US Stamps

Needless destruction of Wild and Scenic Rivers pane

Aug 19, 2020, 9 AM
This pane of 12 Wild and Scenic Rivers stamps was canceled lightly for a collector, but then subsequently ruined by someone with a red magic marker.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

I am not ordinarily moved to anger by what I see coming through the mail, but the gratuitously revolting treatment of a 2019 Wild and Scenic Rivers pane of 12 (Scott 5381) by the Postal Service deserves to be called out.

The pane is shown here. It originally graced a Priority Mail package sent to me from Linn’s reader Carl Troy in Santa Fe, N.M. He took the time and trouble to go to a post office where the staff is helpful in applying light cancellations that don’t obstruct the stamp designs. On this pane all the stamps are indeed carefully canceled.

And then somewhere in the mailstream before it reached my local post office, someone ruined this pane as a collectible by swiping horizontally across all the stamps with a red magic marker.

I understand the need for revenue protection, but it was clear that the stamps had already been canceled.

This sort of thing happens much more often than it should. Apparently the U.S. Postal Service has not properly conveyed to its employees that the stamp collector community contributes millions of dollars to its coffers. Anything done to discourage collectors is effectively hurting the bottom line.

For whatever reason these destructive markings are made — be it an excess of zeal or out of spite — they cause collectors to throw up their hands in frustration. It does not take much of that to convince collectors to abandon U.S. stamp collecting or at a minimum stop collecting contemporary material.

How about it USPS? Can you get the word out that this sort of behavior is not in your best interest?

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