1912 10¢ Steamship and Mail Tender
Issue Date: 1913
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Engraved
Color: Carmine rose
In 1912, the U.S. Postal Department introduced parcel post service for sending items weighing 16 ounces or more through the mail. The mail is divided into four classes, with parcel post making up the fourth class. Almost any type of merchandise can be mailed parcel post, including day – old chicks, baby alligators, and honeybees. Only items that could be dangerous to handle cannot be sent through Parcel Post. Rural Americans used the new mail class to access goods and merchandise they could not have gotten before, giving rise to mail order giants like Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Montgomery Ward and Co.
Twelve stamps with various denominations were issued in 1912-13 to prepay the fourth-class rate. The four Parcel Post stamps with denominations of 5¢, 10¢, 15¢, and 20¢ feature transportation of the mail. Although different vignette designs were featured, all twelve stamps used the same border and color, which caused a great deal of confusion for postal workers.
The 10¢ Parcel Post Stamp
The image on the 10¢ stamp is the German ocean liner, the Kronprinz Wilhelm. It is based on a photo taken as the ship came into New York Harbor on February 23, 1902. The skyscrapers in the background didn’t exist in the original photo but were added to make the stamp look like the Staten Island skyway of 1912. The stamp was issued on December 9, 1912 and, almost 57 million of these stamps were printed.
Less than a year later, the Postmaster General authorized ordinary postage for use on parcel post. Parcel post stamps were then made valid for all classes of mail and were used as regular postage until the supply was depleted.