Thursday, November 10, 2011

11/11/11 Postmarks

For the philatelist in you, you might think it fun to obtain a cancel commemorating this once-a-century mathematical treat. Unfortunately, as Veterans Day is a federal holiday, very few post offices are actually open and thus few Nov. 11, 2011 hand-cancels are actually available.

Here are some ways to get 11/11/11 cancels. The first four methods are date-specific -- that is, they can only be done on 11/11/11 itself. The last way could be accomplished after the fact.
1. Find a post office that's actually open. I'm thinking the Main Post Offices of New York and Chicago as well as a few scattered Air Mail Centers. Even offices open seven days a week in rather large cities, such as in Philadelphia, are closed on Veterans Day. Some post offices in malls are required by lease to be operational during all mall hours, seven days a week; but Veterans Day generally trumps even that.

2. Accept a potentially horrible spray-on cancel from the local processing facility of your choice. That is, just put a letter in a mailbox today. Mail it to yourself. Admire the wonder that is overnight delivery, especially because some postal executives would rather not have it around for too much longer.

3. Go to a Contract Postal Unit (CPU). If you're anywhere near a city in Ohio, Michigan, or Iowa, you're especially in luck because Meijer stores and some Iowa regional super-supermarket chains have CPUs at each of their locations. You can use the USPS Locator to see if there are any contract facilities near you. Most sizable towns/cities have at least one, and since they're not staffed by USPS workers they should be open today. Note: This is always an iffy proposition, because the workers / manager there might have no idea what you're talking about, and/or they might have been instructed not to cancel anything with their dating devices. It's not their fault.

4. Pop in at the nearest USPS processing center Bulk Mail Entry Unit -- assuming there's a visitor or bulk mailer entrance so you wouldn't get arrested for trespassing. I believe these are open on federal holidays. See if you can plead with them to get an 11/11/11 cancel. There might be a non-bulk mail-specific dater lying around that could be used for this.

5. The most recent Postal Bulletin details several 11/11/11 pictorial cancellations, which one can request through the mail for 30 days. Some are Veterans Day-specific, others are coincidental. But for pure numerals, they can't be beat. Instructions are shown in the (rather large) graphic.

Groton, CT is a philatelic stalwart. Combine a local Naval Sub Base and an active local philatelic society to obtain frequent pictorial cancellations. The 30th anniversary of the U.S.S. Ohio is also being commemorated on a pictorial on our other coast in Keyport, WA! Collect them both!

The Ocala, FL pictorial is the only one that overtly commemorates Veterans Day, though Abbot, ME's Monument Square Station cancel could be seen as related to the date, given its Honor Roll Dedication. Normal, IL's post office sesquicentennial postmark and Tucson, AZ's centennial Steam Train Station postmark are coincidental to the date, but I'll still mail for them anyway!

Yours in collecting,
-- Evan K.

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