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They just don't get it.

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

When a community or organization has an event or anniversary it wants to commemorate, the 
local post office often provides what's called a pictorial postmark -- a cancellation with 
a design and text about the commemoration.

These aren't used very much on regular mail, but collectors and fans can submit stamped 
envelopes  within 30 days and have the pictorial postmark applied. 

Every Christmas and Valentine's Day post offices with names like Loveland and Holly offer 
pictorials for greeting cards. But there are HUNDREDS of special postmarks offered every week.

Sending away for these cancellations is something of a gamble, though: Sometimes they're 
over- or under-inked, crooked or smeared. And a few times, I've gotten my envelopes back with 

And lately, I've noticed a disturbing trend: More and more, the postmarks DON'T TOUCH THE STAMPS! 
To collectors, that spoils them. After all, that's why they're called cancellations -- they 
cancel the stamps' future use.

The Postal Service makes money on these: It's extra first-class mail, which is profitable. 
Collectors sometimes put extra stamps on their envelopes -- that's even more profit. But after 
a few disappointments, many collectors give up and stop seeking pictorial postmarks.

I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamps collecting, visit 

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