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.
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.
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.
The new United States Holiday Windows forever stamps were issued nationwide October 6 in New York City. The stamps debuted during the American Stamp Dealers Association fall National Postage Stamp Show.
The four stamps were issued in a double-sided pane of 20 (convertible booklet format).
Here are some photos from the event courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service:
Mark Reasoner, President American Stamp Dealers Association.
Joseph Corbertt, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, USPS.
Holiday Windows stamp unveiling. L to R: -Mark Reasoner, President American Stamp Dealers Association. -Joseph Corbertt, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, USPS. -William Low, artist. -David Spaeth, Chief Executive Officer, Spaeth Design. – Mary-Ann Penner, Director Stamp Services, USPS.
Holiday Windows stamp artist William Low.
Holiday Carolers perform in front of the stamp.
Mary-Ann Penner, Director Stamp Services, USPS.
David Spaeth, Chief Executive Officer, Spaeth Design.
You know what month it is, so this is the perfect time to celebrate stamps, our ambassadors of art, culture, and people.
Phil A. Telic, the American Philatelic Society’s wisest and most senior member (APS member No. 1886) offers some great advice to embrace philately.
“No matter what you collect — your hometown’s postal history, holidays on stamps, classic U.S. issues, or freaks and oddities — it’s personal,” Phil A. Telic says. “But that makes it all the more fun and worthwhile to share with others.”
And, there are so many ways and places you can share the hobby during National Stamp Collecting Month, which the U.S. Postal Service first proclaimed in 1981.