New Book by APS: Cataloging U.S. Commemorative Stamps: 1950

Cataloging U.S. Commemorative Stamps: 1950, by Charles Posner
Cataloging U.S. Commemorative Stamps: 1950, by Charles Posner.
Cataloging U.S. Commemorative Stamps: 1950, by Charles Posner.

The United States stamps of 1950 never looked so fabulous! More than 65 years after they debuted, that year’s commemorative stamps are back in the philatelic spotlight thanks to a new book published by the American Philatelic Society.

Cataloging U.S. Commemorative Stamps: 1950, by Charles Posner tells the stories of these 11 stamps from concept to finished product.

The stamps presented are American Bankers Association, Samuel Gompers, National Capitol Sesquicentennial (four stamps), Railroad Engineers of America, Centenary of Kansas City, Boy Scouts of America, Indiana Territory Sesquicentennial, and California Statehood Sesquicentennial.

The 103-page, hardbound book examines in retrospective detail the history of these stamps, from their origins to their designs and printings to the oft-elaborate first-day ceremonies, which sometimes include parades, pageants, and plenty of pomp. You’ll read about the politics, controversies, and tugs-of-war involving concepts, stamp designs, and first-day sites all which finally led to the public’s use of the stamps.

The book reprints articles by Posner previously published in The American Philatelist or online via the APS website. Of the 11 stamps reviewed, however, only two appeared in the print version of the monthly journal, so this is likely to be a lot of new material for some readers.

The book includes an introduction from the author, in which he explains the series and an overview of the decade and its philately in the United States. Posner then takes a look at each stamp, listed by Scott number, through sections: The Making of the Stamp, The Design the Subject, and First-Day Ceremony, and Technical Details.

Visually, the stamps are presented with images of interesting photographs, research materials, photoessays, die proofs, first-day-ceremony programs, covers, and, of course, the final stamps themselves. Aside from the visuals presented in the original articles, the book is augmented with additional content, including images courtesy of the Library of Congress and National Postal Museum.

Particularly impressive are images of certified plate proofs (four panes of 50 stamps each) and gutter block close-ups for each commemorative.

This is the first in a planned series of similar yearbooks that will republish Posner’s march through the years as he reviews the U.S. commemoratives through the 1950s and beyond.

The book is sold through the APS specialty store and costs $24.99, $19.99 for APS members, with an additional $4 for shipping.

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