Combination first-day cover highlights 90 years of $2 stamps

By Charles Snee

This combination first-day cover is franked with 11 United States $2 stamps that were issued during a 90-year period, from the 1923 Washington Capitol stamp to the Jenny Invert stamp issued Sept. 22, 2013. Todd Ronnei created the cover.

Pictured nearby is a marvelous combination first-day cover for the United States $2 Jenny Invert stamp that was issued Sept. 22, 2013.

It appears in Dollar-Sign Stamps courtesy of Todd Ronnei of Minnesota.

In addition to the 2013 Jenny Invert stamp (Scott 4806a), it bears the following 10 $2 stamps, in chronological order: 1923 Washington Capitol (572), 1938 Warren G. Harding (833), 1978 Table Lamp (1611), 1986 William Jennings Bryan (2195), 1990 Bobcat (2482), 1992 Columbian (2628c), 1994 James Madison (from the Bureau of Engraving Centennial souvenir sheet, 2875a), 1998 Trans-Mississippi (3209i), 2006 Washington Capitol (from the Washington 2006 souvenir sheet, 4075b) and 2012 Waves of Color (4718).

Although he didn’t attend the Jenny Invert first-day ceremony, Ronnei provided me with a fascinating account of the cover’s genesis.

“I prepared the cover after-the-fact and submitted it for servicing during the first-day grace period,” he said.

“As the first day of issue for the Jenny Invert stamp approached, I started thinking about previous $2 stamps.

“Being a first-day combination cover enthusiast, I soon came up with the idea of making a combo cover with as many other $2 stamps as I could afford to put on a single cover.

“I’d seen similar high value combo covers in the past, so this was my chance to make one of my own. I raided my Scott National album for some of the stamps.

“I was conflicted about breaking up some of the souvenir sheets, such as the Washington 2006 sheet and the 1992 Columbian sheet, just to get the $2 stamps.

“But I decided they would look better on the FDC than on the album page. For stamps that I didn’t have on hand (or didn’t want to remove from my album), I turned to the American Philatelic Society online stamp store.

“There I found a suitable $2 Harding for only $3.75, and the $2 Capitol stamp from 1923 for less than $35. Those were excellent prices compared to current catalog value, but because I wasn’t too concerned with condition (hinged was fine, because the stamp was destined for a cover), less than perfect examples were more than satisfactory.

“Some of the stamps, such as the Bobcat and Lamp stamps, I was able to purchase for less than face from the APS site.

“For the cachet (decorative design at left), I considered making one of my own with a picture of a pair of antlered deer — “two bucks.” In the end, I chose to purchase a No. 10-size ArtCraft cacheted envelope instead.

“I crossed my fingers when sending the cover for servicing. The folks at the U.S. Postal Service’s stamp fulfillment service center usually do a fine job of postmarking my FDCs, but mistakes can happen.

“I’d have been out a considerable investment if anything went awry with this cover, but fortunately it came back in fine shape.

“So that’s the story of my FDC franked with 90 years of $2 U.S. stamps.”

And a fine story it is, wouldn’t you say?

Linn’s welcomes information and stories dealing with U.S. dollar-denominated definitive and commemorative stamps. Write to Dollar-Sign Stamps, Box 29, Sidney, OH 45365.

Published 4/29/2014 6:55 AM