World Stamps

Combating COVID-19: the modern postal history moment is now

Apr 9, 2020, 8 AM
Publicity images of postmarks being used on the mail in Singapore and Great Britain to help combat the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

As the world reacts to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, postal administrations are also reacting, not only to new logistical challenges, but also with additions to their stamp programs and new postal markings. Now is the time to watch the mail for these stamps and markings.

In the April 27 issue of Linn’s Stamp News, Denise McCarty reports on countries that have issued coronavirus-related stamps.

Postal administrations are also using slogan cancellations with public service messages on everyday mail. Malaysia’s postal administration, Pos Malaysia, may have been the first to do so in late March with a postmark reading “You Stay At Home, We Deliver; Do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

On April 7 Singapore Post started using three postmark designs. One shows a person wearing a mask with the text “Let’s Do Our Part, #herewithyou,” the second shows a home and a heart with a message encouraging people to stay at home, and the third depicts two hands forming a heart with the message “Together We Can Overcome.”

Royal Mail in the United Kingdom is using an all-text cancellation that reads “Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives; Royal Mail - keeping communities connected.” This slogan cancel started appearing on mail in late March.

As modern postal history items, these postal markings help tell the story of what happened through the mail.

Also watch for covers with service interruption markings. As of my writing this column on April 8, the United States has temporarily suspended the acceptance of international mail destined to 51 countries and is returning the mail items to the senders. Undoubtably there will be markings on mail sent to those countries during this time.

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