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September 17, 2018



Hate 'em and now I understand what is behind this mess on the envelope. But how were the cancellations created before Spray on?

Alex Hamling

The pictorial postmarks are a wonderful throwback to having mail carriers actually handle your mail! I routinely send away for pictorial postmarks and to have the PP applied to my outgoing mail but find that ~10% of the outgoing mail are returned to me rather than mailed to their recipients.

The spray cancels are a poor excuse for cost savings. Just use more ink and make an actual picture/slogan/message.

One idea would be to have a small percentage of mail actually hand canceled. Choose the non-machinable, and 0.1% of the regular mail. Apply pictorial postmarks if available followed by the town cancel.

The USPS could then give an award/recognition to the post office that applied the most, or an award for the best produced pictorial postmark.

Just my $0.02,

Dr. Alex


So that's what that says. Sometimes I wonder where the poor person who asked "but how will it look on the envelope?" is now. I hope they get a hug and/or a "you were right" from someone, even if it doesn't fix anything.


I do NOT care for the ugly and illegible spray-on postmarks. Half the time I can't make out the postmark date. That's why I usually stand in line for a (hand) local cancel (which is in red ink here). Well that, and so I can have a cancellation that accurately reflects my town. For me, the automated processing with spray-on postmark would be from a larger town more than a hundred miles away.

Karen B

I'm with Trey; I often stand in line for an hand cancel, especially if I'm traveling. This one even "teases" with the large circle with city and date like in the old days.... but the Instagram doesn't show that. Sad because the people who actually would care and send more cards/letters are the ones who would be disappointed... I don't think many others would even notice, really


When I received a letter with this postmark on it, I had absolutely no idea what it was even supposed to say until I saw the column in Linn's. While I prefer a nice round handstamp, I'm not vehemently opposed to spray-on cancellations, but I think the USPS needs to keep them simple. The technology obviously doesn't support complex designs.

Donovan Beeson

The Arago link covers a lot of the postmarking methods that came before, but in general, it was hand stamped.

Donovan Beeson

Id give them a hug, for sure.

Donovan Beeson

Its that way for everyone who doesnt request hand cancel because the mail all goes to a Regional Processing Center. And even then, sometimes, already hand cancelled mail gets run through the automated system and gets a spray-on over top of the hand cancel. Its maddening.

Alan B

Hand cancellation is no longer available in Britain, and the machines only seem to put an ink-jet splodge on every other envelope (especially if it's something out of the ordinary like LWA mail) so mail usually arrives with a felt-pen scribble over the stamps, which is even more annoying.

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