US Stamps

By John M. Hotchner

Getting into the Christmas spirit with new cartoon caption contest

November 26, 2016 07:00 PM

  • The cartoon caption contest stamp for December is this 25¢ Christmas Greetings stamp issued in 1988. Pretend you are in the sleigh and tell me what you think the two riders might be saying to each other. Let your imagination wander. There will be a prize for the best philatelic and best nonphilatelic lines. The rules to enter the contest are in the accompanying article. Entries must be received by Dec. 23 for a chance to win a prize.
  • Two flaws exist on the 1988 25¢ Christmas Greetings stamp, both in the front of the runner on the sleigh. As shown in this illustration from the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers, there is a missing curlicue, and a partial curlicue. Each occurs on one stamp out of every 300 printed.

By John M. Hotchner

The 1988 25¢ Christmas stamp picturing a one-horse open sleigh and a village scene is especially interesting because collectors can search for the two cylinder flaws. Each flaw appears on one stamp out of every 300 printed. 

The focus of the design is the horse and sleigh, but look carefully at the couple in the sleigh. Notice anything odd? They are facing the viewer, not forward as would be expected while riding in a moving sleigh.

This lends a sense of weirdness to the stamp, and makes it an ideal candidate for the December cartoon caption contest. 

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I invite you use your imagination to tell me what one of the pair is saying to the other on the stamp. The subject can be related to Christmas, thoughts on the passing scene, where they may be going, philately, politics, or whatever else appeals to you. 

There will be two prizes given: one for the best philatelic line, and one for the best nonphilatelic line. 

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, Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125, or email it to 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 the prizes, entries must reach me no later than Dec. 23.

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