Own a Piece of Lincoln History

February 12, 2009

New Lincoln Stamps

If you want an interesting souvenir of Lincoln’s bicentennial just visit your local post office and ask for these stamps.

They were issued February 9, 2009 in four designs depicting various stages of Lincoln’s life. The cost is 42c each. First day of issue was Springfield, IL, but the stamp is now on sale nationwide.

Design details:
Upper left – Lincoln as a rail splitter
Upper right – Lincoln practicing law
Lower left – Lincoln debating Stephen Douglas in the senate race of 1858
Lower right – Lincoln as president during the Civil War

APS StampShow 2008 – The Big One

August 8, 2008

I confess. One of my passions is collecting postal history and stamps. I have been enamoured by this since the age of 8, over 50 years now.

Postal stamps and covers (envelopes) with stamps affixed are my addiction. Communication via the mail has always fascinated. Even in this age of e-mail, regular mail (so-called snail mail) continues to provide a useful service. There is nothing like receiving a letter from a friend or relative you can hold in your hands and read. It is much more personal.

Next Tuesday I am flying to Boston to attend the annual convention and philatelic exhibition of the American Philatelic Society. This year it is being held August 14-17 in Hartford, Connecticut. I am using the event as an excuse to visit with a good friend of mine who lives in Boston. Yes he is also a collector. We are going to the show together and plan to have way too much fun!

The American Philatelic Society was founded in 1886 and now serves over 44,000 collectors in more than 110 countries. It is the largest nonprofit society for stamp collectors in the world. The society is headquartered in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

The show itself moves to a different city every year. Last year it was held in Portland, Oregon. Some highlights of the event include:

  • 155 plus dealers
  • Postal Administrations from 5 different countries
  • Fifty plus national specialty societies
  • Over 150 seminars and meetings
  • More than 900 frames of competitive exhibits (a frame holds sixteen 8 1/2 x 11″ pages).
  • Philatelic rarities will be on display.
  • Admission is Free and the public is always welcome.

For those seeking more information on the great hobby of stamp collecting or the American Philatelic Society please checkout their excellent website at,


First Airmail Stamp Issued in 1918

May 13, 2008

Ninety years ago on May 13, 1918 the United States Post Office Department issued the first stamp to pay the rate for their new airmail service. Congress had approved the rate on May 6, 1918 and requested they be printed in time for the first flight planned for May 15, 1918. Two million of the stamps were printed.

The stamp depicts a Curtis JN-4 bi-plane or as it was affectionately known the “Jenny”. This plane was used in the delivery of airmail. However, it was not the plane used on the first airmail flight. That plane was the Standard JR-1B. The 24c rate included special delivery along with the airmail. It was not valid for any other kind of mail or postal service. The Scott U.S. Specialized Catalogue, the U.S. philatelist’s bible, lists the stamp in the Airmail section at the back of the regular postal issues. It is catalogue number C3.

William T. Robey, a collector living in Washington, D.C., purchased a sheet of 100 from the post office window. Being an astute collector he noticed the plane in the center of the stamp was inverted (upside down). He returned to the window and asked for more like it. The clerk attempted to get the sheet back as a defect, but Robey refused knowing it might turn out to be worth a bit more. Today a single stamp from this sheet sells at auction for around $200,000 US, and a block of four was auctioned last year for a record $2.97 million US. Robey sold his sheet to Eugene Klein, a dealer in Philadelphia for a reputed $15,000 US which in 1918 was a lot of cash. Considering he paid $24 US (face value for the 100 stamps) he realized a nice return. There has been an entire book written telling the story of the inverted sheet. Only one sheet of 100 was ever found. This inverted stamp is listed in Scott as a variety with catalogue number C3a.

Needless to say I don’t have one of these in my collection.

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