Lynn R. Batdorf
6005 Kingsford Road
Bethesda, MD 20817
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All precancels issued by the Post Office Department (POD) or United States Postal Service (USPS) are within the scope of this committee. This includes, but is not limited to: Bureau, town & types (T&T), double-line electroplates, city-type coils, printed dated, city type coils, classic, the Washington Bicentennials, apple greens, silent, precancelled envelopes, as well as National and Service Inscibed (NSI) precancels.
The POD first authorized the precanceling of stamps in 1887, which usually consisted of lines drawn across the stamp with a pen or brush. For the first time, in the POD circular of May 26, 1903, it specified a precancel include the name of the post office and state between two parallel black lines be printed across the face of each stamp. The precancel types include: Bureau plates, city type coils, electroplates, rubber handstamps with lines, rubber handstamps with bars, wide hand electros with lines, narrow hand electros with line, vinyl handstamps with lines and play card revenues.
With more than 20,000 towns and more than 40,000 different types, printed on various denominations, the total number of different U.S. precancels are estimated to be between 1.5 and 2 million. Various sub-specialties are a natural result of this enormous scope. This vast number of precancels creates various opportunities and philatelic challenges in which precancel specialists are regularly making new discoveries. This specialty is remains dynamic with the USPS intermittently issuing new NSI precancels.
The precancel specialty has a wealth of authoritative guides. The currently available resources include: 13 print publications, 11 PDF’s, 9 databases, and 13 free electronic downloadable publications. The number of out-of-print historical references is large enough to warrant their enumeration in their own 28 page publication.