U. S. Special Delivery Stamp and RPO Cancellation

[Special Delivery]

This stamp was used, of course, to pay the Special Delivery fee for letters requiring immediate delivery. Distinctive designs and colors were used for these stamps, to prevent the possibility of these letters being mixed in with regular First Class mail. The stamp illustrated is assigned the Scott number E5, and was issued in 1895. The engraving is particularly fine, depicting the "running messenger", a symbol no doubt of the Post Office rapidly delivering the letter to the waiting customer.

This image is from a cover that was used in 1902. The cancellation is from a "Railway Post Office", that is, a moving railway car (usually right behind the locomotive, the most dangerous location on a train) full of postal clerks sorting and handling the mail "on the fly". This type of postal history is of interest to members of the Mobile Post Office Society.

You can also view a much higher quality scan of this stamp only [141k JPG].

You can view another special delivery stamp on its own page.

Copyright © 2014 Robert Swanson

Based on Code by Louis Lazaris. See article and original inspiration.

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