Upjohn Stamps  

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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 theft.

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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