Today, October 10, is Columbus Day, once regaled as the opening of the Western hemisphere to the Old World and now the focal point among historians to reflect and interpret the archaic practices of territorial expansion of that time. Political and social views notwithstanding, Columbus certainly has a place in the world of stamp collecting.
When the 400th anniversaries of Christopher Columbus’ voyages were observed starting in 1892, there were celebrations noting the Italian-born explorer’s excursions to the Americas. Of particular note was the World’s Columbian Exposition, essentially a world’s fair, in Chicago. That’s when the United States Post Office Department issued its first-ever commemoratives, a handsome engraved set of 16, including several unprecedented high-denomination stamps. The stamps are called “Columbians” among collectors.
Chile issued dozens of stamps depicting Christopher Columbus, beginning with its first stamps of 1853 into the early 20th century. Here’s a sample of a few of the designs from 1901 to 1909 (Scott 56, 71, and 74).
Puerto Rico’s one-and-only commemorative stamp noted Christopher Columbus’ arrival at that island. The stamp (Scott 133) was sold and used only on November 19, 1893.
U.S. stamps depicting Columbus’ voyages were issued in connection with the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The 16-stamp set (Scott 230-245), cherished by many collectors, includes high denominations of $1, $2, $3, $4, and $5.
Italy, like the United States and Spain, marked the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyages with a set of souvenir sheets in 1992 (Scott 1887).
A Columbus commemorative cover meant to raise awareness of the affect of the explorer’s voyages on the original inhabitants of the Americas was postmarked on Columbus Day, 1992. The cover was created by the Syracuse (N.Y.) Peace Council.
A cover with a first-day cancel of a 1992 Columbus commemorative from Christiansted, Virgin Islands, along with an add-on of a second 1992 Columbus stamp postmarked at a stamp show.
Continue reading “Columbus Sighted on Stamps from Near and Far”