General Stamp Collecting

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 | 8 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

Posted in General Stamp Collecting, Neat Stamp Stories, U.S. Stamp Series and Sets | Leave a comment

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

Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to See the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta

The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta is the Holy Grail of stamp collecting – the stamp sought by kings and queens, millionaires and blue collar collectors alike. Rarely displayed in public, the British Guiana recently sold for nearly $10 million.

In an unprecedented move, its new owner has allowed it to be displayed at the National Postal Museum for 2 ½ years. This will be the longest and most accessible exhibit of the legendary stamp in its colorful history – and it’s free!

Brief History of the British Guiana

British Guiana was a British colony located on the northern coast of South America (present-day Guyana). In 1856, the postmaster of the capital city of Georgetown issued a small quantity of stamps for provisional use while he awaited a shipment of postage from England.

The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta has been sought-after for more than a century.  In 1922, American industrialist Arthur Hinds outbid England’s King George V to acquire the stamp.  Today, the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta is the only stamp needed to complete Queen Elizabeth’s collection of British Colonial stamps.

The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta has been sought-after for more than a century. In 1922, American industrialist Arthur Hinds outbid England’s King George V to acquire the stamp. Today, the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta is the only stamp needed to complete Queen Elizabeth’s collection of British Colonial stamps.

Continue reading

Posted in General Stamp Collecting, Neat Stamp Stories | 3 Comments

Shirley Chisholm’s Legacy

Produced by the USPS, this video traces the life and times of Shirley Chisholm.  The Congresswoman was honored in 2014 in the popular Black Heritage stamp series.

Posted in General Stamp Collecting | 1 Comment

Martín Ramírez First Day of Issue Ceremony

The Fleetwood First Day Covers were hand-stamped with a pictorial cancel at the First Day of Issue ceremony.  Each guest who attended received a program in a commemorative First Day Cover.

The Fleetwood First Day Covers were hand-stamped with a pictorial cancel at the First Day of Issue ceremony. Each guest who attended received a program in a commemorative First Day Cover.

On March 26, 2015, New York City’s Ricco/Maresca Gallery hosted the First Day of Issue dedication ceremony for five stamps.  The ceremony corresponded with the opening of a new exhibit of the artist’s work, titled Martín Ramírez: Forever. Continue reading

Posted in General Stamp Collecting, U.S. Stamp Series and Sets | 3 Comments