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Maritime Postal History

Maritime Markings of Great Britain

Ron Shanahan provides a useful introduction to the topic of British ship letter marks.


This site is directed to philatelists who are interested in ship mail, especially lovers and collectors of Paquebot Cancellations.

Maritime Postal History

Naval Cover Museum

A Naval Cover is any envelope, postcard, or other postal medium that is mailed from or somehow related to a navy ship, location, or event. Beginning in 1908, post offices were established on board U.S. Navy ships and each ship had one or more postmarks to "cancel" the stamps used on the cover. The postmark, or cancellation, would usually have the ship's name and the date that the cover was cancelled. Starting in the 1930s, covers with printed designs, called cachets, began appearing and established a large following. Many different cachets were designed and sent to various ships to be cancelled and mailed. Some cachets were designed for a specific ship while others were generic (perhaps for a holiday or commemorating an historical event) and sent to many different ships. World War II severely curtailed the creation and distribution of cachets and while covers with cachets are still created today, the phenomenon has never regained its pre-war level of enthusiasm. Naval Covers present us with a snapshot of history; a window into a passing age. You hold history in your hand and wonder about the lives, the men and women, the events that were part of that era. Their image is preserved here. Come and visit them.

Universal Ship Cancellation Society (USCS)

Founded in 1932, the USCS is an international philatelic organization of over 1,500 members with an interest in postmarks and covers from all maritime services. This includes Navy ships of all countries, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Navy bases, merchant ships with seapost and paquebot markings, related cachets, and other naval memorabilia. It is the only organization in the United States devoted to Navy and maritime covers, and is one of the oldest specialized postal history societies in the world.

USS Oregon, "Bulldog of the Fleet"

A very good postal history exhibit.