US Stamps

John M. Hotchner

Here we have a first-day invitation stamp mismatch

January 12, 2018 09:54 AM

  • If this lovely souvenir invitation with first-day-canceled-Woodcarved Figurines stamps sets off alarm bells, there is a good reason.
  • This 22¢ Christmas issue showing Perugino’s Madonna is the stamp that belongs with invitation card bearing the Woodcarved Figurines stamps.

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

First-day cancellations are found on more than first-day covers. Among other media I have seen bearing these cancels are first-day programs, news articles, speech transcripts, historical brochures and magazine covers. A new one to me is the invitation card shown with this column.

But take a second look: The event and the stamps don’t match!

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The invitation is for the 1986 22¢ Christmas stamp showing the Perugino Madonna from the National Gallery of Art (Scott 2244). This stamp was issued Oct. 24, 1986, in Washington, D.C. while the stamps on the card are the 22¢ Woodcarved Figurines (2240-2243) also issued in Washington, but 24 days earlier on Oct. 1.

Part of the American Folk Art series, these stamps were issued in a block with the four designs se-tenant (side-by-side). Clockwise from upper left on the card, they show American highlander, cigar store Indian, ship figurehead, and nautical wood-carved figures.

Artistic license reared its’ head with the last figure. The model from which the stamp was designed stood in front of the shop of James Fales of New Bedford, Mass., some time during the 19th century. In the original, he was a right-handed sextant user.

The United States Postal Service turned him into a left-handed sailor so that all figures on the block would face inward (as they are shown on the invitation card).