uses to get good cancellations: He affixes a small printed guide to his philatelic mail. This guide is pictured here.

Using just a small bit of tape, he attaches it to each piece of philatelic mail that he takes to counter staff so they have a nonjudgmental guide as to what is needed. He places the guide over one or more of the stamps so it can’t be ignored.

Normally the postal workers take the time to understand it and comply with his request.

He also places a guide on the letters he sends by way of collection boxes, but the results are not nearly as satisfactory because most such mail goes through a canceling machine.

Perhaps using a cancellation guide is a method we might adopt.

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