United States Postage Meter Stamp Catalog/GROUP PV – Self-service variable-rate stamp vending machine franks

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GROUP PV – Self-service variable-rate stamp vending machine franks[edit | edit source]

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NOTE: All the stamps listed here are valid only on the date generated. Variable-rate vending-machine stamps with unrestricted validity, i.e. savable for future use, behave more like traditional stamps than meter stamps and thus are not cataloged here. PV stamps with unrestricted validity are cataloged in USA: Variable Denomination Stamps (1989-2015) by Karim Roder (available on Amazon).

  • In the late 1930s the Post Office Department gave Pitney Bowes approval to test and develop coin-operated self-service postage meters for use in public places such as railroad stations, department stores, hotels, and post office lobbies. The company's "Mailomat"© was the only such machine available for nearly forty years. Starting in the late 1960s Pitney Bowes began removing Mailomats due to diminished demand, and by 1970 all but one machine (located in the lobby of Pitney Bowes headquarters in Stamford, CT) had been withdrawn from service.
  • In the early 1970s, perceiving what appeared to be an opportunity, other companies introduced their own versions of self-service public access variable rate stamp vending machines. Virtually all them failed due to the insufficient demand that drove Pitney Bowes out of the market. Most of these experiments lasted only a matter of months or a few years at best. It was not until 2003 when the United States Postal Service approved a machine developed by Wincor Nixdorf and IBM that a successful variable rate stamp vending machine came into use. The Wincor Nixdorf-IBM stamps are not date restricted and so are not cataloged here. (See the Roder catalog for these stamps.)

Sub-group PV-A: Pitney Bowes "Mailomat"[edit | edit source]

  • The term "Mailomat" is copyrighted by Pitney Bowes which produced the machines that generated the stamps listed in this section.
  • The self-standing Mailomats were essentially an enclosed coin-operated postage meter mounted on a U.S. Mail deposit box. Later versions, called "Screenline" Mailomats, were flush mounted on the walls of larger post offices.
  • The customer inserted his envelope or post card into a slot for direct franking. No adhesive tapes were used. A few Mailomat franks are known on tape. These were created by collectors who would affix a blank tape to a cover before franking.
  • Mailomats located in post offices showed "P O" or "POST OFFICE" in the town mark. All others had routine TOWN/STATE town marks.
  • Most Mailomat stamps were printed in red, but a few machines, especially during the Christmas holiday season when the use of red envelopes was common, made temporary use of purple ink.
  • Most early Mailomat meters were upgraded from their first stamp dies to more modern dies. Thus we have the same meter numbers listed with two or more stamp types, i.e meter 51002 is found with both Types PV-A2.2 and PV-A3.2 stamps.
  • The machines were fitted with a variety of postage ranges. With the exception of the very first machine (type PV-A1) the range first used was 1 cent to 23 cents. Later a ½ cent option was added but it was available one as 1½, 11½, 21½, and 31½ cents, i.e. attached to a "1" digit. Beginning in 1959 when the basic post card rate was increased from 1 cent to 2 cents, the value range was changed to 2 cents to 39 cents.
  • The first day of use of a Mailomat is October 14, 1936.

Type VM-A-GA1 in 2001 edition

PV-A1. Pitney Bowes "Mailomat" prototype, October 14, 1936 to October 11, 1937.[S]

This is the first of a series of "Mailomat" designs.
The term was copyrighted by Pitney Bowes to represent their coin-operated vending machines.
This first design is a small rectangle with simulated perforation frame surrounding a circular town mark at left and vertical value box at right.
One machine only: P. B. METER 100 STAMFORD / CONN.
V/F: 00 (range: 01 to 18)

Type VM-A-GB1 in 2001 edition

PV-A2.1. Pitney Bowes "Mailomat" prototype (MV), 20 December 1937 to 25 August 1938. [R]

Frank is wider than Type PV-A1 with spread-winged eagle facing right between the town mark and the value box.
"U.S. POSTAGE" in scroll above the eagle, "PAID" in scroll above the value box.
One machine only: P.B. METER 101 STAMFORD / CONN.
V/F: . 00 (range: .01 to .23)

Type VM-A-GB2 in 2001 edition

PV-A2.2. Pitney Bowes "Mailomat" prototype (MV), April 1939.

Similar to Type PV-A2 but the eagle is facing left.
Three stars are above the eagle, and "U.S. POSTAGE" is curved at the top of the value box.
Meter number with "P.B. METER" prefix below the eagle.
Two machines only, one used in two locations:
A. P.B. METER 101 STAMFORD / CONN. In use six days, March 31 to April 5, 1939 at the Stamford Connecticut post office. [RRR]
B. P.B. METER 51001 NEW YORK / N.Y. Used at the New York General Post Office starting May 17, 1939. [R]
V/F: . 00 (range: .01 to .23)
a. As B, with "P" and "O" at sides of TM (identifies a machine located in a post office lobby) (first day of use probably June 20, 1939) [R]


  • Meter 101 is known with town mark "NEW YORK / N.Y.". The stamps are proofs generated in a demonstration of the Mailomat in New York in January 1939. They are not known used on actual mail. [RRRR]
  • Meter 51001 was demonstrated National Convention of Postmasters in Washington D.C., October 10-12, 1939. Many of them are dated October 9 before the show opened. These were used for demonstration purposes only and are not known used on actual mail. Thus it is considered a proof.    [RRR]   (See Type PV-A2.3A. This meter was also demonstrated at the Postmasters convention but it was used on actual mail.)

Type VM-A-GB3 in 2001 edition

PV-A2.3. Pitney Bowes "Mailomat" prototype (MV), April 1939.

The stamp is identical to Type GB2.1 except for the meter number.
Similar to Type PV-A2 but the eagle is larger and has no stars above its head.
"US POSTAGE" appears in a ribbon above the value figures.
The meter number, with "P.B. METER" prefix, is in a sausage shaped panel below the eagle.
Value figures are of variable thickness with serifs.
One machine used in two locations:
A. P.B. METER 51002 WASHINGTON / D.C. Used October 9-12, 1939 at the National Association of Postmasters Convention. [RRR]
B. P.B. METER 51002 NEW YORK / N.Y. Moved to Macy's Department Store. In use from December 6, 1939 to December 16, 1940 [R]
V/F: . 00 : (range: .01 to .23)

Type VM-A-GB4 in 2001 edition

PV-A2.4. Pitney Bowes "Mailomat" (MV), November 28, 1939.

This stamp was produced by the first production model Mailomat.
It is identical to Type GB2.2 except for the meter number and is nearly identical to Type PV-A2.3 but has sanserif value figures with lines of equal thickness.
Meter numbers: 51003 through 51029 (not all numbers used). The first meter of this type, 51003, was, as was Type PV-A2.3B, installed in Macy's Department Store in New York City.
V/F: . 00 : (range: .00 to .23)
a. With "P" and "O" at the sides of the town mark (indicating the machine was located in a post office lobby)
b. With inverted slogan at left: 51006 [RRRR]

Type VM-A-IA3 in 2001 edition

PV-A3.1. Pitney Bowes "Mailomat" (MV), May 3, 1940.

The stamp is identical to Type IA3 except for the meter number.
Meter numbers 51002 through 51043 (not all numbers used)
Meter 51004 (shown) was used briefly May 3-6, 1940 for the Postage Stamp Centenary celebration. Excepting this use the stamp was first placed into service in 1942.
V/F: . 00 : (range: .00 to .39)

a. With "P" and "O" at the sides of the town mark
b. With "POST OFFICE" at bottom of the town mark: (51034, 51038) [R]
c. Printed in purple rather than red (usually done at the end of the year when holiday card were often mailed in red envelopes)

Type VM-A-IA4 in 2001 edition

PV-A3.2. Pitney Bowes "Mailomat" (MV), April 1939.

The stamp is identical to Type IA4.1 except for the meter number.
Meter numbers 51044 through 51171 (not all numbers used)
V/F: 00 : (range: .01 to .39)
a. With "P" and "O" at the sides of the town mark
b. With "POST OFFICE" at bottom of the town mark: (51052, 51094) [R]


  • Meter 51146 (shown) was the last Mailomat remaining in use. All others had been withdrawn from service by the mid 1970s. The machine was located in an area of Pitney Bowes accessible by employees, the lobby of the Personnel Office in Stamford, and remained in use until at least 1983.
  • Variety a was generated by both self-standing Mailomat kiosks and "Screenline" Mailomats. The Screenline machines were flush mounted on the walls of several larger post offices. The earliest use of a Screenline meter was probably in 1954. One cover is known from that year. Screenline and kiosk stamps look alike and cannot be distinguished from each other unless an appropriate notation was made on the cover by the mailer. The lowest meter number identified as a Screenline is 51083. Some numbers originally assigned to stand-alone Mailomats were transferred to Screenline machines.

Type VM-A-IB1 in 2001 edition

PV-A4. Pitney Bowes "Mailomat" (LV-13), 7 October 1942. [S-R]

Small design similar to sub-group IB.
No outer frame. "U.S. POSTAGE" across entire top of stamp.
Large eagle in center facing right with head above narrow value box.
One machine only: P.B. METER 52000 STAMFORD / CONN.
V/F: .00 (range: .01 to .12)

Sub-group PV-B: National Cash Register "Austin" Self-Service Meter[edit | edit source]

  • In 1971 a coin-operated self-service "parcel post" machine was installed in the lobby of the main post office in Austin Texas. Unlike the Mailomat the NCR machine provided a weight scale and issued adhesive stamps.
  • The "Austin" machine was installed on March 5, 1971 and remained in use for 259 days, til November 17, 1971. Little is known about the machine or the trial today.

Type VM-B-EE8 in 2001 edition

PV-B1. National Cash Register "SELF-SERVICE METER" [RRR as loose tape, RRRR on cover]

Similar to Type EE1.4 but without "Z.Wt." at left.
Inscribed "NCR Meter 0001" over "SELF-SERVICE METER".
Only two covers are known franked by this stamp, one large non-philatelic cover plus a collector mailed cover with stamp not tied by postmark.
V/F: -0.00

Sub-group PV-C: Design & Development "Parcel Post Mailing Facility"[edit | edit source]

  • Design & Development, Inc. was a subsidiary of the Booz, Allan, Hamilton Corporation. It designed and built one self-service variable rate stamp vending machine that was trialed at the main post office in Jacksonville Florida starting on May 14, 1973. The machine included a balance for weighing letters and packages and could handle both first and fourth class (parcel post) mail plus assorted services such as special delivery.
  • Due to frequent mechanical breakdown the machine was removed from service after 37 days of service, on June 20th 1973.

Type VMX-A1 in 2001 edition

PV-C1. Design & Development, Inc. "Parcel Post Mailing Facility" (MV), used for 37 days from 14 May to 20 June 1973. [RRR]

Frameless design printed through a ribbon onto large, 72 mm wide labels.
A column of small stars bisects the stamp vertically.
Left of the stars are "US POSTAGE" / "POSTAGE" / mail class and services / year and month / "JACKSONVILLE, FL" / and USPS eagle logo.
Right of the stars are the total postage amount / postage values per service / time of day / meter number "0000 01" / and transaction number at bottom.
The stamp is printed through a purple ribbon onto pink paper with a canary yellow carbonless backing sheet used as a receipt. Miscuts were common.
V/F: $00 .00


  • The stamp impressions normally are indistinct and tend to fade. Shown at top is a fairly good example in natural color and at right a black and white image with the image enhanced. Also shown is a stamp faded nearly to extinction but with a special postmark that was used to stamp mail franked by the machine.
  • Most examples known are philatelic without the special postmark. Covers with the postmark are extremely rare. [RRRR]

Sub-group PV-D: Pi Electronics "Zipster Plus"[edit | edit source]

  • Pi Electronics of Houston Texas developed a self-service mailing center to provide about every postal service conceivable without actually having to enter a post office. Their aim was to assist mailers who needed services when post offices were closed. The machines were placed in convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and Star Mart. They could process both letters and parcels, and they offered Express Mail, Certified Mail, and international airmail in addition to regular first class mail.
  • The system utilized a Hasler postage meter that produced stamps on self-adhesive tape. "Zipster" stamps are identical to other Hasler stamps (Type LB1.1A in this catalog) and can be identified only by the meter number. See the list below.
  • The slogan "This Item Sent By: ZIPSTER..." was used by Pi Electroncis in demonstrations but it is not known if the slogan was also used on publically vended stamps.
  • Earliest known use is 1 April 1992. The Zipster Plus system was in operation only a few months before being discontinued due to lack of use.

Type VM-A-C-LB1 in 2001 edition

PV-D1. Pi Electronics "Zipster Plus" (Hasler) (1 April 1992).

The stamp is identical to Type LB1.1A but with the town and meter number combinations listed below.
Thirty-four and possibly other unidentified Hasler meters were used in kiosks fielded in five cities across the United States.
It is possible the same meter was used in more than one kiosk and that one kiosk may have been fitted with different meters at different times.
TM: large single circle
V/F: 00.00

Meter numbers and locations:

Meter numbers Town mark rarity
425658, 425661, 425676 AUSTIN / TX RRR
423440, 425656, 425663, 425671, 425696, 427559, 427568, 427583, 427585 SAN ANTONIO / TX RR
409725, 423440, 425674, 425679, 425680, 425681, 427584, 430337, 430346, 430376, 463752, 465786, 465794 HOUSTON / TX RR
427561, 427567, 427569, 427575, 427581 DENVER / CO RRRR
423415, 427558, 427579, 427582 INDIANAPOLIS / IN RRRR


  • Kiosks in Indianapolis were in use only a few weeks before being removed. Machines in Denver and San Antonio lasted only a little longer. The removed systems may have been redeployed to other locations.
  • A Specimen meter similar to Type LA1 was used for demonstration purposes. It had an all zero meter number.
  • The kiosks offered a self-adhesive promotional label (shown at right) that users could apply to their mail.

Sub-group PV-E: ASM Services "Automated Shipping Machine"[edit | edit source]

  • In a test similar to that of the "Zipster Plus" (PV-D) ASM Services, Inc. of Florida deployed a small but undetermined number of public access meter-franking self-service kiosks in Winn-Dixie Supermarkets in and around Tampa Florida in 1992. As with the Zipsters the ASM system contained a standard Hasler postage meter. Services available in the ASM kiosk were express mail, priority mail, and parcel post only. Remarkably no provision was made for regular first class mail.
  • As with the Zipster the ASM stamps are identical to normal Hasler stamps and can be identified only by the meter number. Not all the numbers have been identified.
  • First seen in 1992.

Type VM-D-LB1 in 2001 edition

PV-E1. ASM Services, Inc. "Automated Shipping Machine" (Hasler).

The stamp is identical to Type LB1.1A but with the town and meter number combinations listed below.
Doucumented are seven Hasler meters were used in kiosks located in Tampa and Temple Terrace Florida. Others may have been used.
TM: large single circle
V/F: 00.00

Known meter numbers and locations:

Meter numbers Town mark rarity
430288, 430318, 430320, 430325, 430327, 430458 TAMPA / FL RRR

Sub-group PV-F: Pitney Bowes "National Postal Museum"[edit | edit source]

  • When the National Postal Museum of the Smithsonian Institution opened in Washington DC on July 28, 1993 two self-service coin-operated meter stamp vending machines were available for franking souvenir post cards. The only postage options available were the three (later four) post card rates for domestic, Canada/Mexico (later Canada and Mexico when the rates diverged), and rest-of-world destinations. These postage values were changed as the postal rates were updated in succeeding years.
  • The machines contained standard Pitney Bowes model A900 (Type IG1, later Type IG2) postage meters. The stamps can be identified by the meter number and also by the unique slogan that always printed with the stamps. The meters were swapped out over the years so we have several meter numbers although only two kiosks.
  • The two machines each printed a different slogan, originally one showing the Museum building and the other picturing the post office mascot dog, "Olney". A third slogan commemorating the 15th anniversary of the National Postal Museum was introduced later.

Type VM-E-IG1 in 2001 edition

PV-F1. Pitney Bowes "National Postal Museum" kiosk, July 28, 1993.

Stamp as Type IG1, used in two meter stamp vending machines located in the National Postal Museum.
Known meter numbers: 8068644, 8083391, 8083664, 8083937
Original value set: 0 .19 / 0 .30 / 0 .40

Unlisted in 2001 edition

PV-F2. Pitney Bowes "National Postal Museum" kiosk.

This is a successor to the original meter stamp design used in the National Postal Museum kiosks.
Very similar to Type PV-F1 but the stamp is as Type IG2.
The stamp is slightly wider than PV-F1 and has two wing feathers instead of three above the town mark at left.
Known meter numbers: 8392417, 8422053
Value figures: 0 .00

Sub-group PV-G: Hasler "Postcard Express"[edit | edit source]

  • One kiosk was located in the Minnesota Tourism display in the Mall of America in Bloomington Minnesota. Customers could buy a post card, type in the address and a message which the machine would print on a large label applied to the post card and then print the postage from a standard Hasler meter inside the machine.
  • The system was in use for a few months only in 1999.

Type VM-F-LB1 in 2001 edition

PV-G1. Hasler "Postcard Express". [RRRR]

Stamp as Type LB1.1C.
One meter only: H474216 MINNEAPOLIS / MN
V/F: 00.00