Parcel-Post Postage-Due Stamps of 1912

The parcel-post postage-due stamps are of the same size as the parcel-post postage stamps. The color is green for all denominations. In a horizontal panel across the top are the words “U. S. parcel post” and, in a similar panel at the bottom, “Postage Due”, in Roman capital letters.

Parcel-Post Postage-Due Stamps 1-5 cent

In the center, upon a background of lathework, and within a circular frame, is a larger numeral expressing the denomination. The upper half of the circular frame carries the denomination in words which are repeated in the lower half, except that the words expressing the denomination appear but once upon the 25-cent stamp.

Parcel-Post Postage-Due Stamps 10-25 cent

Small numerals of the denomination are on both sides of the large central numeral.

The denominations with dates of issue follow:

Parcel-Post Postage-Due Stamps description

While the parcel-post stamps were of appropriate design and sufficiently distinctive to identify at a glance mail to which they were affixed as parcel-post matter, objections to them began to develop from the outset. All denominations were printed in the same color caused difficulty in handling which the large numerals failed to prevent. Another objection was the size of the stamps, which was too large for small parcels and labels, particularly when more than one stamp was required for postage. The issuing of the stamps in sheets of 45. made necessary by the size of the stamps, was troublesome to the department, to postmasters and their employees, and to the public, because of the difficulty experienced in counting and computing multiples of 45 as compared with the sheets of 100, to which the Postal Service and the public are accustomed.

The objections to the stamps led to steps to reduce the size and change the designs and color scheme. March 21, 1913, the Postmaster General approved a design for a new parcel-post stamp, which was of the same size and shape as the ordinary postage stamp but with the long dimension horizontal instead of vertical, and ha\ing a large numeral expressing the denomination in the center in place of the usual picture. The colors were to correspond with those of the ordinary stamps of similar denominations.

No stamps of the new design were printed, however, as the department decided that the distinctive parcel-post stamps could be discontinued entirely. These stamps served but one useful purpose; that is, to indicate the parcel-post revenue, and this object, it was held, could be accomplished with sufficient accuracy for all practical purposes by other means. The distinctive stamps were expensive to produce, handle and account for, and were a source of serious embarrassment and vexation to the public as well as to the Postal Service. These disadvantages far outweighed the single advantage possessed by the stamps as a medium of revenue statistics.

The ordinary stamp should be sufficiently elastic for even’ postage purpose (except payment of postage due) so that it can be used for the prepayment of postage on all classes of mail, special-delivery service, and registry, insurance, and C.O.D. fees. Such broad usefulness saves the public and the Postal Service the inconvenience and annoyance involved in the restricted validity of special stamps and simplifies and facilitates public patronage of the service.

The parcel-post law provided for the use of distinctive stamps on fourth-class mail, but it also authorized the Postmaster-General, with the consent of the Interstate Commerce Commission, to reform the conditions of mail-ability for the purpose of promoting the service to the public. Under this latter provision, the Postmaster-General, with the approval of the Interstate Commerce Commission, in Order No. 7241 of June 26, 1913. effective July 1, 1913, directed that ordinary postage stamps should be valid for postage, insurance, and C.O.D. fees on parcels, and that distinctive parcel-post stamps should be valid for all-purpose for which ordinary stamps are valid: also, that the regular issue of due stamps and the distinctive parcel-post due stamps should be valid for the collection of unpaid and short-paid postage on all classes of mail.

It was further ordered that the issuance of distinctive parcel-post stamps and parcel-post due stamps be discontinued after the existing stocks were exhausted and that no additional supplies should be printed.

Published by John Jr. Paperly
Source: Postage Stamps of the United States 1847-1959