Cancels - Pre-cancels, Special cancels, Fancy cancels Pre-cancels
Stamps overprinted with a city and state before being used. These stamps were used by bulk mailers and required a special license from the Post Office. The post office saved time and trouble by eliminating this mail from the normal cancelling process. The mailer benefitted by having a pilfer-proof stamp inventory and by having their mail processed & delivered a little faster. Precancels were overprinted by both the Bureau of Engraving & Printing and private printers. Not just regular stamps were overprinted. You can find pre-cancelled airmails, postage dues, and special deliveries.
To learn more about precancels, visit the Precancel Stamp Society (PSS) ABCs of Precancel Collecting
To use precancels on your private mail, just fill out USPS Form 3615 and file it with your local Post Office. (It's Free)

Special cancels
While thousands of collectors pursue First Day of Issue cancels, there are just as many, if not more, collectors who look for all kinds of "special" cancels.

Here is a standard slogan used since the early 60s. But it seems more forceful when combined with the graphic "Washington at prayer" stamp.

Fancy cancels
Many of the 19th century stamp cancels were produced locally by postmasters before cancels were standardized by the Post Office. These early, local cancelling devices were made from cork or wood with whimsical designs such as stars, flags, bugs, hats, faces, flowers, and many others.
(I will be adding images of fancy cancels at a later date)

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