Hoboken Eagle and Wavy Box Cancel
Reported Found in Red Ink AND a New Die!

By Robert J Payne & A J Savkis

[From the Machine Cancel Forum January 2004 Issue #207]

Back in May 1998, the Annual General Meeting of the Machine Cancel Society was held in conjunction with NOJEX, just across from New York City. A show edition of Machine Cancel Forum discussed the International machine marking, featuring an eagle and wavy box, used at Hoboken Port-of-Embarkation under the watchful eye of machine cancel pioneer "Cap" A. C. Townsend. [The NOJEX'98 Special Issue of Machine Cancel Forum is designated Volume # 184 S (May 1998).]

The cancel, up to now, has been reported only in black ink. About a year ago, the American Philatelic Society website had listed the following item: "WWI-YMCA RECEPTION POSTCARD FOR OUR RETURNING TROOPS --W/SOLDIER'S MAIL METER."

[Hoboken Die 2 Cancel]

Figure 1: Hoboken eagle IN RED INK. (Savakis)

The machine marking was not a meter frank, but was a meter in the sense that the International machine that applied this marking did have a counter, or meter, to count imprints.

But what was striking, and at the time overwhelming, was the red ink. A close inspection of the die was not made.

The ink on this discovery copy is a bit heavy. But you can see just from the normal scan that the olive branch held in the eagle's right claw is devoid of ink in the middle of the branch. Fortunately, a second copy in red ink was found and featured in Figure 3A. Bob Payne very closely examined it. There is more than an color difference. The dies are different!

Figures 1 and 3A are in red ink, and are made by a later die, designated DIE 2. You may wish to compare with the common DIE 1 featured in Figure 2A. There are a number of differences in the two dies. Just a few of the major differences are as follows:

Feature Die 1 BLACK INK Die 2 RED INK
Ribbon in eagle's mouth No lines or turns in ribbon Fine lines inside ribbon, and it folds over itself at far left.
Center stem of olive branch in eagle's right claw. Stem goes all the way to the tip of the branch up through center. The stem of the olive branch stops at the first leaf
Leaves of olive branch Each leaf is individual like quills of a porcupine, individually connecting to the center stem. The leaves are only outlined, and lack individuality. The branch looks like a single oak leaf.
Letters E and S of SOLDIERS E has longer center bar S has normal proportions E has very short center bar S appears upside down

So far, DIE 1 is reported only in black ink, and DIE 2 is reported only in red ink.

See More:

Detailed Description of Die 1

Detailed Description of Die 2

More Information the Cancel and Its History

More Links

Main MCS Webpage

Contact information for the Society's President.

Updated March 21, 2020
Original Updated 2004

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