Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Enfield Perfins

Perfins were perforations that were made in postage stamps. In the late 19th and early 20th century, postal stamps became widely available. The cost of postage was much more significant than today, in relative terms. Postage stamps were valuable and were redeemable for cash at the post office, so some people used them as currency to pay small bills. This entailed the risk of stamps being stolen. To prevent theft companies and individuals would perforate the stamps with their initials. The perforated stamps could not be cashed in the post office. And even if stolen to be used for postage, the owner of the stamp could be identified, which implied risk to the thief. The Enfield Cycle Company had its own perfins, and according to an article in the Perfin society website they were as shown in the figure.

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