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::: Philatelic Domestic Covers :::

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Hono 231_72 28Feb94 FDC

A first day cover for the Pictorial Issue, postmarked February 28, 1894, bearing the full set of stamps issued that day. The 12 value of this series was issued later that year. A few of these first day covers have survived but they are prime examples of philatelic covers.

Stamp collectors discovered the idea of collecting stamps on cover in the late 1880's. Then it was a rather unpopular concept as most collectors preferred stamps off cover. Even so, we find numerous examples of stamps placed on cover for the primary purpose of creating a cover, rather than for carrying a message. In the modern lexicon of stamp collecting, covers primarily intended to carry messages are distinguished from "philatelic covers" by referring to the former as "commercial" uses or "commercial" covers. For many collectors today, philatelic covers are given less value or credit than commercial covers so identifying a cover as being philatelic has a disparaging connotation. Some philatelic covers are difficult to identify as such.

Examples of philatelic covers and other collector inspired concoctions:

Hono 231_72 25Aprb94 53

This cover, mailed April 26, 1894 at Honolulu and bearing a 1 Scott No. 53, could be mistaken for a commercial drop letter, except for the next two examples.

Hono 231_72 25Aprb94 60

Another cover, mailed the same date to the same address and bearing the 6 Scott No. 60, is clearly a philatelic cover and proves the 1 cover is equally philatelic.

Hono 231_72 25Apr94 68

Any hope of treating the 1 and 6 covers as commercial is completely destroyed by this cover mailed the same date to the same addressee and bearing the 10 Scott No. 68. These three stamps were available for sale at the post office on the date they were mailed, but there is no valid rate explanation for the latter two examples.

The next two covers also illustrate how difficult it sometimes is to identify the philatelic nature of a cover.

Hakalau 237_02 27Jul93 65b

This example of Scott No. 65 with a shifted overprint missing "1893" was addressed to William Gifford at Honolulu and mailed from Hakalau, Hawaii, on July 23, 1893. Gifford was a stamp collector and author of an early handbook on Hawaiian stamps. He sent envelopes franked with scarce overprinted stamps, often varieties, to various towns to be postmarked and returned to him. Examples of his covers bearing the no period varieties are also known. This cover went into the collection of John Seybold, a pioneer collector of stamps on cover.

Hakalau 237_02 28Aug93 54

Not all of Gifford's overprints were varieties. This example of Scott No. 56 was mailed from Hakalau on August 28, 1893. Whether Gifford's envelopes contained a message is unknown, but the primary purpose was to obtain a cover with an unusual stamp.

Another philatelic use is seen on the next cover, postmarked on the final day of the Hawaiian Postal Service and franked with the last postage stamp issued by Hawaii, the 5 blue Scott No. 82.

Lahaina 255_01 13Jun00 82

The 5 stamp overpaid the normal postage rate by 3, a sure indication of a philatelic cover. It bears a bold strike of Lahaina postmark type 255.01 but was mailed at Lahaina for delivery at Lahaina, so it could have been mailed for just 1 as a drop letter.


Bogus SpecPostDel 13Mar94

A purely philatelic concoction is this cover bearing a double overprint (one lightly inked) of Scott No. 70 and a bogus Special Postal Delivery handstamp.

Hono 231_72 13Mar94 bogus 63

Another example of the bogus Special Postal Delivery handstamp, dated the same date as the previous example and bearing a Scott No. 63, sold only in sets to collectors.

Scott 51 with Hono 231_72 4Nov91

This example of the reprint, Scott No. 51, used on cover may have carried a message, who knows, but the primary purpose was philatelic because these stamps were issued for sale to collectors.

Spreckelsville 259_04 12Aug93 57bis

Bisected stamps were explicitly prohibited by post office regulations. The only commercial bisect dates from 1870-1871, when a half of the 2 Scott No. 31a was permitted for use on foreign mail with a 5 stamp to make up the Convention Period 6 rate. It is fun to speculate over whether this cover, bearing a bisected 2 Scott No. 57, was a locally authorized drop letter for use during a temporary shortage of 1 stamps at Spreckelsville. The truth probably is best found in the fact that several philatelic concoctions emanate from that area of Maui.

Spreckelsville 259_04 4Sep93 UPSSforg

Here is another philatelic concoction from Spreckelsville a bogus overprint on the 2 envelope.

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