Welcome to the Official Website of the
Mailer's Postmark Permit Club
APS Affiliate No 100
Founded May 1, 1979 by John M. Howell
Incorporated October 21, 1999
History of MPPs
Postmarks (MPPs) were first authorized on Feb 20, 1925 by Postmaster
General Harry S. New in Order 1594. This authorization was made public by
Postal Bulletin 13716 dated March 7, 1925.
Immediately following this authorization in the
Postal Bulletin was a small notice from the Third Assistant Postmaster
General, W. Irving Glover. This announcement outlined and illustrated the
format to be used for MPP cancellations. This later became the Format B
style of permits.
This first authorization only permitted the use of
MPPs on government stamped envelopes. The usage was expanded to include
postal cards on May 29, 1930 according to Order 10325 issued by Postmaster
General Walter F. Brown.
MPPs led a quiet life without any changes until 1978.
On Sept 21, 1978, Postal Bulletin 21156 was released which made major
changes in the rules concerning MPPs.
In addition to the previously authorized postal
stationery items, regular issue adhesive postage stamps were added to the
list of items permitted to be cancelled. Also, the format for MPPs was
changed to the current Format A style. Old style permits were still
allowed to be used but all new permits were supposed to be in the new
The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) of July 31, 1979
incorporated these major changes into Section 143 which governs the use of
MPPs. This issue also added the category of commemoratives to the list of
items permitted to be cancelled with an MPP.
There were three differences between the style of MPP
illustrated in Postal Bulletin 21156 and the style shown in the 1979
edition of the DMM. This “new” format was composed of four wavy lines
instead of three as illustrated in the bulletin. The ZIP Code was placed
at the top of the circular date stamp versus the bottom center
illustration in the bulletin. Lastly, the date was shown in the two lines
contrary to the use of three lines shown in the bulletin.
To end all of the controversy over which format was
correct, the Mail Classification Center in Washington, DC issued a
clarification letter. This letter permitted MPP users to do several
things: (1) Permit holders who obtained an MPP in the format illustration
in Postal Bulletin 21156 could continue using it, (2) the ZIP Code was to
be shown at the bottom center of the CDS, (3) three cancellation lines
were permitted but, four were preferred in accordance with the 1979 DMM,
and (4) the date could be shown in either two or three lines.
The DMM edition of May 15, 1980 included all of these
clarifications into Section 143. It also contained two minor additions
that were earlier overlooked. Cancellations must be in black ink and the
authorization of MPPs in a non-standard format was forbidden.
Postal Bulletin 21587 of Oct 2, 1986 added a new
design to the Format A permits. In place of the usual town, state, and ZIP
Code designation, “Mailed From Zip Code” followed by the 5-digit ZIP
Code was now permitted.
While the US Postal Service considers this new
“Mailed From Zip Code” style under the same Format A classification,
these are referred to as Format Z (for ZIP Code) within this checklist to
differentiate between the two authorized Format A styles. The Format Z
authorization was included in the Dec 20, 1987 DMM edition.
On October 26, 1995, Postal Bulletin 21905 was
released. Effective immediately, Form 3615 consolidated a number of forms
into a single form, including Form 3620 – the old application used to
apply for a Mailer’s Postmark Permit. This was also about the time that
the USPS was renumbering the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM). So changes were
reflected in Section P023 of the DMM and the old Section 143 in the
Domestic Mail Manual Transition Book (DMMT).
Current regulations regarding the use of MPPs are covered in Section P023 of the DMM.
This cover is the earliest reported usage of an MPP cancel. It was used by John Jones & Co, a grocery store from New York. Note that the permit number is blacked out. That is the way it is on the cancel. It was not blacked out by a marker. This cancel is dated Apr 6, 1925, only six weeks after MPP cancels were first authorized.