US Stamps

New Christmas seal records: most on envelope, most on postcard, a new EKU

Jan 8, 2020, 12 PM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

We have new champions in the categories of most United States Christmas seals on an envelope and on a postcard.

In the U.S. Stamp Notes column in the Jan. 30, 2017, issue of Linn’s, a new record holder was announced for envelopes: a 1935 cover with 26 1935 Christmas seals.

I thought that this record could not be beaten, but a 1928 cover has surfaced with 33 1928 Christmas seals tied by cancels on both sides, quite amazing on a small letter-size envelope.

The cover is shown front and back in Figure 1. The front also includes a 2¢ Washington stamp tied by a “Mail Early for Christmas” cancel.

Figure 2 shows the new champion for the most Christmas seals on a postcard: 12. These 12 1956 seals are on the back of a 2¢ Franklin postal card.

In this instance the seals are not tied, but they are placed in such a way as to provide space for a message. There can be little doubt that they are original on the card.

The previous record, announced in the U.S. Stamp Notes column in the Jan. 8, 2018, Linn’s, was a 1919 card with 10 seals on the front.

If any Linn’s reader can beat 33 seals on a single envelope or 12 on a postcard, I would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact me, John Hotchner, by email at or by mail at Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125.

New Christmas seals EKU

Since 1999, I have presented in this column an annual summary of earliest-known uses of U.S. Christmas seals issued from 1908 to 1935.

In 1907 and from 1936 onward, there are established first days. But from 1908 to 1935, the seals were shipped in late October or early-to-mid November, and there was no injunction to the recipients to hold them for a given release date.

For that reason, the Christmas seals were distributed to potential users when received, and it has become a challenge to look at cancellation dates to try to advance the first day of use.

This year’s report includes only one new EKU: Nov. 15, 1928, for the 1928 seal. This EKU was reported by George Painter. The complete list of EKUs for 1907-35 U.S. Christmas seals is shown below. The new EKU date for the 1928 seal is shown in bold.


Dec. 7


Dec. 23


Nov. 23


Nov. 19


Nov. 23


Nov. 24


Nov. 26


Nov. 11


Nov. 26


Nov. 22


Nov. 27


Oct. 23


Dec. 2


Nov. 28


Nov. 16


Nov. 23


Nov. 29


Nov. 16


Nov. 24


Nov. 30


Nov. 27


Nov. 18


Nov. 15


Nov. 29


Nov. 28


Nov. 23


Nov. 13


Oct. 19


Nov. 16


Nov. 22


Figure 3 shows the cover bearing the 1928 seal. The cancellation tying the seal to the cover is dated Nov. 15, 1928. This beats the prior first-day date, Nov. 21, by seven days.

The new EKU cover originated in Manila, the Philippines, and it is not the first EKU from there. According to Painter, Christmas seals from 1918, 1927, 1928, 1931 and 1935 also have EKUs from the Philippines.

It would appear that the first shipments of the seals must have gone to the sale locations farthest from the printer in the continental United States. Upon receipt, the packages must have been opened and the seals distributed immediately.

If anyone can advance any EKU date for a Christmas seal in the chart, contact me by email or mail at the aforementioned addresses.

For collectors with an interest in Christmas seals, I recommend the national club that delves into the history of these seals and their many varieties and uses: the Christmas Seal and Charity Stamp Society.

The society publishes catalogs for U.S. and foreign seals, and an excellent quarterly all-color journal, Seal News, that highlights both modern and older material. Each issue also contains a club auction.

Annual dues are $20. More information about the club is available on its website, or from Lou Caprario, Secretary-Treasurer, 91 Fairview Ave., West Orange, NJ 07052.

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