By Janet Klug
Those of us who collect what I call "everything that appeals to me" have at least one distinct advantage over specialists. It is pretty easy to find something that qualifies for the collection, and that makes attending a stamp show especially fun. Almost everything in the dealers' stocks has a potential place in the collection.
I acquired the German cover shown in Figure 1 at a recent stamp show. The Art Nouveau design of the March 5, 1920, Mercury machine cancellation appeals to me. Art Nouveau style is instantly recognizable by its fluid, organic lines. It had a relatively short life of about 25 years, from the 1890s to about 1915.
Ironically, by the time this cancellation was used in Leipzig, Germany, Art Nouveau ("new art") was considered old fashioned.
I wondered what the "Leipziger Mustermesse" of the slogan cancellation was.
A search on the Internet brought a quick answer. A mustermesse is a trade fair, and Leipzig has been hosting its fair since 1165. It grew from a simple fair displaying the works of craftsmen to an industrial showcase that attracts business from all over the world.
The fair's logo, a pair of stacked "M"s, have appeared on many postage stamps including the German Democratic Republic 10-pfennig dark blue stamp (Scott 253) from 1955 shown in Figure 2. This stamp shows optical goods: a German-made camera, microscope and lenses. The stacked "M" logo is shown in the lower left corner and also less obviously in the upper right corner on the wall in the background.
Finding this trade fair-related cover made me think of other philatelic material that has been issued over the years to promote trade fairs and world expositions.
My hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, had a series of industrial expositions in the late 19th century. These became more elaborate over time, and many of the city's biggest businesses helped promote the fair by using envelopes with advertising for the expositions printed on the back, such as the one advertising the Cincinnati 11th Industrial Exposition of 1883 shown in Figure 3.
Fairs and expositions have been a popular collecting specialty.
Some collectors concentrate on just one fair, such as the World's Columbian Exposition that took place in Chicago, Ill., in 1893. This world's fair generated a host of collectibles.
One of my favorites is the 1¢ U.S. Grant postal card (Scott UX10) issued by the U.S. Post Office Department in 1891.
The message side of the postal card, shown in Figure 4, offers a view of the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Pavilion.
The design printed on the message side by the American Lithographic Co. makes this a souvenir of the world's fair. The sender of the card wrote of her fair visit, "it is greater and grander than anything I ever dreampt of."
This postal card is not an expensive item. It is postmarked Chicago, Sept. 27, 1893.
The Pan American Exposition took place in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1901 and used machine slogan cancellations well in advance of the fair to publicize it. An illustrated advertising cover from the huge Larkin Soap factory is shown in Figure 5. It bears a Barry machine cancel applied in 1899 that advertises the upcoming fair.
Of course, in addition to machine slogan cancellations, both the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and the 1901 Pan American Exposition had commemorative stamps, cacheted covers and cards, as well as advertising labels without postal validity (known by collectors as cinderellas.)
All of these are worthy collectibles, but U.S. stamps commemorating the early expositions are expensive. It would be nice if everyone could afford the $5 Columbus stamp (Scott 245) from the Columbian Exposition (shown in Figure 6), a $2 Mississippi River Bridge stamp (293) from the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, or one of the inverted center error stamps from the 1901 Pan American Exposition, but most of us can't.
Isn't it nice that there are covers, postmarks and other collectibles for those of us who want to collect postal souvenirs from fairs and expositions?
blogThis month marks my fifth anniversary writing the monthly auction report for Linn’s Stamp News. That’s 60 columns, totaling more than 100,000 words (enough for a decent-sized novel), all about our favorite hobby. Read More ›
blogWhen this cover was listed on eBay in mid-September, it didn't take long for some knowledgeable collectors to recognize this piece of postal history for the gem that it is: an early trans-oceanic survey cover for a Pacific route that included Midway Island, which would become famous as the location of a pivotal 1942 naval battle during World War II. Read More ›
blogIn mid-September I traveled to London, England, to attend Autumn Stampex, one of two British national stamp shows sponsored by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, Great Britain’s national stamp dealers association. The show took place Sept. 16-19 at the Business Design Centre in Islington (central north London), a comfortable and attractive venue for a stamp show. Read More ›
September 28, 2015 03:30 AMAfter the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, postal workers not only saved the mail, they saved the new post office building. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses current events that relate to the stamp hobby, including the relocation of a stamp show in Sweden due to the Syrian refugee crises, and new stamps honoring Pope Francis and the British monarchy.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke talks about a record fifth win for wildlife artist Joseph Hautman in the federal duck stamp art contest, and see the painting that will appear on next year’s federal duck stamp
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz questions Bolivia’s choice for the design of a 2013 stamp honoring the country’s efforts to protect its migrants in foreign lands.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses the discovery of the upright Jenny Invert pane received in an order from Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., and also reports on the Confederate Stamp Alliance.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.