Kevin Blackston
PO Box 217
Floresville TX 78114-0217
United States of America

Parcel fragment shows unusual use of American Indian stamp

I recently had the opportunity to acquire an unusual example for my collection of 14¢ American Indian stamps on cover. It’s a solo use of the stamp on a parcel fragment mailed from Summerville, South Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida—coincidentally, my old stomping grounds—in 1937.

Parcel fragment bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp and postmarked in Summerville, South Carolina
14¢ American Indian parcel fragment postmarked in Summerville, South Carolina

Although there was a 14¢ parcel post rate in effect in 1937, it was for items mailed over longer distances than the distance between Summerville and Jacksonville, so how do we explain the use of the American Indian stamp by itself here? The answer lies in the inverted “Insured” marking handstamped below the mailing address.

While the parcel post zone 3 rate—that is, the rate for a mailing traveling 150–300 miles—for a package weighing up to one pound was only 9¢ in 1937, the insurance fee for up to $5 in coverage was 5¢. Add those two numbers together, and you get exactly 14¢, the face value of the American Indian stamp.

(As an aside, the addressee may have had a very indirect connection to the motion picture industry. You can read more in my detailed write-up on the piece.)

This strikes me as an unlikely way to get to a solo use of the 14¢ American Indian, and I suspect I would be hard pressed to find another, so I’m very pleased to have added this to my collection.

Published 2024-01-19


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