US Stamps

The leather postcard has an envelope first cousin

Oct 4, 2023, 10 AM
Leather postcards were banned in the United States mail in 1907 as being too flimsy. This leather envelope may have been an experiment to overcome that problem.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

In previous U.S. Stamp Notes columns, I have written about the leather postcards that were created in 1903 and banned by the United States Post Office Department in 1907 because they were not stiff enough to be canceled by machine cancellers. Most recently, I wrote about them in the Jan. 23 issue of Linn’s.

I now have something new on this subject: a leather envelope, shown above. The envelope was machine-canceled on July 26, 1907, so perhaps it was an experiment to get around the new ban. Note the “Pat. App’d for” in the lower right corner.

The stamps and the address are on the back of the envelope. (The front, not shown, has an American Indian design.) Letter-mail postage was paid by two 1¢ Franklins from the series of 1902-03.

Next to the stamps and underneath the cancellation are the words “Post Card,” but it clearly isn’t.

This envelope had no contents when I got it. I wonder if it ever did. The flap is not stuck down, though it may have been at one time. Without the flap stuck down, anything in the envelope could fall out.

This is the only example of a leather envelope I have seen. Given the machine cancel, it apparently added enough thickness to be processed by a canceling machine. But it would have been more expensive to make, meaning it cost the buyer more, plus it required more postage, so perhaps it never caught on.

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