Back in the day, before
postage meters were in widespread use, companies kept
inventories of postage stamps on hand for the obvious reasons.
Since you could exchange stamps for money at the Post Office, companies applied for permission to
perforate their stamps with company initials or insignia
(PERForated INitialS or PERForated INsigniaS) so that
unscrupulous employees could not steal them and use them or
trade them in for cash. These stamps are usually called perfins.
Once the Pitney-Bowles postage
meters came into widespread use during the late 20's to early 30's, the use
of perfins dropped off dramatically.
In the Joe Timko Collection is an 8 cent Grant
(1923), an 11 cent Hayes (1922) and a 15 cent Franklin (1916)
with the Upjohn perfin (assigned "U 14"). In addition to
the clearly-visible "U Co" seen from the reverse, the stamps
were additionally pre-cancelled in Kalamazoo to further inhibit
It's hard to see but there is "Upjohn" stamped at the top of
this 2-cent carmine rose Narcotic stamp. The mailing date on it
is June 5, 1919.
This type of pre-paid card was widely used by the Upjohn sales
organization. Note the
postage is 3 cents.
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