Thursday, 23 August 2012

Elvis has left the Post Office...

It's always nice to receive some item through the post that has attracted instructional markings from the postal services during its journey. Today's post included an uprated, but underpaid, inland letter card from India - illustrated below. Being 4,50 rupees short of the correct postage rate it was withdrawn by a postal official who applied a rubber handstamp which denoted the deficiency and required the item to be RETURNED TO SENDER. An additional requirement being that the sender repost it with the additional postage required for the correct rate.
Inland letter card from India with Indira Ghandi imprint

It appears that the instruction was cancelled and the letter card sent on it's way without the required rate of 15 rupees. The "Return to Sender" element of the handstamp had me thinking of immediately of Elvis Presley whose song of the same title was a huge hit in the early 1960's and is probably the most famous of all songs with a postal theme in it's lyrics. Then came the many postally related songs can you think of?  Well...there was the Carpenters with "Please Mr. Postman" (which I think was originally a Beatles song)...and...and. A quick "google" produced little information. Ella Fitzgerald sang "Air Mail Special" and there was an Indy pop band by the name of "The Postal Service" who were active around 2005. So, its over to you for more suggestions!

The Victorians, for whom the postal service became a national obcession, produced lots of postally related songs: "The Postbox Polka"; "The Postman's knock" and "The Royal Mail Galop" appear to have been popular songs and tunes of their time.

"The Postman's Story" (illustrated left) was a ballad that told of drowning on a sea voyage to America and very little to do with the postal service. It tells of an old man awaiting his postman to deliver a letter from his son who was lost at sea. However the use of the postman illustration on the sheet music proved a positive marketing ploy and it appears to have sold well as a result.

Back to the postal markings topic and perhaps the most iconic of markings is the pointing finger used by the US Postal Service of which I have a few examples in my collection and must sort one out to illustrate in a future posting.

Finally, on the subject of postal delivery workers, there is a wonderful award winning short film about an Indian rural delivery postman. If you haven't seen it yet, its a must! The link is here:

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    thank you for posting my inland letter in your wonderful blog. Please tell when you receive on.