U.S. Perfin Covers

These pages are devoted to the exposition and documentation of United States perfin covers. Used mainly from 1908 until the 1950's, perfins were commonly used in an attempt to discourage theft of stamps by company employees. Perfins originated in England where, unlike the U.S., one could take unused postage back to the post office and redeem it for cash. In 1868, when they were first allowed use on postage, a penny stamp was a fairly significant amount to a company junior clerk making perhaps 5 - 10 pence per week. A stamp with a perfin in it could not be redeemed. The use of perfins at least moderated theft from the company because, at least in theory, the post office would not accept perfin mail from anyone but the firm that had ownership. But, of course, there were always ways around the system and letters did get sent. At minimum, it prevented an employee from reselling discounted postage. The wide spread use of postage meters beginning in the 1940's and permit indicia virtually ended the practice of using perfins.

It is our intent to display the company patterns by PATTERN NUMBER, following the letter & number system of the book entitled Catalog of United States Perfins, a publication of the Perfins Club. The illustrations, like the one on this page, depict an entire cover (at 300 d.p.i.) and its franking together with an inset of a selected stamp shown at a resolution of 600 d.p.i. for a good depiction of the pattern. To view the image in full resolution, download the image by right-clicking on the image.

Some of these covers, plus many others, are for sale. To get a price list of available covers, email the Perfin Club's Cover Sales Director, Robert Littrell. Arrangements can be made to email you the scans of covers you may be interested in buying.

Perfin Cover

Perfin Cover
Perfin Cover stamp    stamp
Cummins Company

After perforation of stamps became permissible, the B.F. Cummins Company produced many of the perforating machines used by the companies as seen in these pages.

RETURN to the Perfins Club page.