Neat Stamp Stories

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.

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Mystic Founder Mentored by Stamp Giant H.E. Harris

Those who have been collecting stamps for a number of years will remember the name H.E. Harris. He was a giant in the stamp-collecting world, and his innovative idea of selling stamps on approval led to significant growth in the hobby. H.E. Harris Stamp Company, the business he began as a 14 year old, grew to be “The World’s Largest Stamp Firm.” In addition to being a very successful businessman, Harris was also a mentor to young entrepreneurs with their own small stamp companies. One of the men he invested his time and talent in was Mystic Stamp Company founder, Lawrence Shaver. Continue reading

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How Postage Stamps Helped Destroy Hitler

In the early months of 1945, the world had been at war for over three years. Germany appeared to be nearing defeat, but American casualties were mounting as its resources dwindled. An idea was hatched – a brilliant plan to bring down the Nazi government. The weapon chosen to defeat Hitler – postage stamps!

The Challenge

The Office of Strategic Services – an intelligence agency and forerunner of today’s CIA – was formed during World War II. Throughout the war, one of its most effective tools was propaganda aimed at demoralizing the German people, which OSS officials hoped would spark a revolt against the Nazis.

However, getting the propaganda into the hands of every day Germans was challenging. The OSS had dropped leaflets from the air, but wind, rain and other factors often destroyed the materials before they reached the intended audience. Continue reading

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Have you noticed? Music Icons sheets resemble 45rpm record sleeves!

We’re all familiar with the popular Music Icons Series.  But have you noticed the stamp sheets are designed to look like 45rpm record sleeves?  It’s a neat detail that’s easily overlooked – check them out in the gallery below!

 

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Collecting History: 125 Years of the National Philatelic Collection


Curator of philately Daniel Piazza speaks about the National Postal Museum’s newest exhibit, Collecting History: 125 Years of the National Philatelic Collection. Though the National Philatelic Collection contains incredible objects and rare artifacts, there are a few famous examples of the philatelic material that got away. Piazza shares these “philatelic fish stories” as well as described some of the things you *will* find in the collection.

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I Am Only a Postage Stamp

Most people take postage stamps for granted.  They think they’re useful for getting letters and bills where they need to go.  As collectors, we know those little pieces of paper mean so much more.  They reflect the history of issuing country and allow us to travel back in time to experience life more than a century ago.  The following poem by Ernest W. Brady sums up how a lot of us feel about the humble little postage stamp.

BLACK1xI Am Only a Postage Stamp

“I am the world’s greatest traveler. I have been transported by camel, dog sled, pony express, bicycle, train, steamship, automobile, airplane, airship and rocket. On my face are the portraits of kings, presidents, queens, princes, princesses, shahs, sultans, tribal chiefs, adventurers, explorers, patriots, martyrs, inventors, pioneers, artists, musicians, architects, poets, aviators, dramatists, novelists, painters, athletes, cardinals, saints and sinners.

“I picture maps of the world and parts of the world.  I reveal views of strange foreign beaches, rivers, lakes, sounds, waterfalls, geysers, mountains, monuments, castles, temples and ruins of temples, missions, bridges, harbors, docks, locks, waterfronts, locomotives, balloons, rockets, zeppelins, windjammers, and trans-Atlantic liners, native canoes and modern giant seaplanes.  I depict all manner of sports, industries, handicrafts, customs, sacred rites, ceremonies and parades, also nearly every variety of bird, animal, fish, flower, fruit and vegetable.  I delineate the vanished forms of the phoenix, the griffin, the dragon, the centaur and unicorn.

“The heroes and heroines of mythology pose within my borders and I frame the horrors of war, the blessings of peace, the plight of indigence, the blight of famine, the hardships of emigration and the beauty of male and female nudity.  I illustrate the adventures of Don Quixote, the fairytales of childhood, the legends, the symbols of art, commerce, peace, agriculture, industry and the coats of arms and flags of all nations.

“I commemorate the wars, expeditions, inventions, voyages and discoveries, creations and constructions that make social life safe, livable and happy.  I am the world’s greatest picture chronicle.  Millions collect me.  Thousands have escaped boredom through my variety, hundreds have been saved from insanity through my fascination, yet – I am only a postage stamp.”

 

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