United States - Dead Letter Office Seals


Catalog: Scott #OXB3

Date issued: Unknown, EKU September 9, 1882

Printing: Black

Perforation: Die cut

Inscription: "Post Office Department, / OFFICE OF THIRD ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, / DIVISION OF DEAD LETTERS, / Washington, D. C., ______, 1883. / If this letter cannot be delivered you will, at the expiration / of SEVEN days, stamp the letter with your postmarking stamp, / and return it and this circular to the DEAD LETTER OFFICE, with / your next RETURN OF UNMAILABLE LETTERS, DULY NUMBERED / AND ENTERED ON THE LIST, FORM No. 1522. / A. D. HAZEN, / Third Assistant P. M. General." with "To the person addressed: Inform your correspondent of the cor- / rect name of your post office." running vertically along left side of form

Control Number: "(3535.)" near upper left

Description: Misdirected 1883 cover from Battle Creek, MI incorrectly only partially addressed to Cincinnati, OH with very scarce 114mm x 62mm Dead Letter Office form affixed to back. Circular red "DEFICIENCY / IN / ADDRESS / SUPPLIED / AT / DEAD LETTER OFF'E" marking on front and triangular black Washington, DC Dead Letter Office March 15th datestamp (under label) struck on reverse.

This form and two other varieties of it are recorded as having been used between 1882-1886, and few appear to have survived.


Catalog: Scott #OXB7

Date issued: Circa 1891, EKU May 7, 1900

Printing: Black

Perforation: Die cut

Inscription: "Post Office Department, / DEAD LETTER OFFICE, / WASHINGTON, D.C., ______, 189 / Postmaster: / Upon the delivery of this letter, please obtain the envelope, if / agreeable to the party addressed, and return it to the Dead-Letter / Office. If the letter cannot be delivered, you will, at the expiration of / SEVEN days, stamp the letter with your postmarking stamp, and / return it and this circular to the DEAD-LETTER OFFICE, with / your next RETURN OF UNMAILABLE LETTERS, DULY NUM- / BERED AND ENTERED ON THE LIST, FORM No. 1522. / SUPERINTENDENT."

Control Number: "5-3194" at lower left

Description: May 1900 YMCA patriotic corner card cover (stamp missing) from an American soldier stationed in Puerto Rico "misaddressed" to "Floyd Co(unty) Virginia." A later version Dead Letter Office form has been affixed (text side down) to the rear of the cover with a straight pin. The back of the form is inscribed in red "P.M., Floyds Va / By inquiring among citizens / of your county -- where soldiers / were recruited from for this / battery, can you not locate / this addressee if he cannot / be reached through your own / delivery?" Violet triangular "DEFICIENCY IN ADDRESS SUPPLIED AT D.L.O." and straightline "NO POST OFFICE NAMED / [N.Y.I.D.]" handstamps on front. Violet "ADDRESS CORRECTED / MISDIRECTED / N.Y.I.D." on reverse. Letter was never delivered and it finally ended up at the Washington, DC Dead Letter Office.

The town of Floyd is situated 40 miles southwest of Roanoke. Apparently the Post Office Department was somehow confused by the "county" reference in the address. This is rather strange, as Floyd is the county seat of Floyd County Virginia.

Very unusual and scarce usage. Formerly in the collection of Miss Emma Janes, an early 20th century employee of the DC DLO.




Catalog: Drummond OSD31 (left) and Drummond OSD32 (right)

Date issued: Unknown

Printing: Red on white paper, blue on white paper

Perforation: 12

Inscription: "DEAD LETTER OFFICE. / P.O. DEPT." with "Vol." inside lower left corner of inner frame

Control Number: None

Description: These small labels, both shown enlarged, were apparently used in the Dead Letter Office during the 1890's to record tracking document location. They are known used on packages, mailing tags, and wrappers. Singles are relatively common.

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