Neat Stamp Stories

Missing Inverted Jenny Found!

One of the Inverted Jenny stamps that was previously recovered.

One of the previously recovered Jenny Invert stamps.

A mystery over 60 years in the making 

In 1955, a block of four inverted Jenny stamps was stolen from a Virginia stamp show. By the 1980s, two had been recovered, but the mystery still intrigued collectors.

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Subscribe to Mystic’s ‘This Day in History’

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This Day in History is quickly becoming one of the most popular features on our website. Every day we share neat events from our past and link them to stamps. In the first few months that we've offered this free service, we've explored a variety of interesting topics. Some of the most popular have been the meeting of the Stamp Act Congress, the End of Pony Express Service, the sudden death of President Harding, and story of the Ground Zero flag following the 9/11 attacks on America.

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History of International Stamp Exhibitions in the U.S.

Hamilton Bank Note Co. Cinderella Stamp

Hamilton Bank Note Co.
Cinderella Stamp

The first international stamp exhibition to be held in the U.S. took place in New York City in 1913. The Post Office Department hadn’t yet created a division to cater directly to stamp collectors, so there were no U.S. stamps issued to commemorate the event.

However, the Hamilton Bank Note Co. of New York produced a set of four Cinderella stamps to mark the occasion.

A lot had changed by the time of the second U.S. international philatelic exhibition in 1926.  The U.S. Post Office Department was more actively engaged with collectors and so they issued a special 25-stamp sheet with an inscription in the margin to commemorate the show. Continue reading

Posted in Beginner's Section, General Stamp Collecting, Neat Stamp Stories | 9 Comments

America’s First Inverts

119b copy

The rare #119b – Click for a high-res view!

Nearly 150 years ago, officials unveiled a revolutionary stamp series produced by the National Bank Note Company. For the first time in American postal history, designs other than portraits of national leaders were pictured on a U.S. stamp. The Pictorial Series also featured the first bi-color U.S. stamps.

The public was underwhelmed by the stamps and criticized the designs as being frivolous.  But 19th-century collectors soon found a reason to love them…

Bi-color printing was done in two steps. The central design (vignette) was printed first. The stamp sheet was then placed back on the flat press and the frame was added. In a few cases, human error led to the sheet being placed on the press backwards. The result – the first inverted stamps in U.S. history! Continue reading

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Amazing Flying Boats Carried First Trans-Pacific Airmail

Aviation in the 1920s developed at an incredible pace.  Instead of the fragile wood and fabric of early biplanes, aircraft were soon being constructed of sturdy, streamlined metal propelled by increasingly light and powerful motors.  As planes became more safe and reliable, people began to realize the amazing potential of flight.  U.S. Airmail, first flown in May 1918, began regularly scheduled transcontinental flights only two years later.  Commercial travel developed alongside airmail, bringing passengers to their destinations quicker and easier than ever before.  But as fast as flight was progressing, the oceans still proved a formidable obstacle.

The China Clipper over San Fransisco's shoreline on its inaugural transpacific airmail flight.

The China Clipper over San Fransisco’s shoreline on its inaugural transpacific airmail flight.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh and his Spirit of St. Louis made the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic.  A year later, the famous Graf Zeppelin airship began transatlantic passenger and mail flights.  International air travel was becoming a reality for the first time.  Realizing the huge economic potential, airlines began developing the infrastructure necessary to make worldwide scheduled flight routes possible.  It was a huge undertaking – not many countries had airfields large enough for a commercial aircraft to land, or access to the supplies and parts needed to maintain those planes.

Why Flying Boats?

Pan American Airways had a novel solution to bring airmail and travelers to destinations without an airfield:  The company began to create a fleet of seaplanes, capable of landing anywhere with a sheltered harbor.  Continue reading

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Discover the History of Confederate Printing Press No. 3

August Dietz with the historic No. 3 hand-press used by Hoyer & Ludwig to produce the South’s first postage stamps. Dietz was a printer’s apprentice in the early 1880s and learned the art from older men who had worked at the firm during the Civil War.

August Dietz with the historic No. 3 hand-press used by Hoyer & Ludwig to produce the South’s first postage stamps. Dietz was a printer’s apprentice in the early 1880s and learned the art from older men who had worked at the firm during the Civil War.

Mystic President Don Sundman with No. 3.

Mystic President Don Sundman with No. 3.

Did you know Mystic now owns the only surviving printing press used to produce the first Confederate postage stamps? It’s true – and we love having this direct connection to the Civil War displayed in our headquarters. Let me tell you the story of the press’ 150-year journey from the heart of Dixie to rural upstate New York… Continue reading

Posted in Beginner's Section, General Stamp Collecting, Neat Stamp Stories | 10 Comments