US Stamps

Inside Linn’s: Taking a closer look at art on U.S. stamps

Feb 15, 2024, 10 AM
In Computers and Stamps in the March 4 issue of Linn’s, William F. Sharpe highlights stamps picturing artistic works. Shown is the United States 2001 34¢ American Illustrators pane of 20.

By Charles Snee

The March 4 digital-only issue of Linn’s Stamp News will be available to subscribers Saturday, Feb. 17. While you wait for your issue to arrive in your inbox, enjoy these three quick glimpses of exclusive content available only to subscribers. 

Taking a closer look at art on U.S. stamps

“There are many artistic works shown on stamps,” writes William F. Sharpe in Computers and Stamps. “For a long time, I did not fully appreciate these art stamps as the paintings depicted are so much smaller than the originals.” Sharpe’s admiration begins with 20 United States stamps issued in 2001 that celebrate illustrations by well-known artists. He provides some background on the 34¢ American Illustrators pane and directs readers to a blog website called 100 Years of Illustration and Design that was created by graphic designer Paul Giambarba (1928-2023). Sharpe provides a quick tutorial to help readers navigate the website and explore its wealth of information.

1972 Cape Hatteras stamps quartet issued in unusual format

In Modern U.S. Mail, Richard L. Beecher explores a brief period of time during 1972-76 when a number of commemorative stamps were issued “with face values that paid other common rates of the period” besides the first-class letter rate. One of those issues was a 1972 se-tenant block of 4 2¢ stamps depicting a scene at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina. “The 2¢ Cape Hatteras block of four (Scott 1451a) is unique,” Beecher explains, “in that it encompasses one common design but is perforated horizontally and vertically into four definitive-size stamps.” He also illustrates two interesting contemporaneous on-cover international uses of the 2¢ Cape Hatteras stamps, one of which includes a block of four.

Word search puzzle: stamps printed on uncommon materials

Linn’s regularly publishes three games to entertain readers: Trickies, a word scramble puzzle by Joe Kennedy; a word search puzzle by D.E. Rubin; and Philatelic Lexicon, a crossword puzzle by David Saks. In this week’s issue, Rubin tasks readers with finding 22 words associated with stamps printed on atypical materials. To set the stage for the coming search, Rubin highlights two Austria stamps issued in 2020: a souvenir sheet printed on toilet paper, and a stamp “printed using a similar production technique and materials as used in making skis.”

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