April brings additional decorative business reply envelopes
Mailings from nonprofit organizations have brought a couple of different decorative business reply envelopes to my post office box over the past few weeks.
An envelope from Doctors Without Borders bears three preprinted images of a bird, flowers, and fruit, each of which has the outline of die cutting around it to give it the appearance of being an actual postage stamp.
Meanwhile, a second envelope from Feeding America also has three preprinted images picturing flowers, fruit, and a tree- and bush-lined path. Like the images on the Doctors Without Borders envelope, each of these images has a printed simulated die cut border, but that border is rougher in appearance than on the first envelope. In addition, two of the designs are in landscape orientation, which is unusual for this sort of envelope.
Postally used copies of BREs such as these probably don’t exist since the charities would have no interest in the envelopes once they’ve served their purpose of delivering donations, but as I’ve written before, this sort of material would probably fit into a collection of cinderellas. At the very least, it makes opening the “junk mail” more interesting!
Recycle bin find turns out to be postal counterfeit
During a stop at my local post office to check my PO box earlier this month, I spotted in one of the recycle bins a fragment of an envelope that had a stamp on it. Even though it looked like a common flag definitive, I retrieved it; after all, modern used stamps of any sort are a welcome treat! Something about the stamp didn’t feel quite right to me, but it wasn’t until I got home and had a chance to take a closer look that it clicked: I’d fished out a postally used counterfeit.
I mentioned something didn’t feel right about the stamp, and I mean that literally: the surface of the paper is way too slick, almost soapy feeling. The color is off a bit, too. But the real clincher? The stamp has two USPS microprints! One is near the right edge of the first white stripe below the top right corner, while the other is near the right edge of the second red stripe from the bottom right corner. Genuine copies of this stamp have a single smaller microprint in one of those two locations, but not in both.
Sadly, as I mentioned, this counterfeit was on a fragment of an envelope rather than on a complete cover, so I couldn’t identify who mailed it, or from where.
I’ve heard from other collectors that they find a number of postal counterfeits when going through incoming office mail or processing kiloware, so it certainly pays to pay attention. In many cases, the people using the stamps bought them on eBay at a discount off face value and don’t even realize they’re bogus, which was the case with a different counterfeit version of this stamp that I received on a mailing nearly three years ago. It’s a pity because the people printing the counterfeits are stealing, out and out defrauding the United States Postal Service of revenue, and that can only make things more expensive for the rest of us.