1997 32c Classic Movie Monsters: Boris Karloff as The Mummy

# 3171 - 1997 32c Classic Movie Monsters: Boris Karloff as The Mummy

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US #3171
1997 Boris Karloff as The Mummy – Classic Movie Monsters

  • Honors Boris Karloff in his role as The Mummy
  • Part of the Classic Movie Monsters Series – one of USPS’s efforts to get young people interested in stamp collecting
  • Issued at the beginning of Stamp Collecting Month
  • Includes scrambled indicia


Stamp Category: 
Commemorative
Set:  Classic Movie Monsters
Value: 
32¢, First Class Mail Rate
First Day of Issue:  September 30, 1997
First Day City:  Universal City, California
Quantity Issued:  145,000,000
Printed by:  Printed for Stamp Venturers by J.W. Fergusson & Sons of Richmond Virginia with Scrambled Indicia by Graphic Security Systems Corporation of Lake Worth, Florida
Printing Method:  Photogravure, Scrambled Indicia
Format:  Panes of 20 (Vertical 5 across, 4 down)
Perforations:  10.2 x 10.1
Tagging:  Overall tagging that stops short of each margin, leaving 14 outside stamps partly untagged

Why the stamp was issued:  To honor “Classic Movie Monster,” The Mummy, and actor Boris Karloff who famously played the character.

About the stamp design:  Pictures a portrait by artist Thomas Blackshear (previous stamp artist for the 1990 Classic Films, 1993 Joe Louis, and 1995 Jazz Musicians stamps).  Blackshear later said creating the stamp art was a “treat” because “monsters have always been a passion with me.  I used to collect Famous Monsters of Filmland when I was a kid… Also, I had almost every monster model kit that was ever put out.” 

The name of the actor is printed in small white dropout type with the character’s name in large, brightly colored lettering suggestive of classic movie posters.

Scrambled indicia:  The stamp includes a hidden image only viewable with a special stamp decoder.  Scrambled indicia was a new tactic used by the USPS beginning with the 1997 US Air Force stamp to attempt to combat counterfeiting.  This stamp pictures Ancient Egyptian gods/goddesses when viewed with the decoder.

First Day City:  The First Day of Issue Ceremony for these stamps was held at Universal Studios, Hollywood, in California.

About the Classic Movie Monsters set:  These five stamps were issued to kick off Stamp Collecting Month and honor “Classic Movie Monsters” from Universal Studios films and the actors who played them.  The set was also part of the USPS’s efforts to attract young people to stamp collecting.

On the pane of  20, there are photographs of the actors on either side of the “Classic Movie Monsters” inscription along with each actor’s signature.  All five stamps include scrambled indicia.  Here are the hidden images that can be seen on each:

Phantom of the Opera – Floating masks
Dracula – Bats
Frankenstein – Bolts of electricity
Mummy – Ancient Egyptian gods/goddesses
Wolf Man – Howling wolves

History the stamp represents:  Released in 1932, The Mummy is the story of a mummified ancient Egyptian high priest – Im-Ho-Tep.  Im-Ho-Tep is awakened from centuries of sleep when, despite urgent warnings, the inscription on a scroll found with his body is intoned.

In what has been described as “one of the screen’s most chilling scenes,” Im-Ho-Tep takes the form of a sinister Egyptian, Ardath Bey, and battles British forces for possession of his princess, Anck-es-en-Amon, who has been reincarnated as a beautiful modern-day woman.  Once reunited with the princess, Im-Ho-Tep shows her their past lives in the reflection of a pool of water.  After wreaking considerable havoc, Im-Ho-Tep is eventually returned to his mummified state.

The Mummy’s eerie presence was brought to life by the unique talents of Boris Karloff.  Best known for his masterful performance in Frakenstein (1931), Karloff also starred in The Old Dark House (1932), The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939).

Karloff, who began his career on the stage, starred on Broadway in Aresenic and Old Lace (1941), and as Captain Hook in Peter Pan (1950).  This versatile actor also made frequent radio and television appearances.

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US #3171
1997 Boris Karloff as The Mummy – Classic Movie Monsters

  • Honors Boris Karloff in his role as The Mummy
  • Part of the Classic Movie Monsters Series – one of USPS’s efforts to get young people interested in stamp collecting
  • Issued at the beginning of Stamp Collecting Month
  • Includes scrambled indicia


Stamp Category: 
Commemorative
Set:  Classic Movie Monsters
Value: 
32¢, First Class Mail Rate
First Day of Issue:  September 30, 1997
First Day City:  Universal City, California
Quantity Issued:  145,000,000
Printed by:  Printed for Stamp Venturers by J.W. Fergusson & Sons of Richmond Virginia with Scrambled Indicia by Graphic Security Systems Corporation of Lake Worth, Florida
Printing Method:  Photogravure, Scrambled Indicia
Format:  Panes of 20 (Vertical 5 across, 4 down)
Perforations:  10.2 x 10.1
Tagging:  Overall tagging that stops short of each margin, leaving 14 outside stamps partly untagged

Why the stamp was issued:  To honor “Classic Movie Monster,” The Mummy, and actor Boris Karloff who famously played the character.

About the stamp design:  Pictures a portrait by artist Thomas Blackshear (previous stamp artist for the 1990 Classic Films, 1993 Joe Louis, and 1995 Jazz Musicians stamps).  Blackshear later said creating the stamp art was a “treat” because “monsters have always been a passion with me.  I used to collect Famous Monsters of Filmland when I was a kid… Also, I had almost every monster model kit that was ever put out.” 

The name of the actor is printed in small white dropout type with the character’s name in large, brightly colored lettering suggestive of classic movie posters.

Scrambled indicia:  The stamp includes a hidden image only viewable with a special stamp decoder.  Scrambled indicia was a new tactic used by the USPS beginning with the 1997 US Air Force stamp to attempt to combat counterfeiting.  This stamp pictures Ancient Egyptian gods/goddesses when viewed with the decoder.

First Day City:  The First Day of Issue Ceremony for these stamps was held at Universal Studios, Hollywood, in California.

About the Classic Movie Monsters set:  These five stamps were issued to kick off Stamp Collecting Month and honor “Classic Movie Monsters” from Universal Studios films and the actors who played them.  The set was also part of the USPS’s efforts to attract young people to stamp collecting.

On the pane of  20, there are photographs of the actors on either side of the “Classic Movie Monsters” inscription along with each actor’s signature.  All five stamps include scrambled indicia.  Here are the hidden images that can be seen on each:

Phantom of the Opera – Floating masks
Dracula – Bats
Frankenstein – Bolts of electricity
Mummy – Ancient Egyptian gods/goddesses
Wolf Man – Howling wolves

History the stamp represents:  Released in 1932, The Mummy is the story of a mummified ancient Egyptian high priest – Im-Ho-Tep.  Im-Ho-Tep is awakened from centuries of sleep when, despite urgent warnings, the inscription on a scroll found with his body is intoned.

In what has been described as “one of the screen’s most chilling scenes,” Im-Ho-Tep takes the form of a sinister Egyptian, Ardath Bey, and battles British forces for possession of his princess, Anck-es-en-Amon, who has been reincarnated as a beautiful modern-day woman.  Once reunited with the princess, Im-Ho-Tep shows her their past lives in the reflection of a pool of water.  After wreaking considerable havoc, Im-Ho-Tep is eventually returned to his mummified state.

The Mummy’s eerie presence was brought to life by the unique talents of Boris Karloff.  Best known for his masterful performance in Frakenstein (1931), Karloff also starred in The Old Dark House (1932), The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939).

Karloff, who began his career on the stage, starred on Broadway in Aresenic and Old Lace (1941), and as Captain Hook in Peter Pan (1950).  This versatile actor also made frequent radio and television appearances.