US Stamps

Congressman Ackerman created first-day covers from 1928-31

Oct 13, 2023, 9 AM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Congressman Ernest R. Ackerman (1863-1931), shown in Figure 1, was quite the stamp collector, and he was happy to use his congressionally franked envelopes to promote that fact.

Ackerman, a Republican, was elected to the House of Representatives from the 5th Congressional District of New Jersey in 1919 and served until his death in 1931.

His philatelic career began in his youth and extended throughout his life.

He built a profitable dealership in his early years but eventually sold out to an older dealer. He then devoted his philatelic pursuits to collecting and became an avid exhibitor. He was said to have more than 600 stamp albums.

Thus, it is not a surprise that he became an influential member of Congress on postal matters and made his thoughts known on stamp matters as well.

One of his proposals, not successful, was to issue the first United States semipostal stamp to raise funds for victims of the 1927 Mississippi River flood.

While there are a half dozen subsequent members of Congress who used their official stationery to make first-day covers, Ackerman was the first I know of to do this.

His first, at least the first I have found, was for the 2¢ stamp (Scott 649) of the 1928 Aeronautical Conference issue, shown in Figure 2. I know of another half dozen Ackerman FDCs.

He also used stamps on his franked covers when using them for personal business, when he was abroad sending mail back to the United States, and when he needed postal services beyond basic first-class (which was paid by his frank).

Figure 3 shows two examples: a domestic registered special delivery cover, and a registered cover sent from France bearing French stamps.

Ackerman’s covers used to be seen often in U.S. dealer stocks, but they have become much harder to find in recent years. They are worth picking up if you have an interest in the classic era of FDCs or congressionally franked covers.

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