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Monday 28 June 2010

Nothing is Ever Lost in the Post

Nothing is Ever Lost in the Post.

How come then that on a daily basis I get "Alerts" from the Philatelic Traders' Society and others telling me that such-and-such a consignment of stamps was lost in the post between A and B?

The consignment has either been delayed - the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland did disrupt mail deliveries - or, more likely, it has been stolen. If it has been stolen, either it has been stolen in transit by someone responsible for its handling or by someone at the destination who has picked it out from a batch of communal office or domestic mail. This may sometimes include the person to whom it was addressed...

Dealers and auction houses encourage theft by two methods.

First, to save a few pennies, they use "Postage" making up colourful frankings from old commemorative stamps and such like. This helpfully indicates to anyone looking to steal from the mail that inside this small and lightweight package there are stamps or covers, and possibly valuable ones.

Dealers and auction houses who use "Postage" are a nuisance. "Postage" is fine for sending out catalogues and lists, but not for sending out valuables.

Second, and more controversially perhaps, senders' make the mistake of using Premium Rate services - Signed For, Registered, Insured. The most important fact about these expensive services is that the mail so labelled generally receives no special handling or, if it does, the handling increases the risk that it will be stolen. To begin with, it has to be handed over a Post Office counter and not dropped in a box. But that is also true for a second class letter handed over the counter and dropped in the bag.

It may be taken out of the stream for "tracking".

At the end of its journey it comes out of the general stream when a signature is requested. From start to finish, the labelling indicates to anyone who handles it that the envelope or package contains something of value.

Put together "Postage" and "Signed For"/ "Registered" and you are just asking for trouble. Someone, somewhere may well pick up the message you are sending out. "Steal Me!"

PS. A Return Address often signals that your letter contains something of value. If the return address is "Valuable Stamps Company Ltd" you could not make it clearer. And, for goodness sake, what are you doing sending stuff in the mail if you are not sure that you have got the right address for the recipient? If you are sure you have got the right address, what is the return address for? Are you covering yourself against the eventuality that the Post Office might need to return it marked "Deceased"?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, quite agreed. Any sign referring to a valuable postage item, will get more attention. Posting in a regular envelope hasn't caused any trouble though. Sending this from Europe to Canada reached the destination nicely.