Philatelic Society of Lancaster County

The James Buchanan Chapter #173 of the American Philatelic Society
Chapter 118 of the American Topical Association


The Exhibits have been kindly provided with permission of the author – the contents remain their property. If you have an exhibit to share, please contact Dr. Charles J. DiComo. You can view an Exhibit by clicking the link below, or by using the Drop Down menu. Enjoy!

Alphabetical Listing by Author

Boyles, James G.: Post Offices of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Boyles, James G.: Postmarks of Lancaster, Pennsylvania: 1757-1899
Colberg, Richard: An Ounce of Prevention: The Ins and Outs of Condom’s Postal History
DiComo, PhD, Charles J.: Analysis of NYC “APL” Postmarks on Transatlantic Stampless Letters to Foreign Destinations
DiComo, PhD, Charles J.: Wafers Seals on U.S. Folded Letters and Covers, 1840–1860
Klein, Hal: Color Varieties and Types of the Two Cents Baby Bank Note Issues 1890-1903
Klein, Hal: The United States Transport Airmail Issue: 1941-44
Nichols, Thomas: History of the DC-4 SkyMaster Plane Design Used on United States Airmail Postal Material
Nichols, Thomas: The 1940’s: A Decade of Stamps

From Camp Monterrey, Mexico to Newburgh, New York via Point Isabel, Texas in 1846,
by Dr. Charles J. DiComo

This exhibit originally displayed at the Society’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Open House has been written up and published in the September 2019 issue of the Excelsior!. This article was awarded the Empire State Postal History Society Excelsior! Best Article Award of 2019. Enjoy!
From the Front Lines: Lt. Col. William G. Belknap’s First Hand Account of the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican-American War in 1846

Here is the original exhibit:
DiComo-Point Isabel, TX Folded Letter to Newburgh, NY – 1846 (1MB)

What follows is a new postal history find – a folded letter written by Inspector General Colonel William G. Belknap to his wife Kate dated September 24, 1846 while he was at Camp Monterrey during the last days of the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican-American War. He vividly describes the battles, his fellow officers by name killed or wounded in action, as well as General Worth’s heroism in taking the Town with limited losses.

U.S. Troops March on Monterrey, Mexico, led by General Worth.

The letter was sent to the provisional P.O. at Point Isabel, TX and cancelled with the scarce Type 1 handstamp, dated Oct. 4. From there it traveled via military transport vessel to New Orleans, LA and then sailed up to New York, where it was cancelled with a red Oct. 21-dated Newburgh circular date stamp (CDS). His wife had moved, so the folded letter was forwarded to Princeton, NJ. Total rate due upon arrival for the nearly one month journey was 15 cents.

Folded Letter, Camp Monterrey Mexico to Point Isabel TX to New Orleans to Newburgh, NY to Princeton NJ, 10+5 rate, Sept. 24, 1846.

There are less than 10 known of this Point Isabel provisional Post Office Type 1 handstamp, being used from 16 Sept.-22 Oct., 1846. A great piece of American postal military history. (A special thanks goes to my daughter Mia for helping me transcribe the letter!)

Black “PT. ISABEL/OC 4” Type 1 handstamp & red “NEWBURGH/OCT/21/N.Y.” CDS.


A Stampless-period Folded Letter from London, Upper Canada to Kilmun, Scotland,

The Canada Rebellions of 1838-1839 Revisited,

by Dr. Charles J. DiComo

The Canadian Rebellions Revisited: An 1839 FLS from London, U.C. to Kilmun, Scotland (2.5MB)

It is my pleasure to share a recent postal history find. I presented the 12 page mini-exhibit to the 100+ members and guests at the Annual Meeting, Open House and Exhibition of the Philatelic Society of Lancaster County (PSLC) on November 8, 2017. It is a Stampless-era Folded Letter Sheet (FLS) from London, Upper Canada with Canadian Rebellion-related contents to Kilmun, Scotland, 1839.

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This letter entered the mails in London, Upper Canada (U.C.); to New York City; via the sailing vessel “Virginian” to Liverpool, via coach to Glasgow; then Greenock; via small boat across the Firth of Clyde to Kilmun. The letter was written in London, U.C. on 31 March 1839. It entered the mails 1 April 1839 where the postal clerk added the red “LONDON” split-ring postmark with manuscript “April 1/39” and red “PAID”. The postage paid at London was 1s3 dcy (pence Canadian currency) for U.S. inland fee, 7½ dcy for sailing ship freight money fee, and 9 dcy for Canadian inland fee. This totaled 2s7½ dcy.

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The letter traveled via the Eric Canal to Albany, down the Hudson River to Manhattan, where is received the New York City red “NEW-YORK APL 9” CDS (with the uncommon “APL” for April instead of “APR”). It was then placed in the mail carried by the Red Star Line sailing vessel “Virginian”, which departed New York harbor on 16 April 1839. After a 20 day transatlantic voyage, the letter arrived in Liverpool on 6 May 1839. It was in Liverpool that the postal clerk added the two-line black “LIVERPOOL SHIP LETTER” on the reverse and wrote in pencil the postage due at destination of “1s8” (1 shilling 8 pence sterling) on the obverse (8p incoming shipfee plus 1sh inland fee from Liverpool to destination).

The letter the traveled ~240 miles north overland by coach to Greencock, Scotland, where the scarce two-line black “GREENOCK PENNY POST” marking was added. The letter was then transported by small boat across the Firth of Clyde to Kilmun, Scotland (a Receiving House for the Greenock Penny Post), where recipient paid 1s8p. Kilmun had no known postmarks at the time, thus there is no receiving marking on the letter.

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The three page folded letter was sent from William Murray to his mother and father, the Captain James C. Murray, with a very detailed description of the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1838-1839 and New Brunswick – Maine border dispute (the Aroostook “War”).


The United States Two Cent Red Brown 1883-1887,
by Hal Klein

The United States Two Cent Red Brown of 1883-1887 (4.8MB)

The objective of this exhibit is to highlight the two cent red brown issue of 1883, an issue that became the workhorse of the United States postal system at a time when the domestic postal rate was lowered from three cents, effective October 1, 1883 to two cents, but as early as August or September the Stamp Agency in New York City began to supply the new two cent stamps across the country.

Under the date of July 18, 1883, the Third Assistant Postmaster General sent out a circular to all Postmasters announcing the new stamps, and their use. “On and after the first day of October, 1883, the rate of postage on domestic mail matter of the first class will be reduced from three cents to two cents per half ounce or fraction thereof, as provided by the Act of Congress approved March 3, 1883.

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The exhibit illustrates: double transfers, foreign reliefs, misplaced transfers, shifted transfers, evidence of palimpsests indicating the re-use and re-work of dies, damaged plate copies, progressive plate damages, un-erased plate layout lines and dots, position dots, line plate varieties, pierced- and non-pierced ear varieties, plate scratches, both constant and non-constant varieties.


The 1938 Presidential Issue, A Postal History Look at Rates & Usages,
by Hal Klein

The 1938 Presidential Issue: Postal History Look at Rates & Usages

The exhibit is a select group of domestic and international postal history rates and usages. The rates are shown in a progressive and chronological order, breaking rates into their various service components demonstrating beginning and ending periods to illustrate their complexities. Auxiliary markings are demonstrated and explained. Foreign and Domestic Rates, including: Supplementary Rates, Postage Due, Prexies used in Lieu of Postage Due stamps, Special Delivery, Insured, Return Receipt, Avis Reception, Other Article, Forwarding, Paquebot, Return Mail, both rare and common are shown. Split-Rate Domestic and International airmail Contract and Treaty rates are presented. Military Postal Office Wartime and Peacetime Rates and Usages with Quartermaster Corp. Auxiliary Markings revealed. The covers shown from any Rate Group represents only a few examples of the total Rates & Usages of this postal history period.


1943-44 Overrun Countries Exhibits,
by Hal Klein

1943-44 Overrun Countries Exhibits

The Overrun Countries Series is comprised of 13 stamps, issued in tribute to countries overrun and occupied by the Axis powers, as follows: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, Albania, Austria, Denmark, and Korea. All of these stamps are of 5-cent denomination, 84/100 by 1 44/100 inches in dimension, arranged horizontally, and issued in sheets of 50 stamps each.

The central subjects, which are surface printed, reproduce in natural colors the flags of the respective countries with the name of the country underneath. Rays of light extend from behind the central subjects to the outer frames. The main frames of the stamps, steel engraved, are printed in purple and depict on the left the phoenix, a mythological bird symbolizing the renewal of life, and on the right, in a corresponding position, a kneeling female figure portraying the breaking of the shackles of oppression and enforced servitude. Both figures are supported by pedestals on which, in oval-shaped panels with dark ground, the numeral 5 is indicated in white. These pedestals rest on a panel, in which appears the word “Cents” in white-faced Roman. Immediately back of the wording the panel is of a darker shade fading out at each end. Across the top of the stamps are the words “United States Postage” in white-faced Gothic, within a ruled panel with ornamental scroll ends.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Treasury Department, contracted with the American Bank Note Co., New York, N.Y., for printing of these stamps to take advantage of their special multi-color printing equipment.