Guam Guard Mail Stamps
On April 8, 1930, Guam Guard Mail stamps were introduced for inter-island mail. Issued in small numbers, they were only in use for a year.
Guam became a possession of the United States at the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898. As a result, the United States Post Office Department took over mail delivery to and from the Pacific island.
In 1929, Guam’s newly appointed military governor, Willis W. Bradley Jr., learned that the US Post Office didn’t provide mail service on the island. Mail was brought to the island, but not delivered to home or business addresses. So Bradley created a postal service specifically for intra-island mail. He also ordered his assistant to produce new stamps for local use.
This new mail service, dubbed Guam Guard Mail, began on April 8, 1930. The first two stamps, GM1 and GM2, were overprints of Philippines stamps and were issued on that day. Only 2,000 of the 2¢ (GM1) stamps and 3,000 of the 4¢ (GM2) stamps were produced, and they both sold out on the first day of issue.
The postal service was also tasked with creating new stamps for release that July. The new Guam Guard Mail stamps were produced in sheets of 25 in a labor-intensive, two-step process. The amateur technique required 50 separate impressions for every sheet of 25 stamps – the first for the Seal of Guam and another in a second color ink for the logo and denomination. Those stamps (GM3 and GM4) were issued on July 10 in very limited quantities and also sold out on the first day they were made available.
Because the quantities of these stamps were so low, more Philippines stamps were overprinted – GM5 and GM6 in August 1930 and GM7-11 that December. There were 1,000 GM7 stamps with print errors – 500 stamps misspelled “GRAUD” and 500 misspelled “MIAL.”
The local mail service was discontinued exactly a year after it started, on April 8, 1931. After that, the US Post Office Department handled local mail.
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