US Stamps

Damaged 20¢ Soil and Water FDC is a keeper

May 23, 2019, 9 AM
This first-day cover for the 1984 20¢ Soil and Water Conservation stamp was “found in supposedly empty mail equipment,” according to the handstamp.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Where others might see a damaged first-day cover, I see a keeper.

The Feb. 6, 1984, FDC for the 20¢ Soil and Water Conservation commemorative (Scott 2074) shown here proves that such covers, when mailed, are susceptible to the normal range of problems that can afflict routine personal and business mail.

The handstamp on this FDC reads, “Found in supposedly empty mail equipment at parcel post station, Balto., MD [unreadable ZIP code]”.

This cover also fits into another niche collection as the handstamp is dated “2/29/84,” making it a Leap Day cover.

The delay before discovery of the cover was less than a month, but enough that the U.S. Postal Service felt it needed to be explained.

There is no address, which could be significant except that it was standard for people requesting first-day cancels to use pull-off labels, as unaddressed FDCs were thought to be more desirable.

The FDC unquestionably went through the mail; the reverse has mail-handling markings.

How it came to be in a dealer box of miscellaneous covers is not known, but I’m happy to have found it.

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