July 6, 2012
The year of 1928 was somewhat lacking in interesting commemorative stamps. Of the six stamps, three were overprinted definitive stamps and one was a small (although not badly designed) Valley Forge commemorative stamp. Oddly, the two stamps that stand out design-wise commemorate a minor event. The International Civil Aeronautics Conference stamp issue of two stamps, a two cent red stamp and a five cent blue stamp, both feature extremely clean designs that feature early aircraft. The two cent stamp features the Wright Brother’s airplane they used for the first powered flight and the five cent stamp shows a 1928 airplane flying over the Washington Monument and the Capital Building.
The conference itself was held on the 25th anniversary of powered flight and took place over a number of days. The visiting dignitaries traveled to a number of important and historic aviation sites including the Army Air Corps laboratories in Ohio, Kitty Hawk in North Carolina and Washington, D.C.
June 24, 2012
Chicago held the Century of Progress Exposition in 1933 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding. To commemorate the occasion, the United States Post Office released two commemorative stamps.
The Chicago Century of Progress: Fort Dearborn stamp was issued on May 25, 1933 to commemorate the exposition of the same name. Two different stamps were issued for this event, the green one cent stamp and the purple three cent stamp. The Exposition was held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Chicago in 1833. Pictured on the one cent green stamp is Fort Dearborn, an early outpost that was used to protect the area’s first settlers. Both these stamps were popular with the stamp buying public and attendees of the Exposition.
An additional souvenir sheet was issued of this stamp (and the purple three cent stamp) consisting of a sheet of 25 stamps. This was during the period that the Post Office began releasing multiple souvenir sheets and other variations such as large imperforate sheets of previously issued stamps as a method to raise funds. Stamp collectors eventually complained about the expense, but this sheet of 25 stamps cost only 25 cents and didn’t have a major impact on most stamp collectors of the time.
the second stamp being the purple three cent Chicago Century of Progress: Federal Building stamp. The exposition highlighted the progress that Chicago and the United States had made in technology and other fields over the preceding 100 years. The design of the stamp features the Federal Building, one of the iconic structures featured at the Exposition.
A souvenir sheet of this stamp was also issued as a sheet of 25 three cent stamps. Although it sold reasonably well, some stamp collectors felt that the Post Office was releasing too many variations of stamps to raise funds. A few years later, the complaints became so common that the Post Office stopped the practice and only released occasional souvenir sheets. Although not a commemorative, a third stamp, a green 50 cent airmail stamp featuring a German Zeppelin was issued with the Federal Building in the background.
February 28, 2011
1925 was a rather sparse year for commemorative stamps. Only five were issued that year, a set of three Lexington-Concord stamps commemorating the early years of the Revolutionary War and a two stamp Norse American set. The Lexington-Concord set was a nice looking set, but nothing special design wise. The second set, although commemorating a somewhat more esoteric event, had very striking designs. Both stamps were printed in both black and colored ink and featured sailing ships, one a 19th century Norwegian sloop (the Restaurationen) and the other a Viking ship.
Unfortunately, these stamps had smaller print runs than many of the other stamps of the period and tend to be a bit more expensive, although not dreadfully so. It looks like a mint two cent red design runs about five dollars and the blue five cent design around fifteen to twenty dollars. Used stamps are cheaper of course, and there are probably significant variations in price due to centering, etc. (the above prices were gathered from a quick scan of eBay!).
February 4, 2011
Here’s a cool stamp from way back in 1939, the New York World’s Fair stamp. The fair was the biggest one ever held with nearly 45 million people attending over two years. It was held during the Art Deco period, and featured a varied assortment of modern structures, consumer appliances and other “futuristic” (for the time) things. New York’s first regular television broadcast was of the World’s Fair opening. The stamp shows two of the famous buildings (in the “modern” Art Deco style of the time), the Trylon and the Perisphere. One reason I like the stamp so much is that it has such a clean and uncluttered design and almost has the feel of both an early 20th century illustration combined with the later pulp science fiction illustrations.