1935 10¢ Great Smoky Mountains
Special Printing – Issued Imperforate without Gum
Issue Date: March 15, 1935
First City: Washington, DC
Quantity Issued: 1,644,900
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Native Americans were likely hunting in the Great Smoky Mountains as many as 14,000 years ago. Hernando de Soto in 1540 and Juan Pardo in 1567 were likely the first Europeans to visit the Smokies, passing through the French Broad River valley.
Europeans increasingly began exploring the Smokies during the mid 1700s. And following the French and Indian War (1754-63), tensions brewed between the native Cherokee and arriving white explorers. By the early 1800s, the Cherokee gave control of the Smokies to the U.S. government and 30 years later they would be removed along the Trail of Tears.
After the establishment of frontier outposts in the 1780s, permanent white settlers began arriving a decade later. In 1801, William and John Whaley became the first-known settlers in the park’s present-day Greenbrier section. The following year, William Ogle arrived and settled White Oak Flats. More people soon came and settled there, establishing the town that would later be known as Gatlinburg.
Throughout the 1800s, minor logging occurred in the Great Smoky Mountains. But the inaccessibility of the trees kept major operations out of the area for some time. However, when resources in the more accessible areas of the northeastern U.S. and Mississippi Delta were exhausted, entrepreneurs found ways to log the Smokies. By the 1880s, logging operations were using splash dams to float logs down rivers to lumber mills for processing. Many of these operations failed after a few years because floods destroyed their systems. But innovations in logging railroads followed, making it even easier for businesses to destroy the Smokies’ precious forest.
As logging companies cleared acres of forest, businessmen saw the Smokies as a tourist spot. Soon the Wonderland Hotel and Appalachian Club were established, drawing wealthy visitors from Knoxville to spend their summers at the mountain getaway. Among these visitors was businessman Colonel David Chapman. He, along with other members of the Appalachian Club, grew concerned over the state of the area and began lobbying for the Great Smoky Mountains to be protected as a National Park.
Chapman became head of the new Great Smoky Mountains Park Commission and began raising money to purchase land. He faced numerous obstacles in dealing with local, state, and Federal issues. Chapman had to convince logging companies to sell their lumber rights as well as purchase thousands of small farms and move entire towns. He faced further difficulties in dealing with the Tennessee and North Carolina governments, which often rejected the idea of spending taxpayer money on the proposed park. The first major victory came in 1926, when Congress authorized the park, but Chapman and his supporters had to raise the money to buy the land.
Chapman was not alone in his efforts. Several others promoted the idea through newspaper and magazine articles or negotiated for the lands. Though the odds seemed stacked against them, Chapman and his supporters succeeded in making almost all the major land purchases by 1932. Two years later, the park was officially created on June 15, 1934.
What are Farley’s Follies?
Farley’s Follies is one of stamp collecting’s most interesting stories. And since most of the stamps are readily available and inexpensive, it’s easy enough to put a specialized collection together. Let’s step back in time and discover one of the Postal Service’s biggest scandals…
James A. Farley (1888-1976) got his start in politics in 1911 as town clerk of Grassy Point, New York. He moved his way through the political system, forming the Upstate New York Democratic Organization and bringing many upstate voters to the Democratic party. In 1924, he met young Franklin Roosevelt at the Democratic National Convention. Four years later, FDR asked Farley to run his campaign for New York governor. Farley helped FDR win the elections for governor in 1928 and 1930. A driving force in the US political system, Farley helped FDR win the 1932 and 1936 presidential elections. Roosevelt made Farley his Postmaster General. Farley was pivotal in turning around the US Post Office Department. He helped the department finally turn a profit and revolutionized airmail service.
The infamous “Farley’s Follies” controversy began in 1933 when Farley removed several stamp sheets from the printing presses before they were gummed or perforated. He autographed these sheets (which were not available to the public) and gave them to colleagues and family, creating precious philatelic rarities. Stamp collectors were outraged when they discovered what had happened. Finally, the Post Office came up with a solution – the reissue in sheet form of all the stamps issued since March 4, 1933, in ungummed condition, all but the first two imperforate and in sufficient numbers to satisfy public demand. Although Farley and FDR had a falling out over Roosevelt’s plan to run for a third term, Farley remained a strong force in the political and business worlds. He went on to serve as Chairman of the Board of the Coca-Cola Export Corporation and served as a trusted advisor to several Popes, dignitaries, and Presidents until his death in 1976.
Farley’s Follies are Scarce and Valuable Collectibles
The British stamp firm Gibbons reportedly declared the reprint was “nauseous prostitution,” and at first refused to list the issues in their famous stamp catalog! But even today, over 80 years after they were issued, collectors still love Farley’s Follies.
“Farley’s Follies” were issued in large sheets that are way too big to fit in stamp albums. So smart collectors snapped up blocks and pairs in a variety of formats instead. They not only fit, but these key formats are an easy way to understand the stamp printing process.
Mystic purchased full sheets of these mint stamps and made them available in scarce formats like vertical, horizontal and gutter pairs plus arrow blocks, line pairs and cross gutter blocks. All are hard to find – some occur only once in every stamp sheet. It’s a neat way to own a scandalous slice of US postal history.