United States - Informational Seals

This section will show examples of a few different types of semi-official informational labels used during the later part of the 19th century by some of the larger post offices. These labels were most commonly used to explain to the sender the reason for non-delivery of the letter. None are Scott listed.

Catalog: Unlisted

Date issued: circa 1885

Printing: Black on horizontally laid yellow paper

Perforation: rough perf. 12

Inscription: "Letter returned to / the office by Carrier. / If the address on this letter is / correct, or there is any other rea- / son why the carrier should have / delivered it, please send the en- / velope, with a statment of the / facts, to the Postmaster, that he / may inquire why it was not delivered."

Control Number: none

Description: 1885 cover from New York City to a local address, undelivered because occupant was "Deceased", with small yellow returned by carrier label on front tied by large violet "RETURNED / TO / WRITER. / CANNOT BE FOUND / BY / N.Y.P.O." pointing hand dated September 4th. These labels are relatively common but are usually found affixed on the back of the envelope, not on the address side. They are also known with slightly different typesetting of the wording as well as on blue or grayish paper.

Catalog: Unlisted

Date issued: circa 1886

Printing: Black on yellow green vertically laid paper

Perforation: 12

Inscription: "Post Office Department. / TO THE PERSON ADDRESSED: / Inform your correspondent of the / correct name of your post office. / TO THE POSTMASTER: If this letter cannot be delivered it / should be marked misdirected and / sent to the Dead Letter Office, as pre- / scribed in Sec. 443 of the Postal Reg- / ulations."

Control Number: none

Description: 1886 illustrated Hartford Insurance Company corner card cover from Hartford, CT to La Fayette, IL unclaimed & returned to writer with circular magenta "DEFICIENCY / IN / DIRECTION / SUPPLIED / BY / CINCINNATI, O. POST OFFICE." handstamp and yellow green postal label directing addressee to notify writer of correct address applied at lower left. "TOL(EDO) & ST. L(OUIS). R.P.O. / N.L." and "MISDIRECTED / CIN'TI. O." backstamps.

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© Copyright 2003
by T. Hirn

Updated June 9, 2003