United States Postage Meter Stamp Catalog/GROUP B – Square frank with wavy lines at the sides

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  • This is the first authorized production stamp design used in the US.
  • The Model M meter that produced these stamps was a single denomination machine with a hand-set date inside the town mark. The date can be 2- or 3-line or absent.
  • The Type B1 stamp was approved by the Postmaster General in a letter dated September 1, 1920 and was first used on December 10, 1920 by Pitney Bowes in a promotional mailing. The earliest known use by a company other than Pitney Bowes was many months later on August 5, 1921.
  • The B1 stamp design was short-lived because it too closely resembled unmetered "permit" imprints of the period. The meter stamps have a small vertical meter number with "M." prefix reading up between the town mark and frank. Permit stamps do not have this. The Post Office Department issued a regulation on December 8, 1921 that required the square meter stamp design to be replaced by a more distinctive one. Pitney Bowes came up with an oval frame (see Group C) that was approved for use starting in January 1922. Despite the desires of the POD, conversion of most of the 68 Model M meters to the oval die did not occur until March and April with the latest known use of a Type B1 meter stamp being April 15, 1922. Two examples of B1 meter stamps are known with December 1922 dates, and no doubt they have incorrectly set year dates.
  • Until the mid 1920s postal regulations required meter stamps to be printed in colors corresponding to those of equivalent denominations of adhesive stamps, i.e.:
1¢ green 2¢ red 4¢ brown 5¢ blue (see NOTE) 10¢ yellow
  • Type B1 stamps in non-authorized colors exist but are extremely rare.
NOTE: To comply with Universal Postal Union regulations —5 cents being the basic international postal rate in 1920— red was allowed for the 5¢ stamp instead of blue.

Type BA1 in 2001 edition

B1. Pitney Bowes "Model M" (FV), December 1920.

“U.S.POSTAGE” at top, value in center.
Permit number, with “P” prefix, at bottom of frank.
The meter number, with "M." prefix, is vertical between the town mark and frank.
Meter numbers issued were 1-10, 1001-1070 (less the unissued 3, 1024, 1030, 1031, 1041, 1046, 1058, 1060, 1061, 1063, 1065, and 1065).
Although meters 1011, 1023 and 1059 were issued, examples of them are not known to exist today.
Value: 1¢ green [S]
Value: 2¢ red [S]
Value: 4¢ brown [RR]
Value: 5¢ red [RRR]
Value: 10¢ yellow [RRRR]
a. 2¢ in green (M.1025 / P.15) [RRRR]
b. 2¢ in brown (M.1034 / P.29) [RRRR]
c. 4¢ in red (M.1006 / P.6) [RRRR]

NOTE: Although only 68 meters were placed into use, meter numbers 2 and 1006 were both used with two different permit numbers yielding a total of 70 different meter/permit number combinations.