Centennial Souvenir For 49 Cents

This postal cancellation was designed for the Cape Cod Canal Centennial Celebration.
COURTESY MICHAEL LAKE - This postal cancellation was designed for the Cape Cod Canal Centennial Celebration.

Michael W. Lake believes that he has helped to create one of the best souvenirs a person can have for the Cape Cod Canal Centennial Celebration and it will only cost the price of a first class stamp.

For the last two years, Mr. Lake has been working with the Cape Cod Canal Centennial Committee and the United States Postal Service to create a postmark to commemorate the special centennial event of Cape Cod, Bourne and Maritime history. The postmark will be available in person for one day, Tuesday, July 29, at the Canaliversary Celebration in Buzzards Bay Park and by mail for 30 days following the centennial.

“I have always had an affinity for the canal, and it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. This along with my stamp collecting interest, is what initially planted the seed for this idea,” Mr. Lake said.

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Mr. Lake is a native Cape Codder. His great-uncle was Benjamin Harrison, a photographer known to have taken many historic photos of the canal, including some of the earliest aerial photos. Currently, Mr. Lake works as the director of integrated marketing for college sports at ESPN in New York City and lives with his wife in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Mr. Lake grew up in Bourne and graduated from Bourne High School in 1996. He fell in love with stamp collecting and all things postal when he was in middle school, under the influence of his great-grandfather, the former assistant postmaster in Buzzards Bay from 1947 to 1962, Elton L. Wing. Mr. Wing helped to create a similar postmark to celebrate the Town of Bourne’s 75th Anniversary of Incorporation in 1959.

“This is the third pictorial cancellation that I’ve worked on and designed, the two prior postmarks were both in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of the USS Wasp, an aircraft carrier that my dad served aboard. Those cancellations were back in the early 1990s,” Mr. Lake said.

Mr. Lake put together a formal presentation in the summer of 2012 and pitched the idea for the centennial’s official pictorial postmark to the Cape Cod Canal Centennial Steering Committee. He was granted approval to proceed and managed many different aspects of the process for the next two years.

Multiple designs were vetted and the winning design went first to local postmaster Charles E. Kulik for approval. From there the approved design went to Boston’s district post office for review and approval. Once successful at the district level, the design moved on to Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, DC, for final approval.

“All in all, it’s been an honor to have been a part of this unique, once in a lifetime celebration of the Cape Cod Canal. The US Postal Service, by providing this recognition, through a commemorative postmark that will be applied to mail going all over the country or world, is a testament to the canal’s importance, not just to the region, but to the nation,” Mr. Lake said.

Mr. Lake gave Mr. Kulik his first opportunity to work on a commemorative pictorial postmark.

“The centennial committee did a terrific job with the design,” Mr. Kulik, Buzzard’s Bay postmaster said. “Naturally people like to remember events like this, especially people who are really interested in maritime history keepsakes. Our station will be simple compared to other vendors, but we want to be sure we are there.”

“The US Postal Service has been tremendous partners in helping me to champion this effort on behalf of the Canal Centennial Committee, and we are thrilled that it is finally coming to fruition,” Mr. Lake said.

The pictorial postmark design features a stylized logo of the Cape Cod Canal Centennial activities. The commemorative postmark itself is free, however it can only be placed on postcards or envelopes with unused first class postage at the current rate.

The postal office will have the temporary station set up at the official Cape Cod Canal Centennial celebration on Tuesday, July 29, beginning 1 PM at Buzzards Bay Park by the Railroad Bridge to provide the souvenir postmark in-person.

Attendees may bring postcards or envelopes to the temporary postal station for cancellation. A postal employee will cancel the postage stamps with the commemorative postmark and, if not addressed, hand it back. An addressed postcard or envelope must be mailed and cannot be handed back.

In addition, the temporary station will have limited edition cachet envelopes, including the commemorative postmark, for purchase on-site at the celebration. There are limited quantities and will be available only while supplies last and will cost approximately $5 or less.

For those unable to attend in person, the special centennial cancellation can be obtained by mail order. Customers should affix stamps making up the current first class rate to any envelope or postcard of their choice, address the item to themselves or others, and place them into a larger envelope sending to the address below. Customers can also send stamped envelopes and postcards without addresses for postmark, as long as a larger self-addressed stamped envelope is included for return of the items.

All requests for cancellation should be sent to Centennial Station, ATTN: Postmaster, 220 Main Street, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532-9998.

Requests must be postmarked no later than August 28.

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