US Stamps

John M. Hotchner

Transit passes advertised Christmas seals

January 08, 2018 12:46 PM

  • Two of these three transit passes from Milwaukee, Wis., and Portland, Ore., show images of the beautiful 1934 United States Christmas seal.

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

There are many standout Christmas seal designs in the 110-year history of the program, but to me the most attractive is the 1934 seal. The seal design is shown here on two of the three transit passes found so far for 1934.

For many years, I have collected this seal in all its forms: the issued varieties; errors, freaks and oddities (EFOs); used on covers; essays and proofs of its design; and publicity artifacts promoting its use.

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Measured by sales, the 1934 Christmas seal was a great success, realizing $3.7 million dollars, nearly $300,000 more than the 1933 seal.

In the 1930s and 1940s, transit pass ads were part of the publicity program to encourage contributions to the National Tuberculosis Association and use of the Christmas seals.

The first year for these transit passes was 1934. The examples shown are from Portland, Ore., and Milwaukee, Wis.

I also have examples of transit passes from other years and locations: Rochester, N.Y., for 1935, 1939 and 1941; St Louis, Mo., for 1941, 1942, 1944 and 1947; and Milwaukee for 1939 and 1943.

If you can report additional examples, please contact me, John Hotchner, at Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125, or email me.