US Stamps

$2 Waves of Color, $1 Patriotic Waves headline franking on media-mail parcel from Kentucky

Oct 28, 2015, 6 PM

By Charles Snee

Leonard Hartmann of Kentucky is a well-respected collector, specialist and exhibitor of the Confederate States of America.

He also happens to be a seasoned dealer in philatelic literature, operating under the moniker Philatelic Bibliopole.

Earlier this year, Leonard sent to Linn’s headquarters in Sidney, Ohio, a copy of a recent publication for our philatelic library.

His securely assembled parcel, addressed to my attention, came franked with a colorful quartet of stamps. Illustrated here is the front from that package.

The stamps are: a nondenominated (49¢) Celebrity Chefs forever stamp depicting Felipe Rojas-Lombardi (Scott 4923), a 21¢ Abraham Lincoln (4860), and, of course, two stamps that immediately caught my eye — a 2012 $2 Waves of Color (4718), and a 2015 $1 Patriotic Waves (4953).

Two crisp strikes of a March 23, 2015, red double-outline circular datestamp from Louisville, Ky., tie the quartet to the parcel. The abbreviation “MOWU,” for money-order window unit, is easily seen in the datestamp on the $2 Waves of Color.

If you look closely at the U.S. Postal Service mailing label at left, just below the large “X,” you will see that the parcel — sent via what the USPS calls media mail — weighed 2 pounds, 4.4 ounces at the time of mailing.

A red “MEDIA MAIL” handstamp below the label reinforces the method used to send the book.

According to the Postal Service, “Media Mail packages may not contain advertising,” and books sent via media mail “may contain incidental announcements of other books.”

Media mail also is subject to USPS inspection, but there is no evidence that the parcel shown here was opened prior to its arrival in our offices.

You might recall that the 2012 Waves of Color set, which also includes $1 (Scott 4717), $5 (4719) and $10 (4720) denominations, was roundly panned by many collectors.

A good number of the complaints Linn’s received focused on the lack of a specific subject: the stamps don’t really have any central point of interest in the design.

Of the four, the $10 Waves of Color stamp, illustrated nearby, is by far the biggest.

In my experience, it’s also the hardest to find postally used, on or off cover. Post offices seemed to place small orders for the stamp, and no additional stamps were ordered once the first batches sold out.

 Nonetheless, I managed to use a handful of them on some mailings to collector friends overseas. Look for one or two of them in a future column.

Share your stories about U.S. dollar-denominated postage stamps and postal history. Write to Dollar-Sign Stamps, Box 4129, Sidney, OH 45365-4129; or send an email to