McCusker to auction Linn cacheted first-day cover in Feb. 4 sale

Jan 17, 2014, 3 AM

A Sept. 1, 1923, cacheted first-day cover for the 2¢ black Warren G. Harding memorial stamp, to be auctioned Feb. 4 by James T. McCusker. The envelope’s printed cachet was created by George W. Linn and is generally considered to be the first cacheted FDC.

The Feb. 4 public auction No. 350 by James T. McCusker will include an example of the first cacheted first-day cover, created in 1923 by Linn’s Stamp News founder George W. Linn.

The cover was prepared for the United States 2¢ memorial stamp honoring President Warren G. Harding, who died of an apparent heart attack Aug. 2, 1923, while visiting San Francisco.

The stamp (Scott 610) was issued 30 days later, on Sept. 1, in Marion, Ohio, where Harding had worked as a newspaperman and later launched his political career.

Linn, then a stamp dealer and printer in Columbus, Ohio, created a small number of black-bordered mourning envelopes bearing a printed cachet reading “In Memorium, Warren G. Harding, Twenty-Ninth President, Born Nov. 2, 1865, Died Aug. 2, 1923.”

The spelling of the word “memoriam” is incorrect in the cachet.

The precise number of cacheted covers Linn serviced is not known. Estimates have included “100 or fewer” and “about 200.”

Envelopes in three sizes were used to create the FDCs. The example in the McCusker auction measures 8.7 centimers by 6.5cm with a 0.3cm black border. It is described by the auctioneer as extremely clean and scarce and is offered with an opening bid of $250 against an estimate of $500 to $750.

The auction also includes a set of the 1¢ to $5 1893 Columbian stamps as plate proofs on card (Scott 230P4-245P4), described as grading extremely fine to superb with deep rich vibrant colors. The set is offered with an estimate of $2,000 to $2,500 and an opening bid of $1,000.

United States and worldwide stamps and covers, including autographs and free franks, also are featured in the auction, which will take place at the firm’s gallery at 804 Broadway in Raynham, Mass.

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