The NSS Speleo-Philatelic Section
Each summer since the 1991 NSS Convention at Cobleskill, New York, the Speleo-Philatelic Section of the NSS has prepared special NSS Convention envelopes, and worked with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to design 'Convention Station' cancellation designs. Each convention cancellation reflects the unique character of that year's NSS Convention. Included on each cancellation stamp are the words "National Speleological Society Convention Station" and the location of that year's convention with zip code. Also, each cancel contains at least one bat. The convention cachet, located on the left side of the convention envelope, is designed by cavers to reflect a special attribute, historical portrait, or local cave that pertains to that particular convention.
Cancellations are applied only at the USPS facility nearest the convention. Each day of Convention, Monday through Friday, Section representatives visit the post office to have cancellations applied to the special Convention envelopes. Appropriate postage is applied to the envelope, and a cancellation stamper is used with that day's date. Thus, five different cancels are used for each Convention, the difference being the date. The USPS destroys each day's cancellation stamper after it has been used.
Since few envelopes are cancelled on any particular day, each envelope becomes a rare philatelic item. Although special cancels began in 1991, a special cachet was prepared for the Eighth International Congress of Speleology, Bowling Green, Kentucky, in July 1981. ICS envelopes with Bowling Green cancellations are now especially rare.
During convention, the Speleo-Philatelic Section provides stamped convention envelopes to NSS members as supplies last for a small fee. The envelopes are sold at Speleobooks. The Section meets once a year at the convention, and occasionally publishes The Underground Post.
THE 1981 INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS COVER
NSS CONVENTION COVERS
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