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The Rhode Island Tercentenary Issue
By Thomas E. Greene
October 1996

Part I   Part II   Part III  Part IV  Part V  Part VI  Part VII  Part VIII 

For several years, it has become apparent to me that there are various topics relating to Rhode Island postal history that need clarification. One such topic is the 1936 RI Tercentenary Cover. When I first started collecting these covers, I quickly realized that a definitive book describing all facets of this cover did not exist. Fortunately, we had in our group the patriarch of information for the 1936 cover in the person of Edward Michael Ryan. He knows every variation of any 1936 cover issued and I thank him for sharing the information used in this article.


On April 2, 1936, the Post Office Department issued a printed announcement of the forthcoming issue. It stated that a new stamp would be offered on May 4, 1936 commemorating the 300th anniversary of the founding of Rhode Island.

April 2, 1936 Post Office Announcement

         Postal Seal for package of
              Tercentenary Panes

In anticipation of this momentous issue, a group of Rhode Island collectors and dealers decided to try and get cancels from the 115 RI post offices that existed in 1936. The only official first day cover cancel was the one issued in Providence dated May 4, 1936. All other covers with other town/city cancellations are designated as unofficial. An article in Stamps publication circa 1936 stated that RI had 109 post offices, but when counting all offices including ship, railroad, branches, stations and military post offices, the list grows to 115.

In addition to examples of the 115 RI post offices, there are variations on some of these. The following examples show some of the known variations. The Providence Post Office used four different cancellations. There was a Universal Machine Cancel, two hand cancels - 65 mm for blocks and 22 mm for single stamps and a CDS with a three in it.

Neither Arctic or Phenix issued cancellations. However, there exists covers from each post office canceled West Warwick, but with Arctic and Phenix written on the back. I have not included these post offices in the master list because the hand written name could not be considered a cancellation in the 20th century. Both of these offices were contract stations and did not have canceling devices in 1936.

CONTINUED on Next Page..

Part I   Part II   Part III  Part IV  Part V  Part VI  Part VII  Part VIII 

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