Not a Small World, After All

The American Philatelic Research Library regularly lends up to five books by mail to APS members wherever the U.S. Postal Service can reach them. This standard five-week loan by mail allows for time in transit. If seven weeks go by and the books have not been returned, we take the first steps to get them back.

On March 3, I emailed an overdue reminder to a 27-year member of the APS to whom we had sent the two volumes of Intercontinental Airmails 55 days before. I was not prepared for his reply:

“What a coincidence!  The books arrived YESTERDAY.  I am constantly amazed (dismayed?) at how long it takes for surface mail to get here from the Mainland.”

Seven weeks and five days in transit? It was my turn to be amazed. No wonder he’s interested in Intercontinental Airmails!

Then I noted the last line in his address: Saipan, MP  96950

For those of you unfamiliar, as I was, with that obscure postal abbreviation, “MP” means the Northern Marianas Islands. Military history buffs will recall Saipan as the scene of a Pacific battle ― now there’s an oxymoron on which no one ever remarks ― in the summer of 1944. Continue reading “Not a Small World, After All”

An unusual address

Fellow PL&R blogger Don Heller brought in an amusing selection from the April 15, 1861 Boston Daily Advertiser:

A letter, post-marked at Manchester, N.H., arrived at the Portland post-office last week, bearing the following direction:—”The youngest, unmarried, blue-eyed lawyer in Portland, Maine.” Wonder what were its contents.

Wonder, indeed, what were its contents—and where the Portland post office delivered the letter!

Cornflakes, pig iron, and sheet iron

CornflakesLast week, we asked in our trivia question which breakfast cereal lent its name to a postal forgery operation. William Harnish correctly guess cornflakes and pointed to a Wikipedia article about the operation.

I thought of the question because of a publication that we just cataloged called The Story of Cornflakes, Pig Iron and Sheet Iron. The report was published in Rome in May 1945 and contains a written report as well as photos.

You can also read more about the operation in an article in the August 1984 American Philatelist, “‘Cornflakes’: Using Postal Forgeries to Place Anti-Nazi Literature on German Breakfast Tables.”

Friday fun: another answer, and some curiosities

Last week, we askedThe Stamp Collector's Magazine:

Why is a naughty schoolboy like a postage stamp?

The commenters on this blog got most of the answer, and a Facebook reader got the last bit. Here’s the whole answer, and congratulations to Marty, Neil, Dylan, and Kate!

Because he needs to be licked and put in the corner to make him stick to his letters.

With that, the editor of The Stamp Collector’s Magazine seems to have run out of riddles. But I promised something fun, so here are a few selections from a July 1863 article entitled, “Curiosities of the American Dead-Letter Office,” about the curious ways correspondents close their letters.

Excuse my way of speling, for you now me.
Your friend, Sam.

Adieu, and may the benediction of these covering heavens fall on thy head like lead.
Yours respectfully, au revior, Box 936, City.

Write to me as soon as possible, if not sooner.
I remain yours truly, Delia.

Stay tuned next week for something lighthearted – a riddle if I can find one!

Friday fun: the Tuscan Lion answer and another conundrum

Tuscan LionTwo weeks ago, we asked:

Why is the Tuscan lion like the British Empire?

This was a tough one! Perhaps it would have helped you to know that The Stamp Collector’s Magazine, from which this conundrum came, was a British publication? The answer, as published in the May 1, 1863 issue:

Because it upholds the crown with dignity; and at the same time holds out a shield to all the world.

The only correct answer back in 1863 came from Ralph, who received a Pony Express stamp for his efforts.

Here’s another conundrum for you, from the October 1, 1863 issue. I think you’ll find this one a little easier! The answer will be posted here next Friday.

Why is a naughty schoolboy like a postage stamp?

Friday fun: an answer, and a new conundrum

Last week, we asked:

Why is the Penny English stamp like a newspaper?

The answer, from the July 1, 1863 Stamp Collector’s Magazine:

Because it was first black printed on white, and then red (read).

No one posted an answer here on the blog, but several people answered when I posted it on Facebook. Marty Mazur’s answer was the closest to that printed in the magazine. Congratulations, Marty!

Now on to this week’s conundrum, which is a bit more difficult, from the April 1, 1863 Stamp Collector’s Magazine:

Why is the Tuscan lion like the British Empire?

Sorry, but we can't offer the prize that the Stamp Collector's Magazine editor did!