US Stamps

Serve up some ice cream humor for March cartoon caption contest

Feb 27, 2024, 11 AM
The cartoon caption contest image for March is the United States 32¢ stamp showing children with ice cream cones at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Entries must be received by March 22 for a chance to win a prize.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

The 1900s Celebrate the Century pane (Scott 3182) issued Feb. 3, 1988, includes a stamp (3182e) that features a pair of youngsters enjoying ice cream cones. But the stamp actually recognizes the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

Text printed on the back of the stamp explains why: “The Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 was also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair. Americans were already enjoying ice cream, but the ice cream cone was popularized at the fair.”

While this description is accurate, at the same time, it bypasses a whole lot of history. The origins of frozen desserts are lost in the midst of time, but go back centuries.

Processes to freeze ice cream are more recent, and the inventions that gave us many forms of ice cream products and the ability to deliver a wide range of flavors came even later.

While ice cream cones were invented before the St. Louis World’s Fair, and patents for machines to make cones were granted in 1902 in England and 1903 in the United States, it was at the fair that they were popularized.

Certainly the children illustrated on the stamp seem to be enjoying the confection, so we will use that 32¢ stamp as the cartoon caption contest issue for March.

All you need to do is to put yourself in the period costumes shown, and tell me what you think the children might be saying or thinking about ice cream, the cones, or about how they might intersect with philately, politics, world’s fairs, their clothing, or any other subject that comes to mind.

There will be two prizes given to the winners: one for the best philatelic line and one for the best nonphilatelic line.

Put your entry (or entries) on a postcard if possible and send it to me, John Hotchner, Cartoon Contest, Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125; or email it to If you send an email, it is essential that you include your postal mailing address.

For each winner, the prize will be a 13-week subscription to Linn’s (a new subscription or an extension). Entries must reach me no later than March 22.

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