US Stamps

John M. Hotchner

Tell us what Christopher Columbus is pointing at on this 1992 stamp honoring his voyages

September 21, 2017 05:00 PM

  • The U.S. Stamp Notes cartoon caption contest for October is the 29¢ Approaching Land stamp from the 1992 Voyages of Columbus block of four. Put yourself behind the pointing finger, and tell me what you think Columbus might be saying. 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 Oct. 27 for a chance to win a prize.

U.S. Stamp Notes — By John M. Hotchner

The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus has been portrayed on many United States stamps. Few have the clarity of the block of four 29¢ stamps issued in 1992 for the 500th anniversary of his voyages (Scott 2620-2623).

I have selected the Approaching Land stamp from the block (Scott 2622) as the cartoon caption contest stamp for October.

The stamp shows Columbus pointing at something; possibly the expected landing place.

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Given the current cultural free-for-all in which Columbus is being raked over the coals for his treatment of the native Americans in the Caribbean, there is plenty of material to work with as you consider what Columbus might be saying or thinking.

Will we ever see a Columbus stamp again? How far must the U.S. Postal Service go to eliminate the possibility of offending interest groups who choose to evaluate historical figures by today’s standards rather than in the context of their times?

These are not just academic questions. And Columbus may have an opinion. So, put yourself behind the pointing finger and tell me what you might be thinking or saying about his voyages westward from Europe, his failure to find India, what he found when he arrived, or whatever else floats your boat. Your theme can be political, postal, or historical.

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 me. If you send an email, 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 Oct. 27.

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