Memphis Stamp Collectors Society
Due to the expense of sending large numbers of newspapers and periodicals through the mail, publishers often utilized private express companies. In an attempt to gain a share of this business, the Post Office lowered bulk newspaper rates in 1863. In 1865 the first newspaper and periodical stamps were issued for prepayment of the rate. The rate was further reduced a decade later to just two cents a pound for publications issued at least once a week. In 1885 the rate was cut again, to just one cent per pound.
USAV Type III
Found in an estate collection at our May meeting, this 1897 Milam and Holmes machine cancel, type 2, is the first of it's type reported in 10 years and one of only 22 known examples.
Some of the machines were capable of processing 250 envelopes a minute. Millions and millions of items were sent through the mails using these machines. Like spam today, most of the envelopes were discarded, and relatively few of the stamps exist, making them scarce.
Having lasted the longest and among the most successful, the Schermack Company, later to become the Mailometer Company, is perhaps the most recognizable. Other companies, such as Brinkerhoff and US Automatic Vending Company (USAV), were also successful. Mint or used, there is something for every collector. It is a very interesting time period to collect.
Vending pairs of Schermack III
Mailometer Type IV
With postage now affordable, newspapers sprang up all over the country, linking readers with their state capitols and Washington, DC, inviting greater citizen participation in politics. Newspaper and periodical stamps are clearly testimony to a democratic government.
Brinkerhoff Type IIa
In the days before the internet and television, print was the primary means of advertising. Stamps were still produced in sheets in the early 1900's, making applying them to envelopes a one-at-a-time prospect. Several companies worked on affixing machines to speed up the process.
The affixing companies purchased imperforate stamps from the Post Office, and applied their own perforations. The sheets were then cut and joined into coils to be fed through the machines. The private perfs were not designed to separate the stamps, but to aid in moving them through the machine. A blade would separate the stamp at the time of application.
Long before phones and computers, these glorious examples of art and craftsmanship, seemingly, mere little blobs of ink on paper, have been part of our human history spanning the globe. They have helped us "reach out and touch someone" for more than 165 years.
They provide a constant stimulus for the inquisitive mind and lover of history. Do you collect? How, and what, do you collect? Come Join Us! Someone in the club will know something about about your interest.
The challenge, is engaging the younger generations, and thus, we congratulate a fellow club member for her innovation. The club has established a grant program to help school teachers with the cost of using stamps in their school curriculum. Grants will be limited to school systems in the Greater Mid-South (Memphis, TN, USA) area. Please see the MSCS Grant page under "School Librarian".