US Stamps

Christopher Columbus lobbies Queen Isabella for December cartoon caption contest

Dec 1, 2023, 9 AM
The cartoon caption contest image for December is the 1992 29¢ Voyages of Columbus stamp showing Columbus seeking Queen Isabella’s support. Entries must be received by Dec. 22 for a chance to win a prize.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Christopher Columbus is shown making his case for funding of his exploratory trip west to find another route to the East Indies on a 1992 29¢ stamp (Scott 2620) from the Voyages of Columbus block of four (2620-2623). That commemorative will be the cartoon caption contest stamp for December.

The would-be explorer began promoting and planning for his effort around 1484-85. He applied for funding from the rulers of Portugal, England, Genoa and Venice, but without notable success. So he took his plans to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Their experts advised against funding, because they thought Columbus’ calculation of travel distances was too low.

However, Columbus was persistent and continued to lobby the Spanish court.

After securing some Italian financing from private investors, he was given additional funding from Spain in 1489. In January 1492, the king and queen arranged funding to complete the project.

The rest, as they say, is history. (Contrary to popular myth, Isabella, did not sell the royal jewels to come up with the money.)

The burning question for the cartoon caption contest is “What did Columbus say to Isabella to make her change her mind?”

You have a chance to guess at the reasons he might have presented, and they don’t necessarily have to be serious. In fact, the chance of winning is enhanced by your entry having a touch of humor or irony.

So, think on your knees, and tell me what you might be presenting or saying about the possible benefits of the trip that would make it a winner for Spain, or you can use the illustration to make observations about philately, politics, or any other theme that you wish.

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

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 If you send an email, it is essential that you include your postal mailing address.

For each winner, the prize will be a 13-week subscription to Linn’s (a new subscription or an extension). Entries must reach me no later than Dec. 22.

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