US Stamps

Inaugural covers off the beaten track

Mar 2, 2023, 8 AM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

One of the more unusual inaugural covers I have seen is this congressional free-franked example in Figure 1. It is signed by Congressman John H. Dent, a Democrat representing the 21st District of Pennsylvania. He served from 1958 to 1979.

In 1965, he would have been celebrating the election of the Democratic Party candidate, Lyndon B. Johnson, to a full term as president, after filling out the term of assassinated President John F. Kennedy. It looks like Dent personally signed the cover.

An enclosure inside the cover reads: “My dear Friend and Fellow Westmorelander: I am working against time to get these Inaugural covers into the mail to be stamped, Inaugural Day, January 20, 1965. I thought that you would like to have one for your souvenir remembrance of this great event. Sorry, I had to use this method instead of a personal note but time was running out. Sincerely yours, John H. Dent, M.C.”

The inaugural cover shown in Figure 2 was prepared by the Original Order of Zunks. This group of stamp collectors in Pittsburgh prepared a series of holiday and patriotic war-related covers from 1940 through 1945. (I featured two of the group’s Christmas covers in the Jan. 9 issue of Linn’s.)

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