Mailer’s Postmark Permit?

I’ve only recently learned (just a very little) about Mailer’s Postmark Permits (MPP). That in the US (I do not know if it’s available in other countries) a person can apply for a permit to cancel their own mail.

I am unclear as of yet as to how to apply for the permit, and the restrictions/qualifications for having your stamp made (I saw one post online somewhere saying they are very restrictive and no special logos are allowed, but then I also saw elsewhere more decorative cancellations) but I am intrigued by this process. It seems like a nice way to break up the monotony of the local, blurred and boring machine cancellation. I’ll continue to google around for that, but meanwhile, I also specifically wondered if any postcrossers were already involved with this.

Who here has an MPP to use for postcrossing? What are your experiences with getting a permit? Where do you get your rubber/cancelling stamps made? Does your mail arrive at the destinations with your nice postmarks or do they tend to get “double cancelled” with the machine mark anyway?

(I wasn’t sure whether this belonged in the top postcards and mail category, or the stamps and postal info sub-category. Let me know if I need to move it :slight_smile: )

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you apply for the permit at your local post office and mail cancelled must be sent from that post office (must be handed into the clerk each time). there is no fancy postmark, it just your permit number with the post office information. they can give you the information at your post office - maybe online too?

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Well I have seen some fancy/pictorial MPP postmarks, the biggest example being Olathe Poste/WCP-NM variety of postmarks: [Edited to remove a link that is no longer valid] one of the only 2 results on this forum when I searched mailer’s postmark permit was a wolf maxi card that had been cancelled with a pictorial wolf postmark from Olathe owner Bill Porter)

And this permit holder has fairly conventional stampers but you see a little variety in how their circle stamps are designed (and one football shaped): The Postmark Sample Site

Of course, they must design and have these stampers custom made themselves, not something a post office supplies. Olathe Poste is an online business - or one part of multiple connected online businesses - and they sell custom rubber stamps so they make and use quite a lot of different postmarks; most individuals would only have one or maybe two because I think you have to have each rubber stamp approved by the usps.

I just was hoping to hear a bit from individuals who had gone through this process themselves as the form I found online is a bit wordy and complex. Also, one thing I have seen scattered around on message boards is that a lot post office employees aren’t familiar with the process and so I thought it would be good to build up a little more knowledge before I go in.

There used to be an MPP club, but it disbanded a few years back, and googling has led me to a few message board conversations, but mostly a few years (or even a decade) old so it seems like something that isn’t terribly widely talked about. (I really did attempt google before posting, lol!)

However, after posting this topic (and I would still love to hear from postcrossers with experience) I did find a facebook group and saw posts from people very recently applying for/getting approved for the permit, so that may be helpful.

EDIT Jan 2024: The Olathe Post is no more. (a little more on that in another message below) So I’m editing this to remove the link as the URL now redirects to an nsfw site

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This sounds like so much fun, I would love this opportunity. In Norway, everything is sorted in one place, so the cancellation doesn’t even say where you posted the card anymore … and about have the stuff I receive from Norway doesn’t have a cancellation anyway!

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Hi, Shelley!
I have just admitted you in the Facebook group about MPP, which group I founded and I administer.
I was also part of the MPP Club.
“I’m your expert guide”. :wink:
In that FB group, read the document about how to get an MPP.
I got 4 postmarking devices, for 4 zip codes, done by my friend Bill Porter, of the Olathe Post. His local postmaster is open-minded, and accepts for mailing the mail pieces with the pictorial versions of Bill’s MPP cancelers.
Also, I created that wolf maxicard with MPP from Bill.
My friend Ray Younkins can enlist his executives from USPS to enlighten and persuade your local postmaster.
Only Germany has a similar program. Sorry, Norway!
But…you can still get an American MPP, like my friend Derwin Mak (Canada)!

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when i’d applied for a permit, was given the only option as olathe 1st postmark. was given 2 options and they were almost the same design. was told i had to pay for the stamp after getting approved of the design (the post office must approve the design first). only reason i’d applied for the permit as i had attended a lot of stamp shows in california and got lots of mint stamps of non-profit and pre-sorted stamps what have not a full amount (eg. 7.1¢ or 6.2¢) and had to have a permit to use them. was given the information from our philatelic center (a long long time ago before the post office started closing these centers). it was free to apply for the permit and after a while after running out of these stamps, it was more of a burden to go to this post office every time i wanted to post items with the postmark than going to town and post items at a mailbox or another post office. hope you live in a small town where the lines are small as you must present the items postmarked to the clerk every time. and now a days (depending of the sorting office), the items will still go thru their sorting machine - getting another cancel mark on top of yours.
other option is to apply for a pictorial postmark. but this is becoming more difficult to do. inquire at your local post office about this. and the post mark would be used for 30 days (unless applied for an extention). i say it is becoming harder to apply as you need to find a post office to apply for you. but with no more overtime pay for employees, i do not see someone at that post office to volunteer to cancel items on their day off, not getting paid on the first day of issue. this postal employee must man the table at the event for the day, selling postal items, along with issuing the pictorial postmark. you can inquire about this at your post office or maybe online at the usps website.

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Thank you! I’ll read through the document posted in the group. I will see what questions that answers for me and what questions I might still have after.

Ah, so that helps give me some insight. Olathe is such a small town, so I can see where he would have a more established relationship with the postmaster. My city is no L.A. or Chicago sized metro, but we’re also far from being a small town so I won’t count on any special treatment or wiggle room at my post office. So a conventional circle it will be for me then. :slight_smile:

I don’t know if I will get any pushback on the conventional postmark application yet - I just figured since I heard of some people having trouble at their post office, I should learn a bit more about the process before going forward with applying. I will certainly reach out if I do need your friend’s assistance though.

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Thank you for all that additional insight from your experience. I don’t live in a small town, but I have pretty good luck at my post office with quick service, as long as I go at the right time. (I learned not to go around lunch, lol, when everyone on their lunch break is stopping by to mail things.)

Ah, you have brought up something I hadn’t considered. I knew USPS pictorial postmarks were for a specific, limited time. I did not realize that if an individual (or organization) applied for creating those pictorial postmarks that they would also be limited time. I can see why a large organization would want to do so for a special or historical event, and Olathe Poste does so much business in the philately arena, that combined with being well-established with the local post office, it makes sense for them. But not for me as an individual. So I’ll just apply for the conventional permit for now.

samquito, the pre-sorted stamps are NOT for you, a holder of the free permit MPP.
They are for the commercial bulk mailers, who pay like $200/year for their version of MPP, to use those pre-sorted stamps which they buy at a discounted rate.

Shelley, you can explore later getting USPS to do a pictorial postmark with your design.
For now, you can write and have USPS apply various available pictorial postmarks on your covers and postcards to be made into maxicards.

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Shelley, you should ask for permit #1 in your zip code. Probably you will be the first philatelist for precancels; don’t let them give you a number in the bulk mailers bunch.
If you don’t create maxicards, on glossy postcards, then you can simply call and ask Bill to give you a self-inking MPP canceler, good enough for envelopes.
I have cancelers with separate date slug, and separate inkpads, because I create maxicards.
I position the date slug for maximum visibility, after I apply the circle MPP postmark on a postcard.
Also, I use StazOn pigment-based ink, not water-based, in my inkpads.
Best ink in the world.

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I filled out the form and handed it into my post office when I lived in the US but never heard anything back from them, maybe they’d never heard of it.

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Yes, probably they were not familiar with the intricacies of USPS Form 3615, for 1) philatelic precancels, and 2) commercial bulk mailers.
You should have followed up.
You can do it again, with the info that I detailed in the previous posts here.

I just tried the first link you posted and am sorry to say it took me to a Japanese porn site.:scream::face_with_peeking_eye:

Well, yikes I’m very sorry that happened!

It WAS an active website for a postal and rubber stamp store when I linked it, but since the website is gone now I have removed the link.

I checked it out on the internet archive/wayback machine and it looks like the site went inactive in July 2021, a couple months after my post, though the url didn’t get bought/turned into a redirect until sometime later.

If you google “olathe poste” and “bill porter” you can find some blog posts and flickr posts with pictures of the pictorial cancel stamps that were available if you mailed letters through his shop, which were what I was trying to show as examples.

Google also turned up an obituary from this year, so my guess is that he closed his business when his health was declining.

Sorry again and happy future postcrossing

I used this site to guide me when I got mine, and talked to the person at my local post office who handles bulk mail. They’re who processed the application.