Administered by
Russ Ryle


This is a Stamp Smarter community project. Anyone can view the census however Stamp Smarter membership is required to submit a new item. Please consider joining our community and log in to contribute your registered items to this project.

United States Registered Mail provides the most secure way of sending money and other valuables through the mails. Letters containing valuable enclosures have been mailed since the beginning of the postal service. Forerunners before the establishment of the registered mail system by the U.S.P.O. July 1, are 1855 included in this survey.

Security is provided for registered mail through the maintenance of a documented "chain of custody" for each item as it passes through the postal service. This process has evolved over the years as the technology used in postal handling changed. There are key basic elements that remain the same.
      * A return receipt documents the safe arrival of a registered item at its destination.
      * Postmarks and paperwork document the travels of an item through the postal system.
      * Some level of indemnity against pilfering or loss is provided by the postal service.
This makes for a rich archive of markings and notations on registered items.

The basic data items entered in this survey covers the beginning and end points of a registered item on its journey. Other markings and events noted on an item should be noted in the “comments” field. Please use the most common nomenclature possible to describe significant events noted on an item so similar items can be located via a key word sort.

Comments and suggestions about how to make this project more useful to you and other users always welcome by the administrator. If you note any questions you have about a particular item in the comments field along with your email address I will get back to you by email with an answer.

Contributor's Guide

Any visitor to the Stamp Smarter philatelic web site can request authorization to become a Contributor, and then add new covers to this database. The following guidelines describe some of the conventions which are to be used when adding new records. Following these conventions is essential so that future Views and Users will obtain consistent results when analyzing the data from this DB.

(1) Any item carried as a registered item in the U.S. mail is a candidate for inclusion in this DB. We also welcome USPO penalty mail with contents related to registered mail.

(2) Images of the cover should be scanned at 300 dpi when possible. It is preferred that both the front and back side of the original cover be scanned and added to the DB. Please add both images especialy when postmarks and other items appear on the back side of your item.

(3) The Contributor has the ability to enter all of the data elements associated with each cover. This entry should be as complete as possible.

(4) The Postmark information: City, State, Country, and date elements should always be entered. If one of the date elements is obscured, then that field should be left blank.

(5) Auxiliary markings found on the cover should be added verbatim in the Notes field.

(6) The Notes field is a general field where any descriptive information is added for the benefit of a future viewer. It is generally assumed that cover data entered into the DB is the property of the Contributor. In the event that a cover is not the property of the Contributor, and the cover is taken from a public source like an auction house catalog or website, the Contributor must provide proper credit for the original source of the cover image. For example: [Source: Robert A Siegel Auctions, Sale #1234, Lot 567], or [Source: eBay seller ABCDEFG, Sept 2017]. If there are any questions, please contact the Stamp Smarter Administrator for clarifications.

Database Filed Definitions

Data Field Description Edit Permission
ID Internal system Identifier for each record System
Source Name of DB User who enters a record. System
Cover Front The bitmap (.jpg, .bmp. .gif, .png) image of the front side of the cover. Preferred scan is 300dpi Contributor
CoverFrontThb Autogenerated thumbnail front cover image System
Cover Back The bitmap (.jpg, .bmp. .gif, .png) image of the back or reverse side of the cover. Preferred scan is 300dpi Contributor
CoverBackThb Autogenerated thumbnail back cover image System
PostmarkYear 4 digit number representing the postmark year if known. Has to be between 1700 and 2050 Contributor
PostmarkMonth 2 digit number representing the postmark month if known. Has to be between 1 and 12 Contributor
PostmarkDay 2 digit number representing the postmark day if known. Has to be between 1 and 31 Contributor
PostmarkCity Field for the postmark city name Contributor
PostmarkCounty County or province, if given, especially on early covers Contributor
PostmarkState Field that holds postmark state name Contributor
PostmarkCountry Field that holds postmark country name Contributor
CoverType Field that holds cover type System
Released Field that holds released state of the record (reviewed and/or viewable to public), either 'Yes' or 'No' Admin
Notes List all other auxiliary markings verbatim along with other significant characteristics of this item Contributor
Mailed From P.O. Name of post office of origin in postmark Contributor
MailedFromBranch Branch or Sub Station mailed from (leave blank if n/a) Contributor
Mailed To P.O. Post office of first addressee (list forwarded P.O.s under notes) Contributor
MailedToBranch Branch or Sub Station mailed to (leave blank if n/a)  Contributor
MailedToCounty County or province, if given, especially on early covers  Contributor
MailedToState Two letter state code mailed to  Contributor
MailedToCountry Country item mailed to (default U.S.A.)  Contributor
PostalClass Class of mail being registered  Contributor
PostageCharged Amount of postage paid on this item  Contributor
RegistrationFee Amount of registration fee paid on this item  Contributor
IndemnityAmount Amount of Indemnity purchased for this item  Contributor
RetRecType Return Receipt, Deliver to Addressee Only, etc.  Contributor
RetRecFee Total amount of return receipt fee(s) paid on this item  Contributor

Registered U.S.A. eBook

The Registered U.S.A. free eBook traces changes in registered mail rates, markings, delivery requirements and processing procedures. Registered U.S.A. is the result of an ongoing special study begun in 2001 when the author could not locate any previously written work summarizing the registered mail service over its 126 years of operation by the U.S.P.O. Previous articles and books had covered individual topics or specific time segments of the registry story. Those writings failed to give the reasons behind key changes observed over time in markings found on registered first-class mail. Our quest began in an attempt to answer these questions. Many are answered in Registered U.S.A A few still remain to be resolved.