US Stamps

Undiscolored examples of U.S. 1974 Dove Weather Vane tough to find

Dec 9, 2020, 11 AM
This insured cover bears 10 examples of the 1974 10¢ self-adhesive Christmas stamp. Note that they are bright white as issued. Inset over the address on the cover is an unused block of these stamps that shows the normal aging process of the self-adhesive gum, which discolors the front of the stamps ruining their bright white appearance.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

It is very hard to find examples of the first United States’ self-adhesive stamp, the 1974 10¢ Christmas stamp showing a dove weather vane (Scott 1552), that are not discolored.

This was a surprise to the Postal Service, though perhaps not to Avery Products Corp., which supplied the self-adhesive paper to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the printer of the stamps.

As time passed, the adhesive on the great majority of these stamps has aged and that process has discolored the stamps from the back. This discoloration also is easily visible from the front.

If you want to get examples of this self-adhesive stamp for your collection that are in pristine condition as issued, the most likely place to find them is on cover. Illustrated here is such a cover franked with 10 self-adhesive stamps, plus a 1976 13¢ Christmas stamp (Scott 1702).

For some reason — perhaps the envelope paper absorbs the self-adhesive gum as it ages — some usages have retained their bright white appearance on cover.

For comparison, inset over the address on the pictured cover is a block of the stamps with the normal discoloration.

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