Fancy Cancels are Rare and Fun to Collect
These early stamps with fancy cancels are seldom seen by collectors. (The 10 cancels are all different, but the stamps may be the same.)
When U.S. postage stamps were first introduced in 1847, postmasters were instructed to cancel the stamps so they couldn’t be reused. Before cancellations were standardized in the 1890s, some postal employees showed their artistic talent by carving cork bottle stoppers into patterns and designs. Soon stamps showed animals, stars, crosses, and more.
The post office in Waterbury, Connecticut, produced special cancels for holidays, and some of them are quite valuable today. In fact, a cover with three 1869 “running chicken” cancels sold for $230,000 in 1995! Though you won’t find a running chicken in this offer, you’ll enjoy adding these rare fancy cancel stamps to your collection.