Who would bother with a wretched and obviously dirty and damaged cover like the one shown here in Figure 1? Well, my friend Stephen Taylor, an American stamp dealer who lives in England, marked it as one I would want because of the letter that goes with it.
The letter, shown reduced in Figure 2, is dated Oct. 13, 1930, and is from postal inspectors in Austin, Texas. It is headed “Taylor, Texas: Theft of four pouches of mail on September 10, 1930.”
Here is the story it tells about the theft:
“The inclosed piece of mail was contained in a pouch of mail stolen from the M.K.T. Ry. station at Taylor, Texas, on the night of Sept. 10, 1930. The greater part of the mail was recovered on Oct. 9, 1930, in a creek bottom. A part of the mail was tampered with, but it is not known whether or not any part of the contents or pieces of mail were stolen. Due to having been subjected to the weather for about a month and having been in a creek bottom, some of the mail has been considerably damaged.”
The letter goes on to explain that the mail was forwarded to the addressee if possible, or returned to the sender if not.
This piece of mail, from the Rotary Club in San Antonio, Texas, probably got to its intended recipient in Topeka, Kan., because the address is clear.
Four pouches of mail is a significant amount of mail; I am left to wonder how many covers from this incident have survived to the present. I would be willing to bet that most were destroyed, but I would be interested to learn if any U.S. Notes reader can report other examples.
If so, please contact me, John Hotchner, Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rocket mail overprint
A clearly unofficial and low-quality “Rocket Flight” overprint on the 2¢ George Washington stamp in Figure 3 (Scott 634) is an album weed in need of an explanation.
It is the sort of thing that A.C. Roessler might have done in this era, but Roessler productions were of generally high quality, and this fails that test.
It might be a one-off, a joke, or it might be something that was prepared for a certain flight and exists in multiple form.
In any case, Linn’s readers are invited to contribute any information or ideas they have about it. If you can help, please contact me at the address provided earlier in the column.
When U.S. special delivery service began in 1885, the mail was delivered by runners, if you believe the illustration on the first special delivery stamp, shown in Figure 4.
Subsequent stamps issued for this service had the delivery messenger on a bicycle on the 1902 stamp, on a motorcycle in 1922, and finally in a truck in 1925.
The stamps for special delivery service issued after these designs did not show a method of delivery.
The first design with the runner is the cartoon caption contest stamp for August.
I would like you to picture yourself as the young man with the track shoes and consider what you might be thinking or feeling about your work; the need to be out in the wind, rain, sleet and snow; the new service being offered; philately; or anything else that crosses your mind.
Two prizes will be given: one each for the best philatelic and nonphilatelic lines.
The important thing is to use your sense of humor, because entries with a humorous twist have the best chance of winning a prize.
Put your entry (or entries) on a postcard if possible, and send it to me, John Hotchner, Cartoon Contest, care of Linn’s Editor, Box 29, Sidney, OH 45365; or e-mail it to email@example.com. Be sure to include your mailing address.
For each winner, the prize will be the book Linn’s Stamp Identifier, published by Linn’s (a retail value of $12.99), or a 13-week subscription to Linn’s (a new subscription or an extension). To be considered for a prize, entries must reach Linn’s no later than Aug. 25.
Why not enter now while you’re thinking about it?
blogIn this column in the Aug. 24 issue of Linn’s, I referred to the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., as a “gift to stamp collectors.” The BNAPS library and the APRL are two of many libraries available to stamp collectors, and some philatelic libraries are available online. Read More ›
blogIt’s often been said that one of the salutary benefits of collecting stamps is the friendships made along one’s philatelic journey. If I were asked to place a value on the bonds thus forged with collectors in locales near and far, I would be rich beyond measure. A few of these hobby friends I have never met in person. Read More ›
blogToday, Nov. 11, 2015, is Veterans Day. Over the years, a number of United States stamps honoring those who have served in our nation’s armed forces have been issued. Read More ›
blogMy previous blog post focused on a mystery: the apparent indentations of paper clips on United States Purple Heart forever stamps that were used to mail payments to the circulation department of my employer, Amos Media in Sidney, Ohio. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses Great Britain’s final stamp issue for 2015, a Star Wars prestige booklet, and reveals what is included in its stamp program for 2016.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses a registered 1967 cover from Qatar that recently sold for almost $1,200 and the latest discovery of an Upright Jenny Invert pane.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman announces that Linn’s has been named official daily publisher of World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and provides an update on the reorganization of the Scott catalogs.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Marty Frankevicz reports on the suspension of Canada Post’s cluster box conversion plan after the election of a new prime minister.
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.