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Perfect matches

Offices celebrate when dates, ZIP Codes align

Man stamps envelope while customer watches
Middleburg, VA, Postmaster Kenneth Quinn, right, applies a special postmark to customer Stephen Plescow’s mail during a recent “date meets ZIP” event.

Post Offices across the nation are holding “date meets ZIP” events, commemorating rare occasions when the calendar aligns with a local ZIP Code.

The Buford, GA, Post Office marked its special day March 5 — when the date matched local ZIP Code 30518 — by offering a special postmark that featured an illustration of Buford’s historic downtown.

The event drew postal aficionados, local history buffs and other enthusiasts. “They recognized this is not common,” Postmaster Jan Coleman said.

In Middleburg, VA — which serves ZIP Code 20118— Postmaster Kenneth Quinn held a Feb. 1 event that brought together loyal customers, local business people and reporters.

“Even our mayor stopped by and had her picture taken in front of our special postmark,” he said.

The date-meets-ZIP phenomenon occurs in different places each year. Some Post Offices don’t experience it, while others don’t make a fuss about it.

This year, the phenomenon began New Year’s Day in New York City (ZIP Code 10118) and Springfield, MA (01118), and will sweep westward before circling back east, ending Dec. 9 in Cadyville, NY (12918).

In Cerro Gordo, IL, Postmaster Peggy Thompson and her employees are gearing up for a big event June 18, when the calendar will match ZIP Code 61818.

Thompson plans to offer a special postmark, but she’s also looking forward to showcasing the new Illinois Statehood stamp, which commemorates the state’s bicentennial.

“[The stamp] has the year 1818 on it, matching the last four numbers of our ZIP Code,” Thompson said.

Post Offices that want to offer special cancellations must follow the guidelines and procedures for pictorial postmarks in Handbook PO-230.

Some offices get to have more than one date-meets-ZIP event. In Buford, Coleman and her employees also serve ZIP Code 30519.

“We’ll have a jump start on next year,” she said.

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