US Stamps

Plate number singles enhance covers from the golden age of philately

Feb 6, 2020, 12 PM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

If you are a stamp dealer writing to an especially good customer, you would certainly want to send your wares in an envelope with a franking that the customer would appreciate, either special stamps or special forms of routine stamps.

Harmer Rooke & Co. of New York City did just that with the registered cover shown in Figure 1.

Sent Nov. 29, 1941, this registered cover bears 26¢ in postage. All but three of the stamps were Washington-Franklin 1¢ and 2¢ plate number singles that had been issued 20 or more years earlier. The other three stamps were examples of the 3¢ Thomas Jefferson of the 1938 Presidential, or Prexie, issue.

The breakdown of the 26¢ franking is 15¢ for the basic registry fee with 5¢ added for the indemnity of $25.01 to $50, plus twice the 3¢ first-class rate for added weight.

The customer thought enough of the cover to retain it. Wouldn’t you be delighted to get such a mailing?

Figure 2 shows another cover franked with 2¢ Washington plate number singles. Mailed in 1926, it is a self-addressed first flight cover that a collector dressed up with 16¢ in 2¢ Washington plate number singles from the Fourth Bureau Issue, which began in 1922. All the stamps are perforated gauge 11 by 11 from the original issue.

The first flight was from Seattle, Wash., to Los Angeles, Calif. The 16¢ in postage overpaid by 1¢ the 15¢ rate for a contract airmail route between 1,000 and 2,000 miles in distance. The route was just over 1,100 miles.

For fans of plate number singles, the national group that encourages collectors and promotes this collecting area is the American Plate Number Single Society.

The society publishes a quarterly newsletter titled Plate Numbers, offers mail auction through the newsletter and has a website. Members can post a free classified ad in the newsletter, and the society sponsors a catalog discounted for members.

Membership is $10 per year in the United States and Canada. Apply through the website or contact Rick Burdsall, Box 1023, Palatine, IL 60078-1023.

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