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



About the Club
What is an MPP?
How to Obtain an MPP
History of MPPs
About Permit Patter
Other MPPC Information
Other Useful Links


History of MPPs


Mailer’s Precancel 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 style.

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.