Generally speaking it is very interesting to collect all kind of postal labels and/or auxiliary markings as they give a nice view of the kind of services and the various kinds of efforts the postal authorities did utilize to forward the mail. Look into your collection of covers and you ill certainly find some nice examples.
The unassuming cover on this page is, in fact, a great rarity, being air mail, express, registered and insured as weIl as censored. The presence of so many labels on one cover is a collector’s dream.
Labels for Ground Transportation
There are few official labels for such services. Two examples for the Baghdad-Haifa Overland Mail service are shown, “Motor Mail” from Egypt and “Overland Mail” from Iraq. The private labels that follow them are self-explanatory.
Similarly, official labels specifying maritime carriage are uncommon. Most maritime labels are of private origin. Indeed, the one from Viet Nam is handwritten!
Airmail etiquettes are avidly collected. There are many official and non-official ones, the latter being further divided into those issued by airlines and those issued by other entities.
First day of use of the first official airmail etiquette on card from Paris to St. Nazaire which was, incidentally, an interrupted flight.
Two etiquettes, one for KLM, the other for Ala Littoria, on a preprinted Imperial cover, insufficiently paid for air, at a time when all three airlines were servicing Palestine. Without a back stamp we cannot determine who carried it.
Labels specifying Class of Mail
A sampling of the innumerable labels in this category follows.
Here is another vast field for study, aided by Charles H. Smith’s catalogue. Two interesting examples of usages on cover are shown.
1908 from Columbia to Paris via New York with two registry labels applied, one in Mexico, the other at the New York Foreign Exchange Office.
1962 cover from Mozambique to Israel, returned “Pas de Service”. The MjC4 at the upper right would be the only clue to the origin of this label off cover.
There follows a sampling of labels for the many forms of accountable mail that exist, such as Advice of Receipt, Recorded Delivery, Proof of Delivery, Delivery Tracking and so forth.
The Catalogue of Express Labels, edites by Charles H. Smith, helps the collector of these issues.
1950 cover franked with perfinned Geo VI with additional railway express fee paid by scarce NCR meter stamp, delivered in Edinburgh by the P.O.
1947 cover from Czechoslovakia to Palestine sent bay air, registered and express, each service indicated by its own label, a scarce conjunction.
As yet, no catalogue of the “insured” labels has been produced. A number of examples are shown to whet your appetite
Labels for C.O.D. Service
C.O.D. labels are most often triangular, making them popular for that reason. However, the label on the Belgian parcel card is not.
Other Official Labels
On this page are found labels for the Dead Letter Office and for Returned Letters as well as Official Seals. They make a fascinating study, demanding careful research into post office functioning.
Once again, these services may be governmental or not. Labels may be found for both. Below are, first, some official, and then, some private labels. Some could be considered semi-official; another fertile field for research.
Some of these labels were used by the Customs Service itself, while others were primarily postal, intended to alert postal officials of items that might require examination by the Customs Service.
Herewith is a sampling of the many labels utilized by military personnel. Some were to accentuate the free franking privilege; others, like the British Colonial ones, acknowledge a patriotic truth.
The 1898 “Army Frank” is a well-known private label that, despite its wording, had no official status and was withdrawn from sale by its creator, Major B.C. Kenyon, after governmental protest. It comes in brown, blue and dull red.
Purely Private Labels
Every so often, labels are seen that are entirely private, produced for one’s own use and no one eIse’s. Three of those below are clearly so; the “Estero” is presumed to be so because it has only been seen used by this one organization. More food for research.
The Postal Label Study Group was first formed in England in 1976. The group became inactive in 1979 and was re-formed in the U.S. in 1985. The group has approximately 100 members from 14 different countries with about half the membership in the U.S.
Our members receive a quarterly publication, The PLSG Bulletin, which contains extensive news and information from the world of postal label collecting as weIl as original research articles. The group has a large semi-annual auction of labels and covers.
The pleasure of this aspect of our hobby is the constant appearance of new items. They were not seriously collected at the time of their appearance so no repository of contemporary information exists. The opportunities for original research are endless.
This exhibit was prepared by Arthur H. Groten M.D., Bulletin Editor.
All catalogues are under revision at the moment. Please contact the editors.