U.S. Stamp Notes: Stamp dealer advertising covers

By John M. Hotchner

Figure 1. Bearing old Banknote stamps in 1908, this dealer ad cover from St. Louis, Mo., would certainly make a collector sit up and take notice. Both sides of the cover are shown.

Figure 2. Sent in 1909, this cover, similar to the example shown in Figure 1, was mailed by a different dealer and addressed to Austria.

Figure 3. The cartoon caption contest stamp for February is this 22¢ 1988 Olympic Winter Games commemorative featuring a downhill skier. Winners will be selected for the best philatelic and best nonphilatelic lines. The rules to enter the contest are in the accompanying article. Entries must be received at Linn’s by Feb. 24.

Printed stamp dealer advertising covers were quite the rage in the first half of the 20th century.

One can actually trace the expansion of the stamp trade through stamp dealer covers.

But the two covers shown in Figures 1 and 2 are both registered examples with matching designs, sent from two different stamp dealers in St. Louis, Mo.

Both sides of the older cover, from 1908, are shown in Figure 1.

Note that it has 10¢ in Banknote stamps affixed to the back; stamps that, at the time, were more than 30 years old.

In June 1908, 10¢ would have paid the 2¢ first-class letter rate plus 8¢ for registry service.

The 1909 cover illustrated in Figure 2 is from a different dealer. It bears 15¢ in postage, paying the 5¢ international surface rate to Austria and the 10¢ registry fee.

The registry fee had increased Nov. 1, 1909, and this cover is canceled Nov. 22.

Both covers have nearly identical text except for the dealer name and address in the upper left corner of the front.

Apparently, a stationer in St. Louis had these as a stock item.

I wonder if other dealers in St. Louis or beyond also used this design?

I have seen one other example. It was illustrated in a Linn’s article by James C. Johnston Jr. titled “U.S. stamp dealers like to use Columbians.” The article was published in the Jan. 26, 2004, issue.

This example from the C.E. Hussman Co. has 6¢ and 8¢ Columbian singles paying domestic postage, including the registry fee, but it isn’t clear what the date of mailing is.

Cartoon contest

As this is written, the hype for the 2014 Olympics Winter Games has begun, and the Feb. 6 opening promises to bring thrills and spills to match the level of competition at the world’s premier winter sports event, held every four years at different venues around the world.

This year the Olympic Winter Games will take place in Sochi, Russia. The opening ceremony is Feb. 7, but a few events will take place on the previous day, Feb. 6. The Games will end Feb. 23.

But this year, especially because of its proximity to the Caucasus Mountains, a hot spot for peoples seeking their own national identity apart from Russia, there is also a great deal of planning to thwart terrorism. And that has thrown a bit of a wet blanket over the Games.

Add to this the dust kicked up by reactions to Russia’s official anti-gays policy — seemingly suspended for the Olympics — and we have a rich blend of issues to fuel the imagination of readers who would like to enter the February cartoon caption contest.

The stamp for this month is shown in Figure 3. It is the downhill skier on a 22¢ commemorative issued to mark the 1988 Olympic Winter Games.

So, put yourself on the skis, and consider what you might be thinking or feeling about the Olympics as you speed down the mountain. You also can reflect on skiing or sports in general, philately, politics or anything else that appeals to you.

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 jmhstamp@verizon.net. 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 Feb. 24.

Why not enter now while you’re thinking about it? 

Published 1/24/2014 8:00 AM