UNITED POSTAL STATIONERY SOCIETY listing of EARLIEST REPORTED POSTMARKS (ERP) for U.S. ENVELOPES
This list is a source of basic date information on Earliest Reported Postmarks for U.S. envelopes, allowing the student to better determine when a particular envelope type was placed into circulation, based on its apparent use. The list is specifically designed to correspond with the UPSS’s 19th Century and 20th Century U.S. Envelope catalogs.
The UPSS first used the term “Earliest Reported Postmark” in its 1970 U.S. Postal Card Catalog, and continues its use for consistency.
The term “ERP” is intended to include several rather different sets of circumstances. All U.S. envelopes issued from 1853 into the modern era have ERP's which are anywhere from one day to several months or years later than the date on which they are reported to have been issued. Many envelopes have no official date of issue, but were released to meet a growing need or simply a change in paper supplier or manufacturer. Usually there was no advance notice as to these minor technological changes that now are listed.
In the case of those early issues where the so-called official date of issue and the ERP do not agree, earlier postmarks may yet be discovered. Any such discoveries, if reported with reliable documentation to the Editors, will be acknowledged and reported in future updates.
Beginning in 1951, we have the start of the present system of “first day” observances, with official First Day cancels, ceremonies, cachets, etc. Even then, the initial issuance of a basic envelope design often is the start of modifications, by watermark, size, etc., that require additional ERPs for the various types. However this list will not contain post-1951 issues known used prior to, sometimes well so, their official first day release date.
Each entry provides:
Documentable postmark date, if the date is in red then the item has not been examined by was seen in an article or auction catalog
Expertization record (APS, PF, PSE, etc.) & date if known,
Digital image as available. Clicking on the image will provide a larger image.
This list will not:
Provide a complete list of UPSS numbers, as dates for hundreds of envelope types have yet to be reported and confirmed. Gaps are to be expected.
Provide an indication of monetary values. Any buyer should be cautioned in purchasing such material based on this or any other listing. Early envelope uses, while often one of a kind, are likely to be superceded by subsequent reports.
Allow or will lead to UPSS issuing any certificates of authenticity regarding the postmark. We encourage the user to consider seeking expertization of material that may predate the information herein, and to report on the results. For expertization, a submitter might consider the APS, PF, PSE or other qualified authority services.
Nota bene: This list is a work in progress - a dynamic list that will change on new reports being received from UPSS members and from other sources. By submitting a report and the corresponding envelope for examination, the submittor agrees to allow UPSS to utilize (non-exclusively) the data and image in its future lists or publications. We encourage the student to consult other sources of information.
At this time the listing contains data for the Nesbitt, Hartford, and Mercantile issues. The other issues will be added in the future.