United States - "Unofficial" Seals

In some instances, unusual types of labels other than normal government-issued official seals were used to reclose mails either opened in error or to reseal envelopes received open at the post office. It would seem that the use of these "unofficial" seals would have been contrary to postal regulations of the time. Shown below are a few examples.


Catalog: Unlisted

Date issued: 1891

Printing: Black

Perforation: Imperforate

Inscription: "TO THE POSTMASTER. / Should this package miscarry or remain / uncalled for, we will send necessary stamps / to prepay its return, if you will kindly in- / form us of the amount required. / BOSTON RUBBER CO., Boston, Mass."

Control Number: "Form C. S.-1000-2,27,91" below frame line at lower left

Description: 1892 Salem G. LeValley Sporting Goods corner card cover from Buffalo, NY to Boston, MA with two privately made pledge labels affixed. Apparently the "Boston Rubber Company" received and opened enough incorrectly addressed mail intended for the "Boston Rubber Shoe Company" that it was forced to prepare special labels to reseal the envelopes for re-entry into the mail system.

Few covers are known with this seal applied.


Catalog: Unlisted

Date issued: circa 1904

Printing: Black on yellow paper

Perforation: Imperforate

Inscription: "PRINTED MATTER / FROM / ILLINOIS WATCH CO. / SPRINGFIELD, ILL."

Control Number: None

Description: Two privately printed "Illinois Watch Company" labels used to reclose top of 1904 cover from London, England to Springfield. IL that was opened by mistake by the incorrect addressee.

To date, this is the only recorded cover using this label as an official seal.

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by T. Hirn
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Updated August 2, 2009