A Philatelic Introduction to B.A.E. II: Cachet Types


Paul Skowron, ASPP


Upon receiving Little America cancellation requests, workers at the Byrd Expedition offices were instructed to do the following:

  • Record and document all transactions.
  • Place pencil notations in the upper right corner of each envelope indicating the number and/or position block's of stamps to affix. Hence, the term "indicia".
  • Affix the correct postage to each envelope.
  • Place all Little America bound mail in special waterproof mail sacks to await loading into expedition ships.

October 8, 1933 was the cutoff date for First Cancellation mail requests made to Norfolk, VA. Loading of ships necessitated this action. Between October 8 and November 10, 1933, further First Cancellation requests were serviced by Adm. Byrd's staff in Washington, D.C. The "indicia" cover shown above illustrates a marking used by the Byrd personnel. The stamp has been removed to show the pencil mark. However, by holding B.A.E. II covers up to a strong light, these "indicia" are normally visible. The above cover was serviced at Norfolk, VA.





Quite a hubbub was caused when expedition member and Little America Assistant Postmaster Clark mixed up the dates on the first batch of covers! The Post Office Department announced that all covers returned from Little America in the Second Cancellation mail would bear a special cachet.

Shown below are the four varieties of cachets known used. All types can be differentiated by the size and location of the copyright "©" located above the word "EXPEDITION":










It is not known at this time exactly how many CORRECTLY dated JAN 30, 1934 MACHINE CANCELED covers Clark serviced for the first batch to be sent home. It may be that it was decided to not return to collectors correctly canceled covers in the same batch with incorrectly canceled ones. It seems likely that if both types were returned it would have caused a furor among collectors and Adm. Byrd needed their financial support!

Therefore, no covers MACHINE CANCELED with the CORRECT DATE were returned in this first batch of mail. These were to appear the following year with a ". . . delayed . . . " marking rubber stamped on them. Of the various types of B.A.E. II Little America covers, the type shown above is one of the scarcest.



  • 7 wavy line killer bars in cancel. (TYPE I)
  • Cachet maker: HOBBY
  • Delayed marking - TYPE II; 1st "A" between "L" and "T"



  • 7 wavy line killer bars in cancel (TYPE III - most common)
  • delayed marking - Type I; 1st "A" below "T"