Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2005 Issue

"M" is for M-Bag (International Shipping)

Mbag

M-bag essential, PS Tag 158


By Renee Magriel Roberts

Probably the least known and most cost-effective international shipping service is the United States Post Office's "M-Bag" service. An "M-Bag" is defined as a "direct sack of printed matter to one addressee". Your packed books, in one or more boxes, are literally enclosed in a special postal mailbag, a tag is affixed to the outside of the bag, and it is delivered to your customer. In addition to books, M-bags can also be used for a variety of printed matter, including newspapers, magazines, journals, books, sheet music, catalogues, directories, commercial advertising, and promotional matter (You cannot enclose handwritten or typed materials.)

Born in the post-World War II era to move huge amounts of books and other materials to Europe, M-bags are now cost-effective vehicles for shipping to countries all over the world. We frequently use M-bag service which costs, for example, $9.90 to the United Kingdom or $11.00 to Hong Kong for up to 11 lbs. There is no minimum weight for M-bags, but for weights up to 4 lbs. regular surface mail, or Global Priority flat-rate envelopes can be more cost-effective, or even faster. Larger quantities up to 64 lbs. are also value-priced.

M-bags can be shipped either via surface mail or via air mail, and must be accompanied with a completed customs form PS 2976 and an M-bag tag, PS Tag 158. The customs slip and the return address/customer address go on the package. The M-bag tag also has a return address/customer address, and on the reverse of the tag the postage is adhered. NB: The postage does NOT go on the package but on the tag.

Weigh your parcel and then round up to the nearest pound to compute postage. For example, if your parcel weighs 11.2 lbs, you will be paying the 12-lb. rate. The total that the M-bag can weigh is 66 lbs. (including the tare weight of the sack), so figure 64 lbs., maximum, for your parcel or group of parcels addressed to the same person, per sack. There are no defined size limits for the size of the box, as long as it fits inside the sack. If you are using an extra-large box, it would be wise to check it out at your local post office first before filling it. We have shipped all the common sizes of post office boxes, including 13"x13"x13" boxes, and they fit fine. The sack is quite large.

It is your responsibility to attach and label everything correctly. The M-bag tag, PS Tag 158, is filled in by the bookseller, but attached to the sack by the post office. If you are sending more than one M-bag at a time, it is critical to make sure that the right tag goes with the right package. Don't hand in the tag loose - lightly tape each tag to the package it belongs to before passing it over. (Just try and get back packages which the post office has sent to the wrong customer in places like China and South Africa.)

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

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