US Stamps

Inside Linn’s: Wishing harder doesn’t make a fake cover better

Sep 24, 2021, 8 AM
This tattered Tuscumbia, Ala., postmaster’s provisional cover is a fake. Wayne L. Youngblood explains why in The Odd Lot in the Oct. 11 issue of Linn’s Stamp News.

By Charles Snee

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

Wishing harder doesn’t make a fake cover better

Wayne L. Youngblood opens his The Odd Lot column by observing that “many collectors are inherently optimistic when they think they’ve found a rarity. This is certainly true of this month’s featured item.” The item in question purports to be a scarce 3¢ 1861 Tuscumbia, Ala., postmaster’s provisional cover that Youngblood discovered in a very old collection that he purchased recently. Youngblood points out a number of features that point to the cover’s spurious nature, including the color of the Tuscumbia postmark and characteristics of the envelope paper. His methodical detective work makes for a good read.

Assessment of customs duties on stamps for collectors

In Modern U.S. Mail, Tony Wawrukiewicz dissects the somewhat arcane rules that the U.S. Post Office Department used to assess customs duties on mailings containing stamps for collectors. He first reviews how these rules evolved in various postal publications such as the United States Official Postal Guide and Postal Laws and Regulations. He then takes readers on a guided tour of various markings on a 1923 registered letter package (sent from Switzerland to Washington, D.C.) that show different facets of U.S. customs handling. His analysis of the regulations, coupled with his study of the registered cover and others like it, leads him to speculate that the United States did not collect custom duties on stamp for collectors from at least 1917 to 1957. Read the entire column to learn how you can conduct similar research.

Collectors’ Forum: identifying with the moire

The intent of Linn’s Collectors’ Forum column is the publication of letters and requests for the exchange of information within the hobby. Linn’s editors give answers or partial answers when known. This week the editors assist a reader with identifying a Queensland 1-penny Queen Victoria stamp. One of the keys to identifying this stamp is the green pattern across the back of the stamp. This pattern is a printed security element called a moire. The stamp’s identity is revealed at the end of Linn’s response to the reader’s query.

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