TAGS Naval Ship Covers

To a stamp collector, or philatelist, a naval cover is not a sailor's white hat but an envelope or postcard that has been mailed from a naval vessel as evidenced by postal markings or shipboard cancellations. Sometimes a cachet, an imprinted image or rubber stamped design is added to create an interesting postal souvenir.

Some cachets were designed for a specific ship while others were generic (perhaps for a holiday or commemorating a historic event) and used aboard many different naval vessels.

Here are some naval ship covers mailed from Bowditch, Dutton, Michelson and H. H. Hess. These illustrate the ships' movements among operating areas and ports in both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


USNS Bowditch (T-AGS-21)

Bowditch Cover with
Search For Scorpion Cachet July 10, 1968

Bowditch Cover Postmarked
March 21, 1969

Bowditch Cover Signed by Ship's Master
Postmarked August 23, 19?? Aboard
Sub Tender USS Simon Lake (AS-33)

Bowditch Cover with Air Force APO 09159
Europe Cancel April 10, 1970

Bowditch Cover with Welcome to Norfolk
Cachet Postmarked June 15, 1981

Bowditch Cover Postmarked
March 15, 1982

Bowditch Cover with NAVOCEANO
Anniversary Cachet
May 8, 1982

Bowditch Cover FPO New York
May 16, 1985


USNS Dutton (T-AGS-22)

Dutton Cover with Navy Department
Cachet February 24, 197(?)

Dutton Cover Postmarked
March 28, 1973

Dutton Cover Postmarked
January 31, 1974

Dutton Cover Postmarked
July 3, 1974

Postal Card with Dutton Cancel
October 2, 1975

Dutton Cover Postmarked
April 14, 1976

Dutton Cover with Cachet
Postmarked December 2, 1976

Dutton Cover Postmarked
December 15, 1976

Dutton Cover with Seatlle Seafair
Cachet Postmarked August 4, 1978

National Marine Fisheries R/V Oregon
Cover Postmarked Aboard Dutton
August 4, 1978

Dutton Cover Postmarked July 1, 1980

Postal Card with Dutton Postmark
July 1, 1980

Dutton Cover with Oakland Postmark
May 8, 1981

Dutton Cover August 6, 1981

Dutton Cover with Cachet Postmarked
November 1, 1981

Postal Card with Dutton Cachet
Postmarked December 1, 1981

Dutton Cover with Printed Cachet
November 13, 1982

Dutton Photo Cover February 16, 1983

Dutton Cover with Cachet
Postmarked June 15, 1987

Dutton Cover Signed by Ship's Master
with Embossed Seal December 21, 1988


USNS Michelson (T-AGS-23)

The two examples of Michelson covers with the purple anchor cachet were postmarked in June 1971 at a US Navy Support Activity (Supply Center) at Mechanicsbug, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, zip code 17055. Thus, they are not really ship cancellations as Michelson was in the Pacific at the time. More of these appear frequently for sale on Ebay.

Michelson Cover with Anchor Cachet 1971

Another Michelson Cover with Cachet
Postmarked June 1971

Michelson Official Mail to NAVOCEANO
December 21, 1972


USNS H. H. Hess (T-AGS-38)

H. H. Hess Cover with Embossed
Hess Seal November 1, 1979

H. H. Hess Cover with Hess Cachet
Postmarked in Honolulu June 26, 1980

H. H. Hess Cover with NAVOCEANO
Anniversary Cachet
Postmarked May 9, 1981

H. H. Hess Postal Card Postmarked in
Panama on December 3, 1981

H. H. Hess Cover with Cachet
Postmarked in Oakland April 1982

H. H. Hess Cover with Cachet
Postmarked at Baltimore June 14, 1985

H. H. Hess Cover with Cachet Postmarked
at Pearl City, Hawaii
December 7, 1986


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