by Arthur W Bingham, Jr.

Part II

(reprinted from The Vermont Philatelist, May 1963)

(2009 ed. note: some parts of this article are obviously dated, but for the most part the information should still be useful today.)

(continued from the February 1963 The Vermont Philatelist)

Before taking up the individual-characteristics of the 1847 covers from the 27 Vermont postoffices from which they are known, there are a few general remarks that can be made about this group. First, there are no straightline postmarks to be found among them. That would be too good to be true, anyway. All these Covers came in the period when circle postmarks were in general vogue, and all have such postmarks varying in size from small circles, 28.5 mm, in diameter to large cartwheels, diameter 33.5 mm.,--with only one exception in that Fayetteville (now Newfane) has a manuscript postmark with the 5 stamp uncancelled. The colors of these circles are generally red or blue, with red predominating, although the red of Rutland is almost a maroon or magenta and Windsor has a shade of blue on one cover which might be called ultramarine. There are very few killer cancels of a fancy nature. The fanciest one is, of course, the St. Johnsbury "scarab" always found in red on this issue. There is also a numeral "5" outlined in red from St. Johnsbury. The other killers are mostly the usual round 7 bar grids, although Brattleboro has an unusual 12 bar grid in red and a thin lined blue diamond shaped grid. There are "Paid" cancels in red or blue and Windsor uses two of these crossed to form an "X1". St. Albans sometimes used its blue 7 bar grid struck twice at differing angles to make a lattice work, while Brandon did the same with its red one. A number of the town postmarks are struck on the stamp itself, and in the cases of Burlington and East Bennington they are "socked on the nose* in brilliant red, making very pretty covers which have become classified as philatelic gems.

Now, let us take up the covers known from each town in approximately their alphabetical order:

Bellows Falls --This town received 1500 5c stamps and 50 10c, but I know of only two covers from it. Each has a red circular postmark, 29.5 mm., in diameter, with a pen cancelled black "X" as a killer. There must be more of these covers around somewhere unless some of these stamps were redistributed to the Windsor and Woodstock postoffices (which never received any of their own).

Bennington--Will be considered in conjunction with East Bennington.

Bradford--Comes with a pretty blue 29.5 mm in diameter circle tying the 5c stamp to cover. This is one of the 1,000 5c and 100 10c stamps the office received.

Brandon--Received 500 5c stamps, but none of the 10c. Its red circle cancel is one of the smaller ones, being 285 mm in diameter, and there is a number "5" under the date. A 7 bar grid struck twice, at different angles, makes a lattice work pattern on the stamp.

Brattleboro--There should be more covers from this town than seem to be around, as Brattleboro received 3,600 5's and 300 10's, and is the principal town in the southeastern part of the state. Its well known postmaster, Dr. Frederick N. Palmer, the originator of Brattleboro's famous Postmaster Provisional, was in no way connected with Brattleboro's first 1847 stamps, being a political casualty of the election of 1848. It was his Whig successor who ordered the 1847 stamps, and then not until January 29, 1850. 1 have seen only two 5c covers and no 10's from this postoffice. One cover has a 28.5 mm in diameter circle in red with an unusual 12 bar grid tying the stamp to the cover while the other cover has the same circle-in blue, and a diamond shaped grid of 10 narrow lines cancelling the stamp. (1963 ed note: Another Brattleboro 5c with red cancel is known, but the grid, if such it be, is an indistinct red smear.) There seems to be little question that several other towns obtained their supplies of 1847 stamps from Brattleboro's stock, which does much to explain the comparative scarcity of Brattleboro cancels in view of the relatively large number of stamps received.


Brookfield--Must have been a larger town in 1847 than it is today, because it received 1,300 5's, although only 25 10's. I,have seen several covers of the 5c from this town, but we should not expect to find any 10c covers. It used a red circle 28.5 mm. in diameter, and a 7 bar grid. It is the only town in Vermont to spell its name in gothic letters, all the others using roman type

Burlington--Provides the most common of all 1847 covers from Vermont, because it received 14,600 5's and 200 10's. It used two sizes of circle postmarks, one 29.5 mm. in diameter, and the other 32.5 mm, during this period and they were always struck in red. In 1850 a red numeral "5" was added to the larger circle below the date. The usual way to cancel the stamp was to "sock it on the nose" with the circle postmark,which resulted in an unusual number of beautiful looking covers, many of which were destroyed because the stamps soaked off, or were cut off and collected on pieces of the cover only slightly larger than the cancel. However, two other killer cancellations were used - a regular 7 bar grid, and in 1850 an unusual, large, wide spaced 8 bar grid; and on these covers the postmark is applied usually at the opposite end of the cover from the stamp. As for Burlington's 200 10c stamps, I have never seen one on cover, but a friend of mine has and says the stamp is badly mutilated. Another 10c is rumored to exist.

Castleton--Received 200 5's and no 10's, but no 1847 cover is known to have survived from this small town.

Chester--Received 500 5's and 50 10's, but no 1847 cover has ever been found to the best of my knowledge. This seems surprising.

(continued in The Vermont Philatelist, August 1963)

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November 27, 2009