Parcel Post stamps (Scott #Q1 – Q12) were issued Jan 1, 1913. They were only to be used to pay postage on packages. They were not to be used for payment of other postage rates.
The twelve stamps had different denominations. But they were all printed in red ink. Identifying the stamps took a little time because you had to scrutinize the denomination on each stamp. It was very easy to confuse the 1¢ and $1 stamps because both had a large numeral “1” in the bottom corners.
Postal clerks hated the Parcel Post stamps. Because they were all the same color, there was no way to quickly look at a package and determine if it had the right postage on it or not.
To make a long story short, the USPOD stopped printing Parcel post stamps. Effective July 1, 1913, Parcel Post stamps could be used for any postage rate. Also, payment of postage on parcels could be made with any stamps.
For just six months, only Parcel Post stamps were to be used for paying postage on parcels. Here is my challenge to you. Can you find:
A package wrapper used between Jan 1 and June 30, 1913 which was shipped parcel post, but all (or part) of the postage was paid with stamps other than the Parcel post issues
A package wrapper franked with Parcel Post stamps showing an underpayment (or overpayment) as evidence that the clerk didn’t calculate the stamps correctly.
An envelope used between Jan 1 and June 30, 1913 which was not mailed as Parcel Post, however, Parcel Post stamps were used to pay all (or part) of the postage. This would have been an improper use of Parcel Post stamps and such an item should have been charged postage due. Covers are known like this where some were caught and charged postage due, but others passed by without question.
In 1979, Henry Gobie wrote a book, “U S Parcel Post; A Postal History.” The book is 250 pages long and it is a very thorough work on these Parcel Post stamps. The book is very affordable, about $25 for a nice, used copy. I invite you to learn more about these short lived Parcel Post stamps and especially the postal history behind them. It’s a fascinating story!