I have never much thought about it, but outside of first-day covers, it is unusual to see complete sets of United States stamps on envelopes that have been sent through the mail. Two recently acquired examples are pictured with this column.
The Figure 1 cover, shown both sides, is a registered envelope, apparently double weight, sent Oct. 6, 1936, from San Diego, Calif., to Vienna, Austria, by way of New York, N.Y.
The three different Map of United States and Mail Planes airmail stamps in 10¢, 15¢ and 20¢ denominations (Scott C7-C9) comprise a series issued from Feb. 13, 1926, to Jan. 25, 1927.
The 48¢ in postage on this cover breaks down as 16¢ for twice the 8¢ U.S. surcharged airmail rate (which includes a fee for surface transportation to Europe), 12¢ for airmail in Europe, 15¢ for registration, and 5¢ for the return receipt.
Thanks to Linn’s Modern U.S. Mail columnist Tony Wawrukiewicz for his help with sorting out the rate for this 1936 airmail cover.
The other cover, shown in Figure 2, is much simpler.
It is a domestic 6¢ airmail letter sent Oct. 26, 1940, from Portland, Ore., to Queen City, Mo.
The three stamps on this cover comprise the National Defense set (Scott 899-901) issued Oct. 16, 1940.
Were these two covers sent by stamp collectors? Franked by obliging postal clerks? Planned? Random?
I suppose we will never know, but such covers are interesting and far from routine.
Complete stamp sets on a single cover has never been a popular collecting area. I have not seen covers with this feature advertised as such, and there was no premium noted for it when I purchased the covers shown here.
And yet, there is an element of scarcity, and with it, comes the element of challenge, so I will be watching for additional examples of on-cover complete sets in my philatelic wanderings.
Thanks to all of you who write in with corrections, reports, comments and ideas for items on U.S. philately you’d like to see covered in this space.
A weekly column allows considerable latitude, but I could fill twice the space and still have material left over. In balancing the content to appeal to the widest possible range of readers, I must apologize that I can’t quote all correspondents or cover every issue that comes up. If you write, please include a stamped addressed envelope if you wish a reply.
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Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Marty Frankevicz discusses the controversy in Canada over increasing postage rates, the elimination of home mail delivery and the erecting of cluster boxes.
Watch as Linn’s associate editor Michael Baadke discusses happenings at the recent APS Stampshow from the show floor.
Watch as Linn's/Scott editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the early release of the new U.S. Elvis stamp, the possibility of a Peanuts stamp and Linn's at the upcoming APS Stampshow.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses highlights of Robert A. Siegel Auction Rarities Week sales in late June, and reports that the 49¢ price for a first-class United States stamp will remain in effect until April.
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.