The History of the 1936 Rhode
Island Tercentenary Stamp Issue
(Reprinted from a Rhode Island
Philatelic Society News Article)
300th Anniversary of the Settlement of Rhode Island
Issued on May 4, 1936 in Providence, RI - Scott Catalog #777
The Hope post office used a cancellation with two
different sized fours in it.
One is a serifed four ()
and the other is a block four ().
One theory is that maybe the number fell out or broke and the
postmaster inserted the block four. Who knows, it will always be a
mystery. Illustrated below is a Hope cover with a Block 4
An unauthorized ship cancel appears on this Airmail
cover. In 1935, a cover was issued for fund raising purposes to help
repair the USS Constellation. This cover had a three bar U.S. Naval
Training Station cancel dated October 27, 1935. Someone took that
canceling device and changed it to show a May 4 cancel with no year date.
Therefore this cover is not a legitimate Tercentenary cover.
Another bogus cover is one that reads U.S.S. Texas. This
ship was at sea on May 4th and therefore unavailable for first day
cancellation. Other ships were available on May 4th and therefore covers
with those cancels are legitimate. The U.S.S. Semmes was in New London Ct.
and able to cancel that day. The U.S.S. Tillman was in Newport on May
4th. The united Fruit Co. on board the S.S. Tela, a company transport ship
issued a cancel on May 4th. I did not count this cancel as a post office
in the master list at the end of this article.
There were two railroad cancellations on May 4th. They are
the Worcester and Providence RPO and the Providence Transfer Office. Mail
was dropped off at the Providence Transfer Office and canceled by a transfer
clerk. There were three shifts for these clerks with the first starting at
midnight and having a one in the CDS, the second shift from 8AM having a
two in its CDS and the third shift having a three in its CDS.
There were four summer post offices functioning in 1936,
but they didn't open until June 1st. Their May 4th cancels could not occur
until June 1st. Some First Day cover collectors might disagree, but I
have included them in the master list of Tercentenary post offices. These
offices were Coggeshall Rural Station, Misquamicut, Prudence, and Weekapaugh.
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Rhode Island Postal
History Society - Article by Thomas Greene