US Stamps

John M. Hotchner

A cover dressed to the nines

June 07, 2018 10:00 AM

  • This cover features a surfeit of nines: nine 9¢ stamps; the cancellation date of Sept. 9, 1999; and the 99919 ZIP Code of the point of origin, Thorne Bay, Alaska.
  • Used examples of these 9¢ Dome of Capitol stamps with a white background (from 1977 13¢ booklet panes issued with two different perforations) have high catalog values. Shown is the perf 11 by 10½ version.

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

Creativity is not dead. The cover shown here, canceled on Sept. 9, 1999, in Thorne Bay, Alaska, with a ZIP code of 99919, celebrates the nine 9¢ stamp designs that had been issued by the United States up to that date.

Yes, you can quibble that modifications of the basic designs are not included. These would be the 1929 Kansas-Nebraska overprints, the 9¢ Americana Dome of Capital coil (Scott 1616), and the Dome of Capital stamp with a white background (Scott 1590, 1590A). And of course there is the 9¢ fractional, the 9.3¢ Mail Wagon from the Transportation Coil series (1903). But it is still a neat cover.

It illustrates the fact that there was no 9¢ stamp until 1914, when the Benjamin Franklin stamp in the upper right corner of the cover was issued (Scott 415).

The last was the 9¢ Sylvanus Thayer stamp issued in 1985 as part of the Great Americans series (Scott 1852).

Also included on the cover in order of issue date are the following 9¢ stamps: 1926 Thomas Jefferson (Scott 590), 1932 George Washington Bicentennial (714), 1934 Glacier National Park (748), William Henry Harrison of the 1938 Presidential series (814), 1956 The Alamo of the Liberty series (1043), 1971 Silhouette of Delta Wing Plane airmail (C77) and 1975 9¢ Dome of Capitol stamp on gray background (Scott 1591).

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In preparing this article, I was surprised to find that Scott 1590, the perf 11 by 10½ 9¢ Dome of Capitol on white background from the 1977 13¢ booklet pane, is valued at $20 used in the 2018 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. Also, the perf 10 by 9½ version (Scott 1590A) catalogs at an amazing $50 used. Both of these values are in italics in the catalog indicating items that can be difficult to value accurately.

Finding either of these on a commercial cover would be a nice addition to your collection.