Ceylon's post office beats rush by pre-cancelling inauguration mail
By Karen Schulenburg - Sentinel Staff Writer
CEYLON - The postal service here is trying to beat an Inaugeration Day rush by pre-cancelling designated pieces of mail with the special Inaugeration Day cancellation.
Ceylon Postmaster Ray Halverson received two hand stamps Friday to print the special cancellation and since that time he and his clerk, Mrs. Verdane Erdmann, have been stamping about 1,000 pieces of mail per day with the Inauguration Day stamp.
Machine pre-cancelling is handled at the sectional postal center in Windom, where there is more room to hold pre-cancelled mail. Even if the mail is stamped ahead of time, it won't be sent out until Jan. 20.
The special cancellation reads "Ceylon, Minn., Jan. 20, 1977" and has the words "Inauguration Day" printed between four horizontal bars.
It is a favorite of collectors since the stamp will be available in only three places on Inauguration Day - Ceylon (the birthplace of Vice-President-elect Walter Mondale), Plains, Ga. (home of President-elect Jimmy Carter) and Washington, D.C.
So far there have been about 250,000 requests for the Ceylon Inauguration Day cancellation, according to George Freking, sectional manager at Windom. there will probably be about 300,000 reqests in all, he said, although it's a hard thing to predict.
The largest orders have come from stamp companies, he said. "There are at least four stamp companies that have asked for 25,000 cancellations apiece."
Requests have been received from all 50 states and even as far away as Germany and Norway, said Halverson.
About 200 of the collectors have asked Halverson for his autograph along with the cancellation, although he says he can't understand why.
Halverson has also received a few unusual notes with the requests for cancellations
Somone from Flordia sent him $1 with her request for two Inauguration Day cancellations. She told Halverson that if he didn't get any extra help to handle all of the requests for cancellations, he should use the money for a vaction in Foridia.
Another woman even offered to come from Cols, Ohio to help out and pay her own expenses to get here.
"I just wanted you to know that if you need help, I would be glad to be of free assistance that day," she said, "no strings attached."
But Postmaster Halverson says he isn't too worried about Inauguration Day.
"We feel we'll be able to take care of it," he said, "since we have had permission to pre-cancel."
He is also expecting five or six extra people to help out at the Ceylon Post Office on Inauguration Day.
Rev. Dale Trana with her cancelled letters:
Mrs. Dorothy Petersen with the Mondale Postcards
Julie Nessler and Robin Onken Leaving the Post Office
Ray Halverson and Mose Champine at the Post Office - Ready to Ship
Mrs. Celia Forstrom and Mrs. Arlene Brolsma - Hand Stampers