US Stamps

Collecting Christmas: philatelic-related cards

Dec 8, 2023, 9 AM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

I am one of those people who look up at the ceiling on the night of Dec. 25 and say, “Only 365 more days ‘til next Christmas!” I believe the Christmas season tends to bring out the best in people, and I wish that empathetic feeling could last all year.

My fascination with Christmas extends to my philatelic interests, including United States stamps issued especially for Christmas mail; U.S. Christmas seals used to raise funds to defeat first tuberculosis and later all lung diseases; and finally, Christmas cards that have a philatelic aspect.

For this column, I am going to look at the last-mentioned category. There are many types of philatelic-related Christmas cards, but space permits showing only a few here.

The interior of an undated card is shown in Figure 1. The affixed stamp is a German 1922 400-mark issue on which the name of the sender has been printed.

In Figure 2 is a card with a 29¢ Red-nosed Reindeer stamp (Scott 2792) canceled on the Oct. 21, 1993, first day. Not shown is another part of the card that identifies the company sending the card as “Eagle Member Services – Taking off in ‘94.”

Real or imagined stamps can be included in card designs, as shown in Figures 3 and 4.

Why would a 1923 8¢ Ulysses S. Grant stamp (Scott 560) be chosen for the design of the card shown in Figure 3? Maybe because the olive green color of the stamp promotes the often-seen Christmas color scheme of red and green.

Figure 4 shows both sides of a 1926 3¢ McKinley international-rate postal card (Scott UX37) used as a domestic-rate card some 30-plus years later.

It has a mailer’s postmark permit in green on the front with “Merry Christmas.” in the lower left. On the back is a mock-up of an album page with images of faux Polish stamps.

Sometimes, senders use images that reflect their preferred collecting areas or where they live. An example of this is …

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