Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pictorial cancellations and other secret stuff

Not many clubs and community organizations know they can have their own pictorial cancellation simply by asking for it.

Designed by sponsors and organizers of events, they feature wording or graphics relating to the particular event, anniversary or celebration. However, before they can be offered to the public, the cancellation must be approved by the U.S. Postal Service.

Once approved, the cancellations are available at temporary philatelic (stamp) stations staffed by Postal Service employees. The cancellations are only offered for 30 days after their release.

Linda Moak, USPS customer relations coordinator at the Colonie Center post office in Albany, New York, says that more than 1,000 celebratory postmarks are issued every year across the country.

"It's a great way to get the community involved in the event," says Moak. "And it's a great way to get people involved in stamp collecting in general."

For a handy 8-page guide to postal rules (including information about special cancellations) that the Postal Service doesn't publicize, click here.

(Be sure to check out Section 164.22 - Cooperation with Collectors. You might want to keep it handy next time some over eager clerk wants to cancel your letter or package beyond recognition.)
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM