Harry K. Charles has pursued United States postage due stamps with passion and zeal for many decades.
Of particular interest to Charles are the myriad essays (proposed designs), proofs (trial impressions before actual stamp printing) and specimens that form the developmental foundation upon which the issued stamps rest.
His meticulous work has now been brought between the covers of a splendid new book from the Collectors Club of Chicago: Postage Due The United States Postage Due Essays, Proofs And Specimens 1879-1986.
Although relegated to the back of the book in stamp catalogs, postage due stamps have a long, fascinating history.
France issued the first postage due stamps in 1859. A small number of countries followed suit during the next 17 years.
In 1879, the U.S. Post Office Department issued the nation’s first postage due stamps — the Large Numerals (Scott J1-J7). The last U.S. postage due stamps were printed in 1985. Their use ceased in 1986.
Charles begins his magnum opus with a brief review of the development of postage stamps. He also illustrates the five different designs of U.S. postage due stamps.
Chapters 2 through 8 discuss in chronological order the various essays and proofs of the Large Numeral stamps and the subsequent Small Numeral postage dues printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The last three designs are explored in chapter 9. Charles notes that emphasis is placed on the designs introduced in the early 1930s.
Postage due specimens are discussed in chapter 10, and the final chapter is devoted to the essays and proofs of the parcel post postage due stamps.
Readers desiring additional historical background and detail should consult the 18 appendices at the end of the book.
Not many collectors wade into the specialized world of essays and proofs, but Charles has done a favor for both novice and expert alike by making his subject approachable.
Charles uses clear language to guide the reader, and the copious illustrations show off the beauty of the collectible objects to great advantage.
The result is an engaging work that will capture the attention of the seasoned collector and not overwhelm the newcomer.
If you are new to postage due stamps, start with the first chapter, which provides a simplified history of the subject.
To get a handle on the language associated with essays and proofs, peruse appendices C and D. They explain, respectively, what essays and proofs are and the various paper types used to produce them.
With this preparatory reading behind you, the rest of the book will be all that more enjoyable and educational.
Postage Due is available for $65 plus $5 postage to a U.S. address. Checks in U.S. dollars made out to The Collectors Club of Chicago should be mailed to Robert Glass, c/o The Collectors Club of Chicago, Box 3996, Oak Park, IL 60303-3996. Online orders may be placed via the CCC website, www.collectorsclubchicago.org.
October 09, 2015 02:00 PMLinn’s managing editor Charles Snee reported the recovery of a block of three of the 1845 5¢ New York postmaster’s provisional stamp, once part of a block of 10 that was stolen from the Benjamin K. Miller collection in 1977. Read More ›
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 ›
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.