There’s Gold in Them Thar Mail Crates

Although most philatelic libraries are primarily depositories for books, magazines, and archival collections. They often include some three dimensional postal-related artifacts in their collections. Dr. Frank R. Scheer, Curator  of the Railway Mail Service Library in Boyce, VA recently let me know about a terrific artifact the library just acquired for its collection.  It is a U.S. Mint Registered Mail crate for shipping gold to Ft. Knox during the 1930s. Frank indicated that he spent months trying to acquire the gold crate at a reasonable cost.  According to him, gold bars would have been placed inside the crate and then secured with a Treasury Department registered mail lock. His estimate is that it may have weighed about 500 pounds when loaded, so four burly men would likely have been lifting 125 pounds each, using two steel rods that clipped under the corner hooks. They were laid along the floor of a storage mail car, with an armed Railway Mail Clerk or Postal Inspector acting as a guard in the car en route. Frank is uncertain about how many cars were in a chartered train to Ft. Knox, but it may have been about 20. In any case it is definitely an interesting piece of history. As Frank notes the crate is essentially a three dimensional philatelic cover. Thanks Frank for sharing information about your new library acquisition.