US Stamps

Inside Linn’s: A mysterious U.S. 2001 registered airmail letter sheet

Nov 20, 2023, 12 PM
In Dollar-Sign Stamps in the Dec. 11 issue of Linn’s, Charles Snee unravels what at first glance appears to be an overpayment on a United States 2001 registered airmail letter sheet.

By Charles Snee

The Dec. 11 issue of Linn’s Stamp News just landed on the presses and goes in the mail to subscribers Monday, Nov. 27. And if you subscribe to Linn’s digital edition, you’re at the head of the line with early access Saturday, Nov. 25. While you wait for your issue to arrive in your mailbox, enjoy these three quick glimpses of exclusive content available only to subscribers. 

A mysterious U.S. 2001 registered airmail letter sheet

The United States 2001 60¢ Voyageurs National Park airmail letter sheet shown here was sent via registered mail from Los Angeles to Amersterdam, Netherlands. When Dollar-Sign Stamps columnist Charles Snee spotted it in an online auction, he decided to add it to his watchlist on the auction website. The $8.05 postage consists of two 2001 $3.50 U.S. Capitol Priority Mail stamps (3472) and a 1999 45¢ Universal Postal Union stamp (3332). “My first thought was that the three stamps totaling $7.45 paid the registry fee and the 60¢ stamp imprint on the sheet (picturing a loon floating on a lake) covered the international postage,” Snee writes. Further research on the registry and postage rates at the time the letter sheet was mailed, combined with the handwritten message on the sheet, revealed that Snee’s initial interpretation was incorrect. Read the whole column to learn how Snee solved this mysterious discrepancy.

Carton of Mexican cigarettes bears scarce U.S. revenue stamps

“Five years ago, while cleaning out my family’s home, I discovered — at the very bottom of a trunk owned by my grandparents that had not opened for decades — a sealed carton of Mexico’s Gardenia cigarettes,” writes Wayne L. Youngblood in The Odd Lot. That chance discovery sent Youngblood on a voyage of discovery to learn more about the scarce surcharged class-B on class-A 12-cigarette De Witt Clinton revenue stamps that are plastered on the carton. Essential steps involved tapping into the history of the firm (and its French founder) that made the cigarettes, a key catalog compiled by Sherwood Springer and the expert knowledge of U.S. revenue expert Ronald Lesher. What did Youngblood learn? You’ll have to read his column to find out.

Tip of the Week: U.S. 1917 20¢ Benjamin-Franklin stamp

In their Tip of the Week, Stamp Market Tips columnists Henry Gitner and Rick Miller write, “The Washington-Franklin series of U.S. definitive (regular-issue) stamps is a source of limitless fascination for many U.S. collectors. Stamps of this series issued from 1908 to 1922 all use the engraved likeness of either President George Washington or Founding Father and first Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin.” This week, they recommend looking for the 1917 light ultramarine Benjamin Franklin stamp (Scott 515).

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