British Empire Exhibition

Use of Postage Dues on Incoming Mail

By

Kenneth Tonkin

 

            Under the U P U ‘double deficiency’ regulation unstamped or underpaid mail sent to the exhibition was liable to a charge equal to double the postage underpayment. Such mail usually received a charge mark denoting the postage due required and upon receipt of payment the appropriate postage due stamp was applied and cancelled with one of the special exhibition handstamps. Examples are extremely scarce and to date only seven covers are known. All were sent by George King ‘Poste Restante’ for collection at one of the exhibition post offices, four in 1924 and three in 1925, and these are shown below.

1924

 

 

Cover No. 1

 

            Cover No. 1 was posted on the London - Newhaven T.P.O. (travelling post office) and received a London-Newhaven R.S.C. (railway sorting carriage) datestamp of the 22nd April. Postage of 1d was paid against the correct letter rate of l˝d, resulting in a 1d postage due charge. The envelope was collected on the 25th April, the day after the exhibition opened, and the postage due stamp was cancelled with the Palace of Industry handstamp dated that day. This is the earliest recorded use of a postage due stamp at the exhibition.

 

                   

 

Backstamps on cover No. 1 and cover no. 2.

 

 

Cover No. 2

 

            Cover 2 was sent in the same way but without a stamp and this resulted in a 3d postage due charge. The cover was received at the Palace of Industry post office and backstamped with a Palace of Industry handstamp dated 25th April. This envelope was not collected until the 1st May when the postage due stamp was applied and cancelled with the Palace of Industry handstamp for that day.

 

 

Cover No. 3

 

            Cover 3 was posted on the 17th June at Farnborough in Kent with ˝d postage paid and sent to the Palace of Industry post office. The 1d shortfall resulted in a 2d postage due charge. The postage due stamp was cancelled with Palace of Industry handstamp when payment was received.

 

 

Cover No. 4

 

            Cover 4 was posted on the same day at Bromley in Kent and no postage was paid, resulting in a 3d postage due charge. Unlike the previous envelope this was posted to the Palace of Engineering post office where a 3d postage due stamp was applied on receipt of payment. The stamp was cancelled with the extremely rare Stadium handstamp dated the 20th June and is the only example of this handstamp known used on incoming mail. Only two other covers with Stadium handstamps are known. It is unclear why this handstamp was used, but presumably the Palace of Engineering one was unavailable at the time.

 

1925

 

 

Cover No. 5

 

            Cover 5 was posted on the 7th May on the London & Holyhead Night Down T.P.O. with ˝d postage paid. In addition to the l˝d letter rate this envelope was liable to a Late Fee payment of ˝d taking the total underpayment to I˝d, resulting in a 3d postage due charge. A 3d postage due stamp was applied and cancelled with an Empire Exhibition Wembley Park handstamp dated the 8th May, one day before the exhibition opened. This is the earliest recorded use of a postage due stamp at the 1925 exhibition

 

 

Cover No. 6

 

            Cover 6 was also posted on the 7th May on the Down Special T.P.O. with 1d postage paid. The resulting 1d postage due was collected at the exhibition and the stamp cancelled with an Empire Exhibition Wembley Park handstamp dated the 8th May.

 

 

Cover No. 7

 

            Cover 7 was posted on the same T.P.O. but without a stamp, resulting in a 3d postage due charge. The envelope was collected on the 8th May when the postage due stamp was applied and cancelled as above.

 

 

 

© Exhibition Study Group 2010

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