US Stamps

By Henry Gitner

Buy Vintage Circus Posters pane

May 29, 2014 07:00 AM

  • The United States Vintage Circus Posters pane of 16 stamps issued May 5 features eye-catching, colorful and attractive designs that might be used to entice new collectors into the hobby.

  • The 1922 Paraguayan Parliament Building error stamps with inverted centers is a good buy. A normal example of Scott 243 is shown.

United States— The text on the back of the Vintage Circus Posters pane of 16 issued May 5 reads in part, “These eye-popping early 20th-century posters showcased majestic elephants, fierce tigers, and colorful clowns, alongside acts such as acrobatic gymnasts, graceful wire dancers, and daring stuntmen.”

All I can add to that is, “Yowsah!”

These are the most stunningly colorful and attractive stamps that the U.S. Postal Service has issued in a long time. These stamps are guaranteed to take collectors of a certain age back to their youth, when the annual visit of the traveling circus was one of the high points of a child’s year.

Although you only need a half-pane of eight to have one of each of the stamps, I think that from both an aesthetic and practical point of view, collectors of mint U.S. stamps will want to save the pane of 16 intact. The Postal Service is also selling press sheets, both with and without die cuts; they created 2,500 of each. I strongly recommend buying at least the press sheet without die cuts, if not both.

Buy these stamps for your collection, use them on your mail, and buy a pane for friends and family members that you think might become interested in stamp collecting. If they have a pulse, these stamps should stir it.

A Linn’s editor did not find this week’s recommended stamps on

Tip of the week

Paraguay— In the May 19 Stamp Market Tips column, I tipped the Paraguayan 1932 4-peso Graf Zeppelin airmail stamp imperforate pair (Scott C74a) as an affordable error variety.

There are additional Paraguayan error varieties, some of them fairly spectacular, that are within the range of most collectors.

On Feb. 8, 1922, Paraguay issued a two-stamp set depicting that country’s Parliament building (Scott 243-244). The center design of the building is black. The frame of the 50-centavo stamp is red, while the frame of the 1-peso stamp is blue.

Both stamps exist as imperforate pairs (Scott 243a-244a) and with inverted centers (243b-244b).

The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 values the 50c inverted center variety at just $20 in both unused hinged and used condition.

The 1p inverted center error stamp is valued at just $25 in both unused hinged and used condition. I think they are an excellent buy at the Scott catalog value.

Here is your chance to own a set of genuine inverted center error stamps.

Although the Scott catalogs don’t list it, the 1p stamp also exists as an imperforate inverted center error. It can be found in unused hinged condition in the $50 to $60 price range. — H.G.