US Stamps

Inside Linn’s: Unraveling the franking on a U.S. 1987 Americana cover

Mar 17, 2023, 12 PM
The franking on this 1987 cover, which includes a United States $5 Americana stamp, posed some challenges. Charles Snee has the details in Dollar-Sign Stamps.

By Charles Snee

The April 3 digital-only issue of Linn’s Stamp News will be available to subscribers Saturday, March 18. While you wait for your issue to arrive, enjoy these three quick glimpses of exclusive content available only to subscribers. 

Unraveling the franking on a U.S. 1987 Americana cover

The cover illustrated here captured the attention of Dollar-Sign Stamps columnist Charles Snee when he came across it on eBay in early January. “What initially grabbed my attention was the United States 1979 $5 Americana stamp (Scott 1612) nestled among the other seven stamps on the cover,” Snee explains. “A total franking of $5.28 suggests that the contents were heavy. But the overall condition of the envelope suggests otherwise.” For added intrigue, Snee provides the seller’s description, which asserted that the $5 stamp was erroneously used as a 5¢ stamp. To get to the bottom of this mystery, Snee consults two respected postal historians and a book about international postal rates. You’ll have to read the column to learn what Snee discovered.

More odd-shaped stamps

In Computers and Stamps, William F. Sharpe writes about a number of stamps with unusual shapes. He last wrote about odd-shaped stamps in his column in the June 8, 2020, issue of Linn’s. Sharpe begins with the five stamps in Canada’s 2022 Vintage Carousels issue, which are arranged in a circle on a round souvenir sheet. Among the other eye-catching issues that Sharpe profiles are a 2020 souvenir sheet of two from Iran that looks like a goblet-shaped drum, a 2022 Vatican City stamp promoting the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration that was embroidered using polyester yarn obtained through the recycling of plastic bottles, and Switzerland’s 2022 Kiss stamp in the shape of puckered lips. Sharpe’s column is a philatelic treat for the eyes you won’t want to miss.

Kitchen Table Philately: On-paper stamps from five countries

In each weekly issue of Linn’s, either E. Rawolik VI or E. Rawolik VII dissects the contents of a stamp mixture offered to collectors. E. Rawolik is a pseudonym that is also the word “kiloware” (a stamp mixture) spelled backward. This week, E. Rawolik VII selects a 50-stamp sample from a worldwide assortment of 250 stamps from a seller in England. The sample included stamps from five countries. Rawolik begins by noting that a “packet of small stamps marked ‘Free’ was enclosed.” These stamps are not included in the review. The oldest stamp in the reviewed sample was issued in 1956, while the most recent arrived in 2016. Enjoy the full review in this issue.

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