The therapeutic effects of stamp collecting are many. Among them is a favorite of mine: looking through boxes of inexpensive covers at stamp shows, in search of that proverbial gem that escaped the eyes of those who searched before you.
Pictured in Figure 1 is a marvelous first-day cover that Barbara Montgomery of New York plucked from the massive stock of cover dealer Alan Tohn at a show in the mid-1990s.
Tohn is a fixture at many stamp shows across the United States. He operates his business under the moniker Coverman.
Montgomery gravitated toward the cover for two reasons.
“I found it attractive both for the calligraphy and the fact it is addressed to [Linn’s founder] George Linn,” she said.
A single 1932 2¢ Winter Olympics stamp (Scott 716) paid the postage from the first-day city, Lake Placid, N.Y. (site of the third Winter Olympics), to Linn at 18 E. Chestnut St. in Columbus, Ohio, the address of his printing and publishing firm in 1932.
Figure 2 pictures the back of the cover. A red and blue label showing a trio of silhouetted runners is affixed over the envelope flap, which is tucked inside the envelope.
“Olympic Games Los Angeles, Calif., 1932” appears in two lines beneath the runners.
A purple handstamp near the bottom reveals the likely initial owner: one Elmer C. Carvey of Pasadena, Calif. (1888-1971), who served at the time as a clerk for the U.S. Post Office Department.
Montgomery acquired the cover from Tohn because she was making handpainted FDCs at the time.
“Although I had collected stamps since childhood, I had just begun making and painting first-day covers,” she said.
“I was looking for covers without cachets. [Alan Tohn] had only a very few. He invited me to visit him at his home in Oceanside, N.Y., where he had more inventory, particularly what I was looking for, [FDCs] without cachets.
“I came home with a few hundred covers after my visit, most of them priced at 25¢.”
Montgomery vividly recalled how impressed she was with the Linn address rendered in “such beautiful calligraphy.”
And how did Linn’s learn of Montgomery’s George Linn FDC?
In early January, Montgomery sent in her ballot for Linn’s 2013 U.S. Stamp Popularity Poll.
Enclosed with the ballot was a color photocopy of the front of the cover. Beneath the illustration, she wrote, “I found this gem in a dealer’s box.”
Intrigued, I wrote to her, asking for more information. She replied two weeks later, and the story you just read is the result of that communication.
I thank her for sharing her cover with Linn’s readers.
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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.