US Stamps

Collecting outside the box via local postal ads

Nov 16, 2018, 6 AM

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

For the most part, the United States Postal Service has not used professional advertising agencies to get out the good word about its philatelic products. Rather, it has relied upon the news value of new issues and the occasional controversy to get free ink to reach the public at large.

For collectors, it uses its quarterly catalog USA Philatelic to inform and to encourage orders.

Local post offices have been left free to peddle their wares within their own budgets, and a nice example is the undated flyer shown above. It is from the philatelic center in Chicago’s main post office.

The item features a symbolic tree in red and green topped with a wreath with the message “Shop Early Mail Early.” The tree’s branches mention philatelic items that could be possible holiday gifts. Among these is a reference to the Stockholmia 74 souvenir card, so my guess would be that this flyer was for Christmas 1974.

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Most of this sort of advertising probably finds its way to the trash bin, but I think it is collectible, especially when it is as creative and attractive as this Chicago flyer.

For those who are interested in show souvenir cards, such as the Stockholmia card and similar memorabilia, I recommend the quarterly Souvenir Card Journal, the official publication of the Souvenir Card Collectors Society.

This is a very active group that catalogs what exists in the collecting area, and keeps its members informed of new cards being issued and varieties found on older cards.

It also promotes member exchange and conducts periodic member auctions.

The society’s website is www.souvenircards.org. Information also can be obtained from the society’s president and treasurer, William V. Kriebel, 1923 Manning St., Philadelphia, PA 19103-5728, email kriebewv@drexel.edu.